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Category: Employer Focus

 “Collaborating for happy, healthy LGBT lives”

At EDF Energy, Zero Harm to people is our top priority. That means making sure all of our people are mentally fit and resilient (especially during times of change) and physically fit, healthy and safe in their working environment.

Importantly, Zero Harm goes beyond this. It also means a focus on inclusion - a feeling of being connected, cared for and supported by others at work. It’s that important feeling of ‘fitting in’ or ‘belonging’ that makes such individual and business sense. After all, when our people can be themselves at work and are not preoccupied with worry about what others think of them, they can better focus on their jobs, their safety and wellbeing, and achieving their potential. That’s great news for our people, our business and the communities that we’re part of.

With this in mind, our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Supporters Network hosted an evening to explore ‘happy, healthy LGBT lives’ this month (September 2014). The event brought together EDF Energy employees and guests from organisations as diverse as Accenture, the BBC, BP, Eversheds, Lloyds Banking, National Grid, Rolls Royce and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary to explore LGBT wellbeing at work, at home and in the community.

We teamed up with three fantastic charities for the evening to cover LGBT challenges from youth issues through to end-of-life care. Our own Occupational Health team were also there to share the support services offered to all EDF Energy employees.

Listening to the speakers and related conversations, it was striking just how much commonality there is across all protected characteristics and how collaboration across sectors can make a huge positive difference – and there’s a role for us all in this.

For example, Dr Ian Gittens from Marie Curie Cancer Care, EDF Energy’s charity partner, shared the early results of research about end-of-life care for LGBT people with terminal illnesses. Almost two thirds of LGBT people surveyed in the research expressed the importance of having LGBT-specific services and LGBT healthcare staff. The importance of treating people as individuals and recognising them for who they are, not for (or as) their illness, was very clear. That’s a lesson that could equally apply in the workplace - recognising and valuing people as individuals (not as roles, genders, ages or any other generic assumption) is healthy for the individual and the business.

Metro, a leading charity providing health, community and youth services across London, the South East and further afield, were also on hand to share the results of their ground-breaking national Youth Chances research of over 7,000 young people. Their External Affairs Director, Patricia Durr, revealed some worrying trends in how young people say they are feeling. Depression and anxiety, self-harm and suicide ideation appear to be substantially higher for young LGBT people, especially those identifying as trans. For example, over 60% of young trans people surveyed said they had considered suicide, compared to just over 40% of LGBQ (Q being ‘Questioning’) young people and around 25% of those identifying as heterosexual and non-trans. It’s research that sadly shares common themes with Stonewall’s 2012 School Report and 2014 Teachers Report.

Whilst schools have a clear role in helping tackle this through appropriate policy, practice, training and education, we as businesses can also play a part. For example, at EDF Energy, we hosted a Stonewall ‘Train the Trainer’ session for teachers in June this year. Our colleagues at Stonewall tell us that the 20 teachers trained in tackling homophobic bullying in the classroom at that session will typically go on to train another 20-30 teachers each. So, a simple action on our part could have a substantial positive impact on young people in the communities that we’re part of - young people who are our potential future employees and leaders.

Finally, Tim Eastwood from PACE, a mental health and wellbeing charity that works with LGBT+ people in London and across England, shared PACE’s tips for healthy relationships. He reinforced the importance of addressing your own emotional needs, being supportive, talking to each other, focusing on the positives, and remembering that everyone is different so can’t be expected to react the same way. It’s sound advice that cuts across protected characteristics and is something to equally take back to the workplace.

Our LGBT Supporters Network exists to support all of our people on LGBT issues. That includes our LGBT employees and those who may not identify as LGBT but who could need support on related issues – for example, a colleague whose child comes out or a manager who needs advice when a team member transitions gender. For our business to be successful, we need all of those people to be successful, so an inclusive business culture and inclusive employee networks and events (like our 2014 Brighton Pride participation) are critical.

Whilst we focussed on LGBT lives at this event, there were lessons for all of our employee Diversity and Inclusion networks, and for the wider businesses coming along too. Judging by conversations on the night, there’s also much scope for future collaboration between and across sectors – a truly inclusive approach to wellbeing that has to be good news for everyone.

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TOP INDUSTRIES WHERE EMPLOYEE NETWORK GROUPS ARE VALUED

Column Industries order Column Industry name Column Number of open positions
1. Finance 2102 jobs
2. Banking 1880 jobs
3. Technology, Media & Telecoms 1665 jobs
4. Media 1523 jobs
5. Professional Services 1046 jobs
6. Financial Services 1006 jobs
7. Engineering 811 jobs
8. Logistics 742 jobs
9. Construction 717 jobs
10. Manufacturing & Engineering 668 jobs

Learn more about EDF Energy

EDF Energy EDF Energy is one of the largest energy companies in the UK, supplying around 5 million residential and business accounts with electricity or gas. We produce around one-fifth (20%) of the nation’s electricity and that makes us...

Inclusive features

  • LGBT Initiatives
  • Race/Ethnic Minority Initiatives
  • Early Careers at EDF Energy
  • Employee Networks at EDF Energy
  • Womens Network at EDF Energy
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Supporters Network at EDF Energy
  • Disability and Carers Network at EDF Energy
  • BAME Network at EDF Energy
  • Working Parents Network at EDF Energy
  • Forces Support Network at EDF Energy
  • Community Programmes at EDF Energy
  • Young Professionals Network at EDF Energy

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