Here are ten things we’ve learned:
1. Strength in collaboration – We always try to work alongside other employee network groups in the business and have had a number of fantastic collaborations. Not least have been the pre-release showing of the film Moonlight with our BAME network; hosting guest speaker, Will Young, with our mental health network; and engaging our parents and carers network with some of the challenges of growing up LGBT+.
2. Focus on personal growth – Last year we held our first “Pride Pathways” event with our clients and LGBT+ staff. This was a professional development workshop tailored to equip attendees with the skills and insights to empower them to progress their career with purpose.
3. The power of stories – Sharing personal experiences can inspire people to bring their whole selves to work. We regularly host events in which LGBT+ people discuss their experiences and career paths so that others may follow their lead.
4. Motivational mentoring – Mentoring with your peer group can be a truly effective tool for personal growth. We host quarterly “mentoring circles” in which LGBT+ staff discuss career development, generational differences and best practice.
5. Celebrate with Pride – We have always celebrated our community and our achievements as we believe that visible confidence is important. We hold celebrations with our community and its allies at our festive parties.
We have always celebrated our community and our achievements as we believe that visible confidence is important.
6. Allies – We would not have got to where we are today without the strong support of our allies. Maintaining a strong allies network is imperative to improving inclusion and reaching across the business.
7. Mental health – Sadly, LGBT+ people have a higher statistical likelihood of experiencing mental health problems in their lives. The Pride network has focused on mental health since our launch with talks from service users and mental health professionals.
8. Think global, act local – We are part of a global business with offices all over the world. Our Pride network has members in different locations, each with their own challenges and priorities. We have undertaken a number of successful global campaigns utilising social media, photography and art to raise support for LGBT+ staff and encourage network membership.
9. Never rest on your laurels – It’s always good to be proactive and to reflect on what you have done over past years. Set ambitious goals to ensure that your network continues to support inclusion and don’t be afraid to have challenging conversations.
10. Play to your strengths – A sense of humour has always been essential to our network identity. We try not to take ourselves too seriously – and we always try to have fun! We’ve come a long way as an effective employee network – but we’re always learning, we’re still on our journey and we look forward to celebrating more milestones and anniversaries in the coming years.