Mary O’Reilly, VP, Inclusion and Organisational Effectiveness, explains why ICON is celebrating its first Inclusion Day

It’s an opportune time for ICON to be celebrating its first ever Inclusion Day.

It’s nearly a year since we joined forces with PRA Health Sciences and as a company, we’ve never been more diverse. We have 39,300 people right across the globe. This diversity is a fact of our business.

Of course, it’s taken some time to get to know each other. We’ve had to look at who we are now as an organisation. As we worked through this, it was clear that inclusion was not only hugely important to our people, but also critical to what we were trying to achieve as a leading healthcare intelligence organisation. Harnessing our rich diversity makes us more innovative and creative, helping us better serve our patients, customers and communities.

So why Inclusion Day? It’s a reflection that being inclusive is both what we are and what we want to be. And by that I mean our work is never done on this.

Inclusion Day is an opportunity for us to come together, not as a particular community or division within ICON, but collectively as an organisation to think about the choices we will make to drive more inclusion that provides more opportunity for everyone.

It’s an opportunity for us to listen and to learn. In fact, we asked our people to tell us what inclusion meant to them. Their responses were pretty powerful. They told us that, for them, it means being considered. Being seen. It means that being different is not less, and that everyone gets a seat at the table, and is not only seen at that table, but also heard.

And why do they feel ICON is an inclusive place to work? Encouragingly, they indicated to us that it was down to things like when team leaders ask everyone for their thoughts, that our approach is to work as a team to increase performance, that we care about everyone’s strength and experience, and that we are inclusive because we are having the very important conversation about it.

Every one of these actions is a choice our employees and our people leaders make to drive inclusion. But we know there is more to do. And so, on Inclusion Day, we are encouraging everyone in our business to consider the choices, and indeed the further commitments they can make, to continue our inclusion journey.

It is these commitments that will drive progress and help us make sure that we have people from all genders, backgrounds and ethnicities, for example, at all levels and in key areas of our business.

We’ll continue to consider, we’ll continue to learn, and we’ll continue to challenge ourselves to make choices that drive positive action, so that we can deliver real tangible progress. That’s our commitment on Inclusion Day.