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Sky: Reaching Stonewall Top 100 index

Category: LGBT, Stonewall, Sky, journey, moment, LGBT employee network at sky, stonewall top 100 index, media company

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Written by Sophia A. - Director of Sky Mobile

Sky has been named by Stonewall as one of the best places to work for LGBT+ people in the UK. This is a proud moment for everyone at Sky. It’s our first time in the top 100, and I thought I would share some highlights from our journey to becoming the top media company for LGBT+ inclusion and no. 29 in the index.

In the summer of 2015, I was talking Al, our media controller at the time, who shared with me the Stonewall employee survey. He asked if I could circulate it around our department, to gather feedback on how we were doing on LGBT+ inclusion. I had never heard of it before. As I answered each question in the survey, I realised that there were many aspects of inclusion that had never crossed my mind. As a muslim female, who has always found Sky to be an inclusive and supportive environment, this surprised me! 

I spent some time with the employee network, run by Mark Tittle, which was delivering a huge amount of positive activity, in spite of having no dedicated budget. I went to the Stonewall Workplace Conference, where I heard devastating stories from people who had suffered from depression, suicidal thoughts and a range of mental health issues, from not being able to be themselves. Like many people from ethnic minorities, I have experienced racism. It never occurred to me that it is a gift that I wear my ethnicity and gender on my sleeve. That I never had to choose whether or not to tell people that I am a muslim woman, knowing the discrimination that can happen as a result. The bravery of members of the LGBT+ community, to share their truth, knowing the discrimination they may encounter, remains hugely inspiring. 

So I thought, how can I help? The employee network had lots of active support, but they didn’t have two critical things – money and senior sponsorship. So I became the senior sponsor and Stephen van Rooyen, our UK & Ireland CEO, became the Executive sponsor, with the aim of becoming a top employer for LGBT+ inclusivity and expanding the reach of the network. 

Stonewall helped us to determine the most important actions we could take, which included:

  • Giving the network more resources. Our LGBT+ employee network is incredible. This achievement is down to their hard work and commitment. They run campaigns and events, all over and above their day jobs, and provide valued support to one another. We found amazing advocates of inclusivity, such as Sarah Astbury and Laura Bekker, to help the network to amplify the results of their campaigns and build an “always-on” programme of activity. This has empowered and enabled LGBT+ and Ally Champions across our different sites to mark and celebrate key LGBT+ events throughout the year at a local level.
  • Building an Allies programme – hundreds of people throughout Sky agreed to become allies, educating themselves on LGBT+ inclusivity, and wearing the “Just Be” lanyard, as a visible sign of their willingness to help our LGBT+ employees. Many of our senior management team, such as UK&I General Counsel, Vicky Sandry, wear this every day.
  • Engaging with teams across Sky, from working with our HR team to make sure our people policies were fully inclusive, to establishing tried and tested gender-neutral facilities at sites across the UK.
  • Reaching out to the broader LGBT+ community, supporting national charities, including the Albert Kennedy Trust, Mesmac, Waverley Care and the Terrance Higgins Trust, with volunteering and fundraising efforts.
  • Talking to our customers - Finally, we found an amazing LGBT+ ally in Steve Smith, our Director of Content & Production, in Sky Sports, who made this year’s Rainbow Laces the best ever Rainbow Laces campaign, reaching millions of our customers through Sky Sports and Sky Sports News, and engaging our employees at every level, including the UK management team who all laced up on the day!

We are working with Stonewall on what’s next for Sky for LGBT+ inclusivity. There is so much more we can do, I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Are you interested in a career at Sky? Please click here.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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