Proud to be Phoenix

As Pride month comes to an end, we take a look at our ongoing dedication to diversity and inclusion in and outside the workplace, and share why the awareness, sentiments and learnings that Pride highlights should never be confined to just one month.

Pride month is a celebration of love and friendship; a chance for everyone to embrace who they are and take a stance against prejudice, but this needs to be constantly encouraged to allow us to achieve truly inclusive workplaces.

As part of our internal diversity and inclusion network, we are always striving for equality, and work to reflect this in everything we do by actively ensuring an LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace, all year-round. We also have processes in place to ensure that any vendors and partners we work with mirror our beliefs and policies on equality in their own workplaces.

According to Stonewall’s LGBT in Britain – Work Report, more than a third of LGBT staff in the UK have hidden their sexuality at work from fear of discrimination, so what can we do to ensure that our workplaces are more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community?

We chat to Phoenix Education Sector Team Leader, Jake Griffin about what Pride means to him, and how he thinks discussing LGBTQ+ rights on an ongoing basis and setting tangible outcomes will lead to more inclusive workplaces for all.

What does Pride mean to you?

“To me, Pride is a celebration of people’s differences and speaking up for people who cannot find their voice. It means being your authentic self and learning how to show the world your true colours. It’s also a time to reflect on the steps made, as well as the steps left, in championing diversity and equality in the UK and the rest of the world.”

How supported do you feel in your workplace and are you able to be your authentic self?

“Phoenix not only allows, but actively encourages, everyone to be themselves. Staff at Phoenix understand the importance of all employees feeling welcome, respected and represented within the workplace, and it feels like a safe environment.”

What is it like to work with organisations that share the same values and support for employees around important issues such as this?

“It is great to work for an organisation like Phoenix that shares your values and truly allows you to express yourself. When your values are aligned, you really enjoy coming to work.

“I’m lucky to have never needed to consider hiding my sexuality in the workplace, but I know that this isn’t the same for everyone and it’s important that organisations look at ways to be more inclusive of the LGBT community.”

What more can be done within workplaces to be even more inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community? 

“One way is to ensure that your policies are fully inclusive of LGBTQ+ people, as well as getting people involved across your organisation. This could include setting up a network group specifically for LGBTQ+ employees. Allies, as we call them, are also a crucial element of ensuring inclusion for all. They can help spread the message that diversity is celebrated by your organisation.

“By increasing LGBTQ+ representation, and with the support of allies, the hope is that LGBTQ+ staff feel more confident to express themselves.”

Jennifer Connelly, one of our Diversity and Inclusion Network leads at Phoenix adds, “Talking openly about these topics is a great place to start, but employers also need to make sure that they’re backing up their statements with actions. Our Diversity and Inclusion Network covers a large range of important topics, including race, sexuality, accessibility, and gender, and was founded out of our commitment to give everyone a voice to ensure that every person is represented within the workplace, the industry, and our communities.”

So, what is Phoenix doing to support and encourage diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Women in Tech

  • We are actively involved in the Women in IT Network, set up and run by women to encourage more women into the technology industry
  • We have created a Women in IT blog series to share first-hand experiences from women working within the IT and tech industries and have recorded two podcasts that discuss topics surrounding women in IT
  • We have also begun our grassroots work by speaking in schools to highlight the roles available within the tech industry and encourage more women to consider careers in tech from an early age

 

Representation

  • We have signed the Race at Work Charter
  • Following a trial, we are about to launch optional pronouns in email signatures and have already encouraged employees to add pronouns to their LinkedIn profiles
  • We have introduced a quite space for prayer and multiple gender-neutral toilets in our head office
  • We are constantly working with our customers, such as Selby Council to discuss LGBTQ+ inclusion within the workplace – stay tuned for a video series on this that will be hitting our social media very soon!

 

Accessibility

  • We are a Disability Confident Committed employer. The Disability Confident scheme supports organisations like Phoenix to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to the workplace. The scheme aims to help successfully recruit and retain disabled people and those with health conditions
  • We recently opened our Accessibility Centre of Excellence at Phoenix HQ – a meeting room designed with accessibility in mind
  • We have taken Mind’s ‘Time to Change’ employer pledge to ensure that we are creating a work environment where all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, and are given equal access to opportunities and resources
  • We have started a diversity and inclusion anonymous suggestion form to ensure all employees feel comfortable approaching us with ideas on how we can become even more inclusive

And, we’re not stopping there… Next on our agenda is raising awareness of the menopause and how we can become more supportive of some of the challenges people experiencing it may face. We’re planning an internal training session and some events to coincide with World Menopause Day in October, so make sure you’re connected to us on social media to follow our journey.

If you’d like to get in touch with us about anything mentioned in this blog, please phone us on 01904 562200 or email [email protected].

Interested in a career at Phoenix? Explore our latest vacancies.

Discover our Phoenix Pride Series…

What does Pride mean to you? 

Julian, Head of Economic Development and Regeneration at Selby District Council and Vice Chair of York Pride, and David Brown, Head of Accessibility and Modern Workplace at Phoenix and Director of Accessibility and Inclusion at York Pride discuss what Pride means to them and how it helps give people the confidence to be their true selves in the first video in our Phoenix Pride series

As part of the LGBTQ community, have you always felt supported in your career? 

Julian (Selby District Council) and David (Phoenix) talk about LGBTQ support and acceptance in the workplace and how this has changed over time as part of our Phoenix Pride series.

Working for organisations that share the same values around LGBTQ

In the third video in our Pride series, Julian and David discuss how important it is to them to work for an organisation that supports LGBTQ employees and why they wouldn’t want to work somewhere that doesn’t share their values around the topic.

What else can be done in the workplace for it to be more inclusive?

In our final Phoenix Pride series video, Julian from Selby District Council and David from Phoenix explore what else organisations can do to make their workplaces even more inclusive and share how even the smallest gestures can make people feel more accepted and supported at work.