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2022 is a significant year for the Pride movement.

Across the nation, communities will come together to commemorate 50 years since the first Pride event took place in the United Kingdom, acknowledging progress made and the evolution of the movement, whilst accepting the challenges still faced by LGBT+ communities, nationally and globally.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, or DEI, has been a real priority amongst business leaders for the last few years. Whilst many companies are quick to profess strong DEI values, bringing those values to life needs robust policies, programs and initiatives in order to truly make workplaces more diverse, equitable and inclusive. As part of this broader campaign, in the UK and around the world, organisations are striving to create LGBT+ inclusive workplaces.

At K2, building and maintaining a culture of inclusion is of the utmost importance. We celebrate our diverse workforce and want to make sure that everyone who works here is able to, honestly and openly, be themselves. We know that inclusion drives better individual, business and organisational outcomes, and we recognise how essential it is that employees feel empowered to be able to bring their whole selves to work, including our LGBT+ colleagues.

We are proud to work with clients who are leading the way when it comes to delivering well-rounded DEI strategies, which support overarching goals to improve awareness and understanding of the issues faced, whilst ensuring employees across all levels of their organisation are supported. Organisations with successful strategies typically view inclusivity and employee wellbeing as central facets of business success.

One such example is BAT. At K2, we were lucky enough to have one of their DEI leaders, Adrian Longdon, deliver multiple sessions focusing on LGBT+ issues to both internal and external stakeholders globally. Over two sessions, Adrian, who is Vice President of B United, The BAT LGBT+ community employee network, covered the topic of allyship in the workplace, as well as providing insights, solutions, and recommendations for corporate mobility leaders, through highlighting BAT’s own initiatives and looking at the key considerations and potential challenges organisations may face when developing DEI mobility initiatives.

The first session was delivered to employees as part of our K2 Talks series; a programme of informal, interactive, informative, learning sessions, and focused particularly on LGBT+ in the workplace and what actions colleagues can take in the workplace to be a good ally.

Here is an overview of some of the key discussion points which emerged during the session:

LGBT+ in the workplace – what can you do to be a good ally?

An ally is an individual who takes action in support of another person or community, in this case the LGBT+ community.

  • Use gender neutral terms to avoid making assumptions.
  • Make an effort with pronouns. Even if this may be a hard adjustment, it is important to keep trying. If you are unsure what someone’s pronouns may be, it is safer to ask and keep trying.
  • Ensure confidentiality. In some cases, this can be a matter of personal safety rather than purely privacy. Avoid talking about someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity unless they are open and willing to speak about it themselves.
  • Ask yourself, would I be comfortable if someone asked me that? Although it can be a positive thing to talk with your LGBT+ colleagues about their lives outside of work, ensure it is appropriate for the workplace.
  • Educate yourself. Do not assume that just because someone identifies as gay means that they know everything about the LGBT+ community because everyone has their own individual experience and story to tell.
  • Speak up. Positively challenge negative comments and ‘jokes’ about LGBT+ people. If you hear or know about any homophobic behaviour, harassment or bullying it is important to speak up.

But what practical steps can be taken to facilitate a positive experience for LGBT+ assignees? Click here to read an overview of the second session.

People and culture is an area of major focus within our Kinetic business strategy, which was launched earlier this year. We take pride in our unique culture, see value in diverse voices, and want to foster an inclusive work environment in which all our people are comfortable being themselves, and feel supported to realise their full potential.

K2 is committed to providing equal opportunity to each employee irrespective of their sexual orientation, gender identity or any other attribute. This Pride month, and the whole year round, we stand together to support our LGBT+ colleagues, allies and communities.

Find out more about our culture and ethos.

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