As an Ally, my perception of inclusion has changed

My name is Lucia Bellanti, and I work in Vodafone Group Enterprise Commercial and Operations as an External Communications and Engagement Specialist.

I first started at Vodafone as a graduate 2 years ago and have undertaken a variety of interesting roles, but it was my most recent which definitely gave me the chance to develop personally.

The role allowed me to experience new opportunities and expand my thinking, for example in March 2018, I undertook a Stonewall Ally Programme.

It wasn’t event meant for me, I was only there to help, but I managed to join in the group and it was one of the most eye-opening days I’ve had since joining Vodafone.

The whole day aimed to explore what it means to be an authentic and inclusive ally to LGBT+ people in the workplace.

I come from what I thought was quite an open background but, it turns out, living in a small village in Italy isn’t that open-minded as I thought, and I had loads of biases that I didn’t even realise. I didn’t know half of the terms Stonewall explained to us on the day or that LGBT+ people had to face so many issues when entering the workplace.

At the end of the day, I was able to acknowledge what my biases were and how to act on them. We all made a pledge as active allies and mine was “As an LGBT Ally, I am supportive and the one thing I commit to is making my graduate community aware of this session and the change each one of us can make for LGBT”.

A few months later, Vodafone commissioned an international research from Out Now surveying more than 3,000 LGBT+ young people across 15 countries and multiple industries, and found that;

"31% of LGBT people admitted they went back into the closet when they started their first job. This figure rises to 41% among 18-25 year olds”. 

This data was shocking to many, myself included. For this reason and to act on my pledge, we decided to partner with Stonewall to hold a full day of training with our 400 UK-based Graduates, Columbus graduates and Apprentices across all streams, which we named LGBT: Discover Inclusive Leadership.

We want to make the most of our youth community because as Vodafone’s future leaders, we want to leverage this diversity to build an inclusive culture, where everyone is respected, can be themselves and strive to be their best. That way we can create a better future for our employees, our partners, the communities we work in and our customers.

This is a pioneering programme as it covers LGBT+ and the power of allies in one session. It gives our youth the knowledge to speak confidently about LGBT+ inclusion and helps them to identify practical ways to ensure that everyone they work with is able to reach their full potential.

I can definitely say that organising these days, has been one of my proudest moments at Vodafone and I’m so glad I was given the chance to make it happen.

As an Ally, my perception of inclusion has definitely changed and the way I consider minorities, not just LGBT+, in the workplace and outside it has definitely changed thanks to this training. Because of this, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people that have shared their experiences with me and helped me throughout this personal journey.

My advice to everyone is: if you think you’re already an inclusive and accepting person, challenge yourself and learn more, you can always be more inclusive! 

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Life at Vodafone

International Women's Day 2021at Vodafone UK

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Diversity & Inclusion

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3/9/2021

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To mark International Women’s Day this year, we want to shine a light on all the inspirational women at Vodafone and the amazing people who support them. This isn’t just about our high-flyers or the ‘usual’ faces: we want to uncover the people doing extraordinary things in their everyday life, the #ExtraordinaryInTheOrdinary. Want to know more about Life at Vodafone? Click the button below! Tell me more!   

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Celebrations of International Women's Day 2021at Vodafone UK. Shining a light on Vodafone's truly inspiration women. We #ChooseToChallenge.

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Introducing the diaries of our virtual recruits

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Diversity & Inclusion

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9/21/2020

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During the lockdown, we continued to hire across the globe. We’ve continued to conduct interviews and we’ve continued to welcome new members into our teams. But this time it’s virtual.  Since the start of lockdown our digital journeys have been accelerated. We have welcomed over 345 new joiners in Vodafone Group-UK, alone. Our face-to-face interviews have moved to Skype and although many of our assessments were already online, more focus has gone into upskilling recruiters and improving the virtual assessment experience.  A lot has changed. Not just for our recruiting teams, but for our new joiners as well. Imagine joining a company without physically meeting anyone. Without ever stepping foot in your office. This has been the reality for many employees around the world. As we went into lockdown, we asked our new joiners to document their experience of joining a company virtually. We wanted to hear the truth about their excitement and concern in these uncertain times, and it’s been great to see from their video logs, that the experience has been positive.  This is how we #StayConnected while we #StayHome. In order to accommodate our new virtual lives, all of our new joiners are now invited to a virtual-induction which is spread out over the first week. They receive their IT equipment before day one, with clear guidance on how to set it up, and are involved in a week full of various activities and sessions to help them get started, feel included and get to know Vodafone better. Our employees have been inventing new ways to continue regular work-life, from home. From virtual cafés to surprise birthday cake deliveries. There are some perks to working from home. Like popping to your favourite bakery in between meetings or soaking up some well-needed vitamin D on a beautiful day. In many ways, these uninvited circumstances have brought us together in ways we didn’t expect. We’ve seen virtual yoga sessions, global webinars, we’ve even shifted from cards to videos for birthdays and those leaving us.  We appreciate these times are hard on everyone, but if you are currently looking for a new start, know that our recruitment process is all ready to go, from home. Check out our available opportunities now.  Search Careers 

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Here's how our new joiners have been getting on during lockdown!

