Words by Abi Scaife
We all know the feeling - a brand you love goes all out for Pride month, with new social media graphics and a long, mushy Instagram post about how much they appreciate their LGBTQIA+ employees. Then, at 00:00 1 July, boom. It's gone.
But never fear, there are businesses out there doing their bit to support the LGBTQIA+ community, whether it’s June or December.
We've scoured through Stonewall's Top 100 Employers list, which is compiled from the Workplace Equality Index – the UK’s leading benchmarking tool for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace, to take our pick of businesses doing their bit.
You heard right - the fizzy-pop giant is one of the most inclusive employers in the world. With a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, a way of measuring equality and inclusion of American businesses, Coca-Cola is doing their part.
Based in the USA, the business has a history of supporting local and national policies that benefit the LGBTQIA+ community and was one of the first corporations to publicly support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. They have since launched the ‘Next Generation LGBTQ Leaders’ Initiative’ – a program designed to connect, educate and inspire young LGBTQ leaders.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service
Not what you were expecting, right? Yes, the Fire and Rescue Service in Cheshire specifically is hugely supportive of LGBTQIA+ employees, and members of the local community.
They have an online guide for employees on how to be better allies to their LGBTQIA+ colleagues and engage in Pride events across their local communities - complete with a rainbow fire engine.
The media giant is number nine on Stonewall’s top 100 employers of 2022, and for good reason.
The company has committed itself to engaging with minorities of all kinds and has invested in several programmes to encourage diversity in its workplace. This includes their Graduate Inclusion Week and the MAMA Youth Project, both of which take applications from young people who are from diverse backgrounds. They also mark and celebrate key LGBTQIA+ events throughout the year, and describe their policies as ‘fully inclusive’.
Tesco is hugely supportive of their LGBTQIA+ employees, earning them Network Group of the Year 2022 from Stonewall UK.
They have a network available for their LGBTQIA+ employees, as well as year-round, confidential support. They also continuously encourage other employees to step up as allies with content like a video series, for LGBTQIA+ History Month, informative blogs for awareness days throughout the year, and events exploring the history of Pride, asexuality and ace spectrum identities, LGBTQIA+ people’s experiences of HIV/AIDS, and non-binary equality.
Network Rail also has an LGBTQIA+ network for their employees to access, called Archway. Archway is run entirely by volunteers, provides confidential support to colleagues, reviews policies and practices with an LGBTQIA+ lens, and runs awareness-raising events throughout the year.
During the COVID-19 lockdowns, Archway made sure to reach out to members of their community and encourage them to attend ‘InclusiviTea’ virtual coffee events to provide support and connection.