Category: LGBT, LGBT event, LGBTQ, Lgbt diversity, LGBT employee, LGBT awareness month, LGBT history
At Tesco, inclusion means that Everyone’s Welcome. Everyone is to be treated fairly and with respect. By valuing individuality and uniqueness, we create a sense of belonging. We always want our colleagues to feel they can be themselves at work and we are committed to helping them be at their best.
We have five UK colleague networks, including LGBTQ+ at Tesco, which supports colleagues with mentoring, career development and support when they need it most, helping them in feeling comfortable and confident to be themselves at work. The network brings together colleagues across our stores, centres and offices in a safe environment – providing them with a place where they can be themselves, and seek advice or confidential support on matters that are important to them.
One of our Customer Assistants has found the network invaluable in bringing their true self to work. “I enjoy working at Tesco and feel it’s one of the first jobs where I can openly be myself. There are other colleagues who are openly gay and I look to them as role models – they are professional in the work they do and are respected by their colleagues. I feel inspired by them and the network to be able to be myself which I have never been able to do in any other job I have had.”
We want everyone to feel welcome at Tesco, no matter who they are or where they are in their career journey with us. One Store Manager adds: “I only came out last year, but I realise retrospectively that I’ve always been safe in Tesco and elated that I can actually bring my authentic self to work.
“Everyone around me has been amazing. I thought there would be lots of questions, judgements and shock – I thought wrong, and this massive thing for me was a tiny thing for everyone else. They were happy I was happy, and it’s given me so much confidence and a desire to be able to support others be themselves at work. It’s an aspiration that every colleague can be themselves and celebrate who they are. I made this aspiration my reality a year ago and wish I had had the courage to do it sooner.
“Tesco has supported me with fully open arms: my decisions and actions define me, not who I love. I am proud to say who I am, and I am so much happier to actually own it.”
As well as supporting our colleagues, Tesco also works across and supports the LGBTQ+ community on a number of different initiatives. We are a long-standing supporter of Pride events across the UK each year, celebrating and standing alongside those who are equally committed to diversity and inclusion. In 2016, we sold F&F t-shirts designed by our customers and colleagues, featuring quotes on what Pride means to them.
The same year, we launched our 40ft float at Pride, complete with a DJ and dance floor. In 2018, we awarded money from our Bags of Help scheme to LGBTQ+ community projects across London, Manchester, Brighton, Glasgow and Cardiff, and in 2019 were a headline sponsor for London and Dublin Pride events, in addition to our support for 40 other Pride events across the UK.
“Being part of Pride with Tesco has been one of the highlights of my career”, says Project Manager, Henry Gosling. “I never took part in Pride before working for Tesco as I was afraid that someone would recognise me from work, but with Tesco being the headline sponsor for London Pride, I know I am working for an inclusive company who wants everyone to be welcome whoever they are.”
Supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion around the world, Tesco is also a member of the Stonewall Global Diversity Champions Programme, and the Open for Business coalition. We are also a signatory of the United Nations Standards of Conduct for Business, tackling discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.
Our colleagues regularly help us support and fundraise for various good causes and projects connected to the LGBTQ+ community, including helpline service Switchboard and the Albert Kennedy Trust, who help those who are homeless or living in hostile conditions. In Ireland, we support the Belong to Youth charity.
This year Tesco is working with trans activist, Samantha Howard, to launch T&Coffee – a new non-profit community support group providing safe spaces and support for transgender people, their family and friends.
David Page, UK & ROI Communications Director, says: “Across the Tesco group, we are committed to building an inclusive workplace, a place to actively celebrate the cultures, personalities and preferences of our colleagues, and reflecting the diversity of the communities we serve. LGBTQ+ is more visible, mainstream and accepted than ever, but there’s more to do.
“Having diversity in our business is what makes it stronger, and we want Tesco to be a place where everyone feels welcome.”