A number of national retailers, public sector services, local businesses and education institutions are coming together with LGBT+ charity Manchester Pride to put inclusion and equality at the forefront of their organisations.
This list, which is made up of organisations that will be the very first to beta test the charity’s new All Equals Charter, includes Manchester Metropolitan University, Enterprise Rent-a-Car Greater Manchester, Auto Trader UK, UKFast, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, Tameside Council and Tameside & Glossop CCG.
National statistics* show that ⅓ of LGBT+ employees have hidden their LGBT+ status at work for fear of discrimination and research carried out by the charity over the past year has revealed that over 40% of LGBT+ people in Manchester have faced discriminitation so Manchester Pride has launched an initiative to enable organisations to combat these figures by creating inclusive environments for LGBT+ people to thrive within.
The charity has produced the All Equals Charter to help create a consistent approach to diversity and inclusion across the region. It will help businesses and organisations to understand how to recognise and challenge any form of discrimination through the provision of a thought-through support system guiding them to achieve a truly diverse, inclusive and equal workplace.
The charity’s rigorous consultation process has left it to recognise the diversity and multitude of experiences within LGBT+ communities and that some LGBT+ people face discrimination and inequality based on characteristics additional to their gender identity and sexuality. The All Equals Charter has a keen focus on intersectionality to ensure that it tackles all forms of discrimination in the workplace.
Mark Fletcher, chief executive for Manchester Pride, said: “We believe that everyone deserves their whole selves to be accepted without exception. During our initiaial reserch period, we discovered that LGBT+ people in Greater Manchester are experienceing alarming levels of discrimination against other protected characteristics in addition to their sexual orientation in spaces deemed to be safe for LGBT+ people. We wanted to do something about it. In developing what has now become The All Equals Charter we have created a platform for us to work with businesses and organisations across Greater Manchester to take a look at everything from their procedures and policies relating to discrimination to the training and education offered to their workforces to create the optimum environment for LGBT+ people to thrive, whether this be at work or at play”
Discrimination is seen to have an extremely negative impact on the mental health of an individual. Research has shown that LGBT+ people are significantly more likely to have experienced a mental health condition and of those surveyed 72%** reported having had mental health problems as a result of work.
Whilst the All Equals Charter is focussed on improving the health and quality of life of LGBT+ individuals research has also proven that organisations with strong “diversity climates” (i.e., inclusive work cultures characterised by openness toward others and appreciation of individual differences) are likely to have teams with increased job satisfaction and knowledge sharing resulting in higher levels of productivity and an increase in profitability.***
In fact more diverse teams tend to be more innovative, with studies**** showing that when employees see their organisation is committed to supporting diversity there’s an 83% increase in their ability to innovate.
Manchester Pride is working with a number of local, national and regional businesses and organisations to be the first to test the charter and its processes.
Helen Robinson, D&I and community engagement manager from Auto Trader UK said; “Auto Trader is proud to partner with Manchester Pride. We believe Diversity and Inclusion is at the core of creating an excellent culture within the workplace and have worked hard ourselves to create the culture we have today. We are excited to join Manchester Pride’s new ‘All Equals Charter’ and collaborate with organisations and members across Greater Manchester for the benefit of our colleagues, our customers and our communities.”
Stuart McKenna, equality and diversity manager, human resources & organisational development directorate, Manchester Metropolitan University said: “At Manchester Metropolitan University, we are absolutely delighted to be involved in the development of the Manchester Pride All Equals Chartermark. The University has a longstanding and positive partnership with Manchester Pride, through our annual support for the Manchester Pride parade, and throughout the year with our support of Superbia, Pride’s year-round calendar of cultural events. We are particularly excited about the proposed intersectional principles of the charter which seek to tackle all forms of discrimination and inequality faced by LGBT+ people in Greater Manchester. We hope that our involvement with the Charter will help the University build on some exciting work we have already undertaken and allow us to showcase some of this work and share some of our good practice with other charter participants.”
UKFast’s managing director Gail Jones said: “To hear that a third of LGBT+ people have hidden their status at work out of fear of discrimination is hugely disappointing. Our team has developed a strong relationship with Manchester Pride, supporting the launch of the Charter at UKFast Campus and proudly showing our colours at the parade every year. We’re delighted to continue to work alongside Manchester Pride and promote LGBT+ equality.”
Those who sign up will be given access to a members’ area of the charter website where they will have access to a digital toolkit to guide them through the process.
They will be asked to complete a self-assessment which will explore the organisation’s policy position and procedures for dealing with discrimination, recruitment and staff training. It will consider if these policies and procedures are adequately communicated to assist employees and promote a feeling of security amongst the workforce that discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated.
The next step will be for the Manchester Pride team to conduct a ‘Health Check’ for the organisation and provide feedback and suggestions for an action plan. The plan may advise on the creation of policy and procedure or for those with existing policies it may focus on how to record data about incidents that occur and the importance of sharing it with relevant agencies.
This will culminate in a full Assurance Review to receive accreditation. The whole process should take approximately 10 – 12 weeks for an organisation to complete.
Mark continues; “We are carrying out beta testing of the All Equals Charter to ensure that we have a robust, comprehensive and workable process for all industries, sectors and sizes of business. I am keen to see how the years of research will translate into real change within the organisations who sign up.
“The businesses that have chosen to beta test with us are already committed to inclusion and equality so they will be well placed to work closely with us to refine the process so that it is best in class. Throughout the process we will be encouraging businesses to share experiences and take learnings from each other to promote a best practice and consistent approach to diversity and inclusion across the city.
“As a charity that works tirelessly to promote and raise awareness for LGBT+ issues and the fight for equality across the city this is a very exciting time for us.”
Following the beta testing period the All Equals Charter will launch in early 2020 and will be open to any business or organisation operating within the region.
The All Equals Charter is a Manchester Pride initiative and any profits from the charter will be reinvested into the Manchester Pride Fund to support and enhance the lives of LGBT+ communities.