At the heart, our LGBT+ Friends Network connects and supports our people on lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT+) matters. Our network is open to everyone, a place where we can all make a positive difference to our workplace, customers and local communities.
Our efforts don’t stop at the office. We’re proactively supporting local schools, charities and initiatives across the UK. We want tohelp future LGBT+ employees navigate the world of work and feel confident to be themselves.
Who are we?
Our members come from every corner of the business, from retail and software development to customer care and partnerships, and everything in between. We have a volunteer steering committee made up of a chairperson, site leads and specialist roles, such as Trans Lead and Parenting Lead. The network is open to everyone, whatever their background or wherever they're based, and whether they identify as LGBT+ themselves or not.
What's our purpose?
We want our people to be at their best and have a great experience working here. We champion LGBT+ inclusion and celebrate diversity at work and in the community. We support and educate our employees, managers and friends on LGBT+ matters.
We’re very proud of our network. In the last few years, we’ve been recognised by the British LGBT Awards and Stonewall (we placed #19 in the 2020 Workplace Employee Index and have previously won their Best Employee Network Award).
What do we do?
A lot! But to give a flavour: We provide confidential support for our employees. We bring people together in person (when circumstances allow) or online – this ranges from coffee meet-ups to after work social events, volunteer days or Virtual Pride. We also join with external partners like Out in Tech for networking sessions. Making sure all Vodafone’s services and products are inclusive for our customers is a big priority. We’ve worked with organisations like Career Accelerator and Micro Rainbow, and of course we support Pride events up and down the country. And there’s so much more!
Vodafone were proud to be the wristband sponsors for the biggest Gay Pride in the UK; Brighton Pride.
Jason Nicholson, Brighton Store Manager: “Each year the entirety of Brighton (and most other cities in the south) get together to celebrate equality and inclusion in the form of a wonderfully colourful, exciting and utterly fabulous Pride Festival. Brighton has always been a city at the forefront of inclusion and for years we have wanted to show our support by having some sort of involvement in the Pride Festival, this year our wish has come true and we are extremely proud to be able to fly the rainbow flag in our Vodafone colours. To us Brighton Pride isn’t just about the LGBT+ community, it’s about bringing everyone together in peace, love and harmony.”
VOXI marched at London Pride with over 100 of our employees leading the march. VOXI aims to give young people a platform to express themselves via endless social media and we're proud to celebrate diversity and inclusion alongside them. The VOXI concept for Pride is “Endless love”, the modification of VOXI’s strapline “Endless possibilities” - Love takes different shapes and forms, it means different things for all of us and the opportunities are endless.
Pride at Vodafone
We love Pride season at Vodafone. It gives us the chance to celebrate diversity and inclusivity in our networks, for our employees, our customers, with our friends in other company networks and LGBT+ organisations.
We’ve taken part in many Pride events across the country. Even though that wasn’t possible to do in the same way in 2020, we organised a Virtual Pride. This featured special speaker events with Olly Pike, a comedy hour with Catherine Bohart and Sarah Keyworth, as well as competitions and weekly Pride Radio shows. We’ve continued to stay engaged with our local communities and LGBT+ organisations.
For our Graduates
In partnership with OutNow we published research into the experience young LGBT+ people have at work. Results showed that over 41% of 18-25 year olds who were open about their sexual orientation or gender identity at university or college hide their identity when they start work.
We want everyone who works for Vodafone to feel that they belong. This is why we offer all graduates an LGBT+ buddy when they join. Look out for this in your offer letter! We also encourage all employees to become allies in our Friends of LGBT+ scheme.