PATRICK LACHOWSKI IS A DELIVERY CO-ORDINATOR AND THE BI AND PAN REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PROUD@NESTLÉ LGBT+ NETWORK
What is your professional background?
I come from a hospitality background. I started out my working life in pubs eventually becoming relief manager and moved into working in breweries. Dispersed in that I’ve held positions of responsibility working in postal delivery and hotels. A logistics position doesn’t seem the most natural progression, but it is the ability to communicate with different groups and prioritise workloads; a somewhat eclectic way of thinking enables me to see different ways of approaching issues. We all bring our individual brilliance to the wider team.
You are a Delivery Co-ordinator at Nestlé, Proud@Nestlé UK&I LGBT+ Network and Bi and Pan Rep. What do these roles involve?
As Delivery Co-ordinator I work in a team of 13. We work shifts 24/7 364 days a year, we ensure collections and deliveries are made providing cover for Scheduling and Planning, Customer Service and Delivery Confirmations outside office hours and at weekends. Day to day we are a reactive team mostly. As soon as a load is put on a vehicle it is our responsibility to ensure its delivery to customers, and up to 50 Distribution Centres, Co-packers and Factories inside Great Britain working with our own fleet and up to 60 3rd party hauliers.
Although I’ve been involved in the LGBT+ Network at Nestlé for over five years I was confirmed as Bi and Pan Rep in 2020. Mainly it is a signpost for all employees who can approach me about any LGBT+ related issue or query and, if I can’t answer myself, I can either find out or redirect them to the correct person.
Primarily, I aim to educate. I’ve created materials offline and online for use across the company, helped to establish LGBT+ Networks in other countries, held stalls in offices and factories, presented to and held conversations with the whole of Nestlé UK&I on D&I/I&B related subjects, created the digital Proud@Nestlé Inclusion and Belonging Hub, a repository for all our educational materials and videos webinars.
You describe yourself as an Ally. How important are allies to the LGBT+ community?
Massively. To me to achieve equality all sections of the LGBT+ community need the assistance of internal and external allies. Common goals and direction can affect greater positive change. Many people recognise that discrimination against any group is wrong and some wish to improve things for their friends/family/ colleagues. The most important allies are those who have empathy especially for those whose experiences differ from their own.
How important do you think it is to be out at work – and indeed in the wider community – and what advantages does being out have, both on a professional and on a personal level?
Particularly in logistics, visibility of out LGBT+ individuals challenges stereotypes and improves understanding.I believe if I can be visible and more supportive it could improve the environment for all around me even if my colleagues weren’t LGBT+. If the workplace is the only place people can be the most relaxed in who they are it takes fear and pressure away. Regardless of if you are LGBT+, we will all be happier for it.Being out allows me to live without fear. My quality of life and mental health is better.
what steps can an employer take to create a genuinely inclusive and diverse workplace?
1.Ensure marketing representation is not just “seasonal” for Pride Month but visible throughout the year
2.Support local LGBT+ charities and initiatives
3.Provide evidence of inclusive businesses and partners
4.Remove anti-LGBT+ businesses and partners; and make clear why we no longer do business with them
5.Statements of commitment to LGBT+ staff, equality and inclusion on our website visible to potential new employees
6.When you hire: Do you allow people to self-identify in person and in filling in forms i.e. demographic information? Do you respect and recognise their identities? How do you mentor and support LGBT+ staff?
7.Are there physical signposts, flags, badges, gender neutral toilets/ changing rooms/showers etc. that will make people feel at ease?
8.Provide multiple and varied statements from senior leadership committed to supporting LGBT+ equality and presence at LGBT+ events
9.Ensure clear policy of zero tolerance of homophobic, biphobic transphobic behaviours and clear sanctions and consequences for those responsible and suitable training for managers to enforce are known and visible
10.Recognise that as individuals we all belong to multiple protected characteristic groups
On a personal or professional level, what has been your proudest achievement?
In February 2020, as recognition of my work to creating an inclusive environment within logistics and the wider Nestlé world, I was presented with the 2019 Respect Award for Diversity; a trailer liveried up in the Respect branding and inclusion of a Pride logo using animations of real Nestlé employees formed part of the presentation which was broadcast to Nestlé globally.
Describe yourself in three words.
Passionate, resistant, authentic