Over recent years, there has been increasing pressure on organisations to improve their approaches to diversity and inclusivity. One of the ways this has been approached has been to establish staff networks for various protected characteristics of employees, such as for women, LGBT+, BAME and disabled staff.

To be effective tools to improve inclusivity and tackle discrimination at work, rather than just tick-box exercises in diversity, these staff networks need to function as vehicles for employee voice at an individual and collective level. They need to have a clear role and objectives to support organisations in delivering real change.

There are a number of different functions networks can perform and a good staff network should be able to manage all of them. The four main aims that can be achieved by an effective staff network are to:

- Provide a safe space for discussion of issues.
- Help to raise awareness of issues within the wider organisation.
- Provide a source of support for individual staff who may be facing challenges at work.
- Offer a collective voice for the workforce to communicate with management.

This guide, written by IPA and published by CIPD, is designed as practical advice for organisations and their employees working to establish, improve or run a staff network. It also includes four case studies to show how other employers have worked to set up effective staff networks in their organisations.

Read the guide here.