February 1st marks the start of LGBT+ History month, which gives a point of reflection on how far we’ve come in supporting diversity – in all its forms – across business and society.
As Chair of ScottishPower’s LGBT+ network, In-Fuse, this week I helped welcome 100 new employees to our business. Launched five years ago, In-Fuse was the first LGBT+ network to be established across our parent company Iberdrola’s global operations.
Founded by staff and led by staff, it is one of the fastest growing employee networks we have and one I’m proud to Chair.
Standing on stage talking openly about being gay is never something I thought I’d do as part of my working day – in fact it would’ve given me nightmares 20 years ago. However, I know that being open about my personal life, in the same way many other people don’t even have to think twice about, ultimately makes me a happier, more authentic, and more productive employee.
Inclusive and diverse workplaces aren’t something that just happen. It takes the will of the business to establish and support them and importantly, it takes a community of employees to drive and shape them.
That’s where In-Fuse and its members play an essential role. The aims of the network are to champion the creation of an inclusive work environment where colleagues feel confident being their authentic selves at work, to bring like-minded people together, and ultimately to be the voice of our employees.
Already we represent almost 10% of ScottishPower’s total UK workforce with membership made up of both LGBT+ employees and allies based in our offices around the country.
We hold regular awareness events, represent ScottishPower at official Pride events across the UK and have worked with organisations ranging from Stonewall to TiE (Time for Inclusive Education), promoting inclusion for all.
Our members have worked with HR to establish policies to better support our trans colleagues and championed the introduction of gender-neutral toilets in our UK HQ.
As we begin LBGT+ History Month, we’re celebrating the progress we have made but we know there’s still so much more to do, whether that’s at ScottishPower or our wider society.
The UK is much more progressive when it comes to equal rights than many other countries around the world, and yet there’s still a way to go particularly when it comes to combating rising levels of homophobia and transphobia.
It’s also worth noting that it’s less than 20 years since the ban on lessons referencing same-sex relationships was lifted in schools, and it wasn’t until 1980 that homosexuality was declassified as a criminal offence in the UK.
ScottishPower rightly believes that teams with greater diversity and inclusive leadership can offer much higher levels of innovation, creativity, and success for both business and society as a whole.
The energy sector is investing heavily to tackle climate change and ScottishPower is recruiting 1,000 people this year alone to help achieve its ambitions. We know we need people from all walks of life, who are able to thrive in a workplace that’s openly supportive and celebrates everyone’s diversity.
That’s why a networks like In-Fuse is essential to make sure everyone’s voice is heard, and why I’m happy to share my story.