Category: Industry News, diversity, colleagues, working environment, supportive, demonstrate, advocate
Around the world, many LGBT+ people feel nervous about opening up at work, fearing discrimination, exclusion and ridicule. In order to tackle these issues first-hand BT have created an LGBT+ Allies programme in the hope that this will ensure that their colleagues do not feel nervous about opening up in the workplace.
BT colleagues can sign up to the Ally programme to say that they are supportive of their LGBT+ colleagues and that they are an advocate, evangelist, supporter and friend who will help to create a working environment where LGBT+ people feel included and accepted.
The introduction of the LGBT+ Allies progamme encourages its colleagues to embrace the differences that are in the workplace and supports the diversity that BT promotes. The programme has also encouraged conversations around LGBT+ in the workplace.
During the first month of the programme BT saw a fantastic 1,200 colleagues sign up to become an LGBT+ Ally. Matthew Warren-Bostrom, Chair of BT's LGBT+ Network said, “every new ally helps make a difference to the experience of LGBT+ people at BT. It demonstrates that people want to create a working environment that's open and inclusive”.
In order to celebrate the launch of the programme, the LGBT+ Network, along with some of their Allies, held an event at the BT Tower in March. The guests included former Wales rugby captain, Gareth Thomas who shared his emotional story of being gay and coming out to his family and team-mates and how much of a relief it was to be honest. This is the kind of open and understanding culture that BT wishes to promote in the workplace.
There was a chance for everyone who attended the event to sign the BT Allies board in order to become an LGBT+ Ally. This board was signed by many guests during the course of the evening, including John Petter, CEO of BT Consumer Division.
BT’s LGBT+ Network is one of several people networks that BT offers its colleagues, these networks include gender equality, ethnicity, ability, faith and carers' networks. They allow people to connect and offer support to one another in a safe environment. These networks also give BT an insight into what’s important to their colleagues, so that they can improve and develop the whole business.
The LGBT+ programme has been described as progressive, powerful and necessary by some of BT’s colleagues. These are just a few of the words that have been used to describe the positive impact that the programme is having on BT. Many colleagues are on-board with the LGBT+ programme as they believe that it highlights the importance of acceptance at work and promotes an open and inclusive workplace. The LGBT+ programme aims to change peoples’ perceptions and make them more conscious of how they can help their colleagues feel more comfortable at work.
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