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How Vodafone supports our working parents during difficult times

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Diversity & Inclusion

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5/6/2020

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Today (6th May) marks World Maternal Mental Health Day. Here in the UK, it is also Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week (4th – 10th May), organised by the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership.   Perinatal mental health (a mother’s emotional and psychological wellbeing throughout pregnancy, birth, and beyond) is often misunderstood, despite approximately 1 in 10 women being affected. Postnatal depression is thankfully discussed more openly nowadays, but women can also suffer from anxiety, psychosis, PTSD, adjustment disorders, OCD, and other chronic mental illnesses, after carrying, bearing or losing a baby. And sadly not everyone will receive the correct support.   At Vodafone, we recognise the importance of helping our colleagues through any wellbeing challenges they may face at any time. We are also passionate about guiding parents on the tricky balance of work and caring responsibilities. Our support is especially critical when those two components combine, which is why we are actively raising awareness of these maternal mental health campaigns amongst our people this week.   However, we’re not just talking about it for one week! We already have an excellent range of family-friendly policies and some amazingly supportive employee networks. Of course, the current climate will have exacerbated the struggle for working parents, so, now more than ever, we must take extra care of our colleagues’ emotional wellbeing – by updating policies, sharing the burden and getting it done together. Here’s a snapshot of how we’re helping our parents to weather the storm: ·       Our existing Employee Assistance Programme offers confidential 24/7 support for personal or work-related problems, free of charge for all employees and immediate family members.·       Our new Remote GP Benefit ensures employees can continue to receive medical treatment. The service is available to all employees and their dependents, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.·       We have evolved our Compassionate & Unexpected Care Leave Policy so that employees can take leave flexibly.·       We’ve updated our Parental Leave policy, so that time can be taken in days, not just full weeks.·       Our Ready Parents and Carers Network provides colleagues with practical and emotional peer-to-peer support, including tips on working from home and keeping the kids entertained.  ·       Our Wellbeing network is an inclusive internal group that connects colleagues, share advice and signpost to support.·       We’re supporting the work of the UK charity Best Beginnings to increase awareness of its NHS-endorsed app, which provides advice, resources and even appointment reminders for new and expectant parents. All of these services remain available for any colleagues on maternity (or shared parental) leave, so our brand new mums and dads can stay in touch and seek help if they’re struggling. Right now, the most powerful thing we can do is to #stayconnected with each other and really listen to our people’s needs. Vodafone is working hard each day to create this inclusive and flexible culture for all.#maternalmhmatters #supportingmumsduringdifficulttimes

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We recognise the importance of helping colleagues through any wellbeing challenges they may face at any time, as well as guiding parents on that tricky balance of work and caring responsibilities. Find out what we’re doing in support of maternal mental health.

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Belonging & Inclusion in Isolation and Distancing: How can you support your colleagues?

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Diversity & Inclusion

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4/8/2020

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The circumstances we are currently living in are unprecedented. Half of the world's population is on lockdown and over 1 million people globally have been diagnosed with Covid-19. There are so many angles to a pandemic, the most commendable being the daily heroics of people within our NHS. It seems pertinent to ask, during this time of self-isolation and social distancing, what are the implications on inclusion and belonging? Stonewall recently said, "Whenever something happens, there are always those of us who face additional barriers through being more excluded than others." Certain groups will experience specific issues and it is important to ensure we are able to support colleagues from these groups to the best of our ability. At Vodafone, we define inclusion as an environment where everyone is respected for their different viewpoints and backgrounds. We define belonging as feeling accepted, appreciated and part of the team. It is a human need and increases motivation, health and happiness. Self-isolation and social distancing are not the opposite of belonging and inclusion, not unless we make them so. We must avoid being exclusionary now, more than ever. We must see this is an opportunity to make colleagues feel more included and we must reassure colleagues that we are here to support them. Vodafone have a zero tolerance approach to any kind of discriminatory behaviour, and we continue to emphasise our commitment towards inclusion for all. At Vodafone, we embrace and welcome everyone. For more information on diversity and inclusion, click here. 

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Hear from our Global Culture & Inclusion Manager and UK Diversity & Inclusion Manager on the support available at Vodafone during this time of isolation.

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