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This volume of the Cultural Cookbook serves up a recipe for creating a LGBT+ inclusive workplace culture
Hi, I’m Billy an insurance advisor and I work for AXA Commercial looking after small and medium size businesses. As part of pride month, I’ve cooked up some steps below which bring our culture of trust, respect and care to life (and out the oven). It’s because all these ingredients come together, I feel I belong at AXA.
- Welcome everyone and create opportunities for them to shine.
- Create networks for likeminded colleagues to support each other.
- Proactively create and maintain a culture of trust, respect, and care
- Celebrate everyone’s unique contribution, whatever their life stage, lifestyle background or heritage
- Take every opportunity to celebrate what brings us together.
Step 1: Make LGBT+ candidates feel included from their first day.
I’ve been in workplaces prior to AXA where talking about being LGBT+ would put me in a vulnerable position, so I just kept that part of me hidden from others. However, since starting AXA I have been able to be myself 110% of the time. It’s vital that, from day one, the company demonstrates that they have a culture of trust, respect and care where everyone belongs. For example, at AXA, one of the first things I was told about was our DE&I programmes and how to contact them. So, from the very beginning I felt heard and valued.
Step 2: Set up LGBT+ support networks.
LGBT+ support groups empower individuals from across the whole business to get together and share their common experiences –to ensure our voices are heard. I myself am part of AXA’s Pride network and have been as active as possible, taking part in a podcast about Lesbian Visibility Week, hosting a session in my local office for IDAHOBIT, and taking part in the network’s Belonging to Glasgow event
Step 3: Take every opportunity possible to celebrate the LGBT+ community.
Pride month is a wonderful time, I especially enjoy Glasgow’s pride march. But the celebrations shouldn’t be limited to June! Businesses should make sure they have an agenda throughout the year that celebrates diverse groups and informs colleagues about how they can support them. LGBT+ History Month, Trans Awareness Week, International Lesbian Visibility Day… all of these are wonderful opportunities to get involved.
Step 4: Empower people to be their true selves.
I believe deeply in enabling people to bring their true selves to work. So, empower your employees to not leave any of themselves at home. Encourage transparency and open discussion, set up platforms so that LGBT+ employees can tell their stories, and do everything you can to let people know that, whoever they are, they’re valued.