Inclusion

Let’s talk LGBTQ+

Ashley Perry & Dean Bonas

LGBTQ+ & Friends Network

October 2, 2020

Love is too beautiful to be hidden in a closet – Unknown

National Inclusion Week (NIW) is important for many reasons, one of those is to celebrate individuality and promote the sense of belonging that we all deserve to have. At Virgin Media, we want to help drive awareness of the changes that need to occur for society to become more inclusive and working hard to make those changes a reality within our organisation.

We caught up with our LGBTQ+ & Friends network to discuss what we are focusing on as an organisation to support the LGBTQ+ community and beyond.

What’s the importance of having a LGBTQ+ & Friends network within Virgin Media?

It’s all about creating an environment where our people can be themselves at Virgin Media, so that they can bring their whole self to work. By doing so we create a more inclusive, rewarding and productive workplace for all. The LGBTQ+ & Friends group aims to celebrate difference with pride. We do this by championing LGBTQ+ perspectives and needs, harnessing the power and passion of our supporters to build a collaborative and action-led network, and helping to make Virgin Media a safe space for all our employees and customers to be themselves.

That sounds fantastic! So what’s the current focus of the network right now?

Currently we’re focusing on expanding our own network. We’ve gone out to the business to drive awareness and gain more allies across the company so we can expand our reach, and have had a great response already with an influx of new members joining us either as followers of our staff intranet site, or by getting involved in our network steering group.

We’re also revisiting our membership with Stonewall to see how we can leverage their expertise and network to enhance the impact we can have on our own inclusivity agenda within the business. And of course, we’re in the middle of NIW with another upcoming event for us being National Coming Out Day on 11th October; you’ll hear more from us then.

What are the ambitions for the future?

We want to engage and advocate for our people to really drive that sense of belonging and connectedness. To do this, we are putting our North Star – our business goal – at the heart of everything we do to help shape a culture of equity and pride.

We’ll be continuing to provide our people with opportunities to proudly celebrate difference and the achievements of those who have come before us through events and activities, fostering a strong sense of community as we go.

We also plan to provide even better support to our people on relevant topics / issues, signposting resources and providing a safe space to share experiences and bring ideas to the table. It’s important to give a voice to the LGBTQ+ network and allies so we can help empower change for good. It’s also our role to be a consultant to the business, and challenge business programmes or initiatives that may disproportionately impact or inadvertently exclude LGBTQ+ employees or customers.

Our ultimate vision is that through raising awareness of the rich and complex history of the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights, supporting LGBTQ+ colleagues and customers via our employee network and our business-wide Belonging Strategy, and sharing ways our people can help make a difference, this will bring us closer to helping achieve true equality for all – not only within Virgin Media but also in our wider society. Daunting though that last part may seem, every one of us has the power to reach others and bring positive change to the world in some way – it’s in our hands to make a difference and we’re even stronger when we all work together.

Thank you for sharing this insight with us. You can follow our National Inclusion Week journey on LinkedIn.

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