How companies are supporting their LGBTQ+ communities
If your social media news feeds are anything like ours, on 1st June, you’ll have seen a flurry of rainbow flags added to corporate pages, followed by a short post about celebrating with their LGBTQ+ colleagues.
Then, on June 2nd a possibly bigger flurry of posts from LGBTQ+ influencers and allies calling out said companies for using Pride Month for corporate gain, and for good reason - many feel that these companies only come out in support during June, returning to the status quo when the month is up.
Meanwhile, LGBTQ+ communities have been disproportionately affected by the current pandemic and recent research from the CIPD found 1 in 3 LGB+ employees feel they experience significant work-life conflict and 55% of trans employees saying they experienced workplace conflict in the last 12 months. The CIPD’s research goes on to show that in the majority of cases, these conflicts are never fully resolved.
So, aside from the rainbow logos, what are companies doing to make a difference?
A LGBTQ+ Network
In December 2020, Uptree partner Ogilvy was named as one of the top places to work for LGBTQ+ equality . Part of the reason for this is their diverse employee networks, including one supporting LGBTQ+ professionals.
Ogilvy’s networks are more than just a place to meet other people; they provide mentoring and career development opportunities, as well as developing programmes to promote recruitment and retention of staff. Not only that, but these groups truly get to make their mark on the company by providing advice and counsel to the business and by acting as in-house focus groups and sounding boards.
Alongside being headline sponsors of National Student Pride, Uptree partner law firm Clifford Chance runs their annual ACCEPT Conference . The event is targeted at LGBTQ+ students who are interested in a career in law and puts them in front of influential speakers.
The innovative event brings to the fore and challenges topical issues that LGBTQ+ individuals face when entering corporate professions. Previous speakers have included transgender activist and author, Charlie Craggs, and the BBC’s first LGBT correspondent, Ben Hunte.
"I have been encouraged by so many of the speakers that it is okay to be proud of being trans and that if a potential employer doesn't accept me, there are many who will." - ACCEPT Alumni
Other conferences of note are PinkNews’ LGBT Leaders events, which covers a range of industries, aiming to tackle the disturbing statistic that 41% of LGBT+ go ‘back in the closet’ in their first job.
LGBTQ+ Recruitment Fairs
There’s more than one place to look for diverse talent. More and more employers are looking at alternative events to attract their future team members, such as myGwork’s Work Fair .
Supporting external networks
There are many external organisations supporting LGBTQ+ people in the workplace, as well as in their personal lives. It is great to see so many companies supporting fantastic initiatives such as InterEngineering , Stonewall and, of course, the Queer Student Awards .
Support comes in many forms, from sponsoring events and awards, to providing panelists and speakers for events.
“We are committed to creating and nurturing an inclusive environment that helps our colleagues to feel welcomed and accepted without exception in their workplaces. When we can be ourselves, rather than spending energy and effort to hide our background, our productivity improves, which also means high client satisfaction.” - Laura Yeates, Head of Graduate Talent, Ally and Co-Chair of UK Inclusion Committee at Clifford Chance
Uptree are proud sponsors of the School/College of the Year category at this year’s inaugural Queer Student Awards.
Uptree is a careers education platform connecting young people with employers, including Clifford Chance and Ogilvy, before they leave school. This supports students to meet companies early and to better understand if a company’s values and mission align with them individually so they can start a career where they will feel supported and included from day one.
If you or your company would like to find out more about working with Uptree to provide inclusive work experience opportunities for students, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org