Disability Employee Networks (DENs) play an important part in helping employees to bring their whole selves to work. Made up of employees with disability, allies, and disability champions (senior leaders committed to disability inclusion), these networks provide a safe space for employees to connect with each other and raise awareness among the broader employee group.
They can also help drive positive change within the organisation by providing advice on policies, events and other matters through a lived experience lens. We are strong supporters of DENs and your Relationship Manager can provide guidance and support, whether you are just starting out or whether you would like to refresh and reinvigorate your DEN.
Each month we would like to shine a light on our members’ DENs. If you would like your organisation’s DEN featured in an upcoming edition of our monthly Newsletter, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
To get things started, this month you can read about the Australian Network on Disability’s DEN.
Each Australian Network on Disability’s DEN meeting starts with a wellbeing check-in where members are given the opportunity to share how they are feeling and ask for support/advice if they feel comfortable in doing so.
We ensure anyone that wants to share has the full support of the group and respect, trust and confidentiality is paramount. Advice is only given if asked for– sometimes a person just needs to share to get it off their chest. This is a meaningful time in our meetings and has strengthened our supportive AND culture even further.
After that, we move on to other agenda items. This month we have been discussing International Day of People with Disability, which is coming up on 3 December.
While the UN will set a global theme, we discussed what our internal focus would be, and what we as a group would like to share with our colleagues to mark this important day in the calendar. Everyone enjoyed discussing the different ideas and opportunities presented.
We also discussed who would represent the DEN on the AND planning committee for an upcoming All Staff internal event.
Our CEO Corene and our Executive Leadership Team always make sure that a DEN representative has a seat at the table for any events being planned.
When asked why having a DEN was important to them, Co-Chairs Nate and Isabel said: “DEN is a safe space for employees with lived experience, carers and allies to have open discussions on workplace and disability-related matters. Together, we promote a culture of accessibility and inclusion for people with disability across the organisation.
Our monthly meetings have strengthened connections between committee members. We are very excited to present our DEN in a session for our Team Development Days this year.”