The Power of Identity – why it matters in the workplace

We hear from McDonald's, sponsors of National Inclusion Week 2022, about what this year's first Daily Action - The Power of Identity: Share who you are - means to the organisation and examples of how they evidence this throughout the organisation.

Read on to find out.

As the sponsors of National Inclusion Week 2022 (NIW), and founder members of Inclusive Employers, it is not surprising to learn that McDonald’s are passionate about the first Daily Action of NIW – The Power of Identity: Share who you are.

In this blog, Zoey Rimmer, Culture & Inclusion Consultant at McDonald’s shares why they believe identity is such a powerful part of inclusion, and how they actively encourage their employees to share who they are, and bring their true identity to work.

You might get some inspiration for your own National Inclusion Week activity too! You can still register to join National Inclusion Week, giving you access to the toolkit, which contains lots of resources to help you plan an engaging, action focused celebration of inclusion.

Why is identity so important?

McDonalds’ has been on an inclusion journey for some time and its vision is to become the most inclusive employer in the UK and Ireland.

McDonald’s understands the power of encouraging employees to bring their true identity, their authentic selves, to work and has seen the impact this has as employees thrive in their surroundings.

Whilst there is no doubt about the progress that has been made in this area, there is transparency around the fact that this is an ongoing journey for McDonald’s, and there is more work to be done. 

The aspirations are to create a safe space for all, and the business has a number of ongoing actions and initiatives that formulate part of its education strategy and employee network groups as they attempt to meet this goal. 

Read more about these initiatives below.

Pronoun badges

The introduction of pronoun badges earlier this year underlines the support McDonald’s want to give to their employees to help them to identify as they wish. It was also supported by a broader set of initiatives to ensure that the move was embedded into the culture of the business – beyond just the act of providing the badges.

Gender identity training was organised for the leadership, to help support conversations about this and an employee network session explored this topic internally, with a view to further dismantling barriers.

‘Let’s Talk’ – knowledge building

McDonald’s hold regular knowledge building sessions with industry experts that are called ‘Let’s Talk’.  These sessions are open to all frontline employees, as well as its corporate teams, and are a fun, interactive session where employees are encouraged to dial in and ‘own’ their own learning journey when it comes to inclusion.

One of the sessions is based around LGBTQ+ and employees can interact and share lived experiences.  This is another example of an initiative that forms part of their listening strategy and how they embed this learning across the business.

‘This is Me’

Within their company owned restaurants employees are encouraged to share information in their ‘This is Me’ campaign, which further underlines the passion for identity and that real learning comes from listening to others and making tangible changes, where possible. 

This ethos is reinforced through a newsletter that is published to all restaurants, which shares the real life stories and experiences of employees who have overcome challenges or barriers. Truly inspirational.

Recognising awareness days

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2022 the whole organisation got involved with the #BreakTheBias campaign, sharing stories and adopting the pose within the restaurants and in their offices. This was to raise awareness of where potential biases still exist and how they can support each other to change behaviour where needed.

Determination to dismantle barriers

They understand that their journey still has several barriers to overcome and that under representation still exists, but they are determined to dismantle these barriers and help to level the playing field for all.

Thank you, Zoey Rimmer, for sharing how McDonald’s actively support their employees to share who they.

Next steps for National Inclusion Week

If you are an Inclusive Employers member, you are automatically a Supporter of National Inclusion Week and have access to the full toolkit and access to an events programme worth over £600. Members, please log in to your Members’ Area to access this.

Non-members can join NIW for free or become a Supporter for £125 + VAT. Another great way to inspire and engage your colleagues is by booking our in-house National Inclusion Week webinar package.