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Top tips for LGBT inclusion

Following Stonewall's top 100 LGBT-friendly employers list, we asked some of the best firms for their top tips

Last week LGBT charity Stonewall revealed its top 100 employers. We asked some who made the list to share their top LGBT inclusion tip

Recruit allies

Andrew Dodman, director of human resources at the University of Sheffield, said:

“We aim to attract people with ambition, regardless ofsexual orientation or any other protected characteristic, and we work hard to create an inclusive place for our staff. Our LGBT allies scheme is a really powerful statement of this – it signals to LGBT employees that inclusion is everyone’s responsibility.

“We ensure staff feel free to bring their whole selves to the workplace, which we believe will help them build strong working relationships with colleagues and give them a platform to achieve their ambitions.”

Don’t forget the ‘T’ in LGBT

Hayley Tatum, senior VP of people at Asda, said:

“After listening to our transgender colleagues it was clear we had work to do to ensure they felt valued and engaged. Listening groups helped to gain a greater depth of understanding on the challenges Asda’s transgender colleagues were facing, from feelings of isolation, a lack of peer group education about the issues, fears about taking time off work for procedures, to concerns about bathroom and changing facilities and being stereotyped or ‘outed'.

“We identified a number of actions, which we have put in place, including a specific transgender policy, a zero tolerance approach to negative behaviour towards transgender colleagues, and a manager’s toolkit to ensure consistent best practice across the organisation. Education and communication both internally and externally through community engagement has been key to our approach.

“Since we put these measures in place engagement with our transgender colleagues has doubled, which we are really pleased about. We will continue to do everything we can to support them.”

Let people be themselves at work

Justine Thompson, senior inclusion and diversity manager for Baker & McKenzie, was named Stonewall's Ally of the Year. "We know from research that people are more productive when they can be themselves at work – and that trying to hide part of your identity can become exhausting,” she said. “Workplace equality is not just about having the right policies and frameworks in place to protect staff, but about creating an environment where people can authentically be themselves. LGBT individuals have a choice to make around whether to be out with their peers and colleagues, and for some that is not an easy choice to make. At Baker & McKenzie actively encouraging engagement in our LGBT & Allies staff network has proved to be highly effective.

“More than one-third of our London office are straight allies, having made a commitment to support LGBT equality. Perhaps what makes this all the more impactful is that each member of our LGBT & Allies network is given a rainbow coffee cup and lanyard to help make this commitment a visible one."