O2 extends resources and support for trans employees

Toolkit will support O2 employees going through their gender transition and help colleagues and managers create a more inclusive workplace

Mobile network operator O2 has launched an internal toolkit designed to provide support for trans employees who are either going through or considering starting their gender transition journey, along with guidance for their managers.

Developed with input from LGBTQ+ organisation Stonewall and O2’s own internal Proud network, the toolkit was created to support O2’s goals around building a more inclusive workplace for its staff, and officially launched on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT), 17 May.

O2 said it wanted to ensure all its managers were fully prepared to support transitioning employees and help build a working environment where everybody feels comfortable being themselves, regardless of gender identity.

“To prosper, businesses must reflect society and, at O2, we are committed to enabling this by fostering a diverse and inclusive culture,” said O2’s chief digital and strategy officer, and executive committee sponsor for inclusion, Jo Bertram.

“Introducing a transitioning toolkit is the right thing to do for our people and builds on a series of progressive moves by O2 this year, including extending paid paternity leave for all couples regardless of their orientation. We know that doing the right thing by our people is critical to attract and retain top talent,” said Bertram.

The toolkit offers advice for managers in areas such as confidentiality and privacy around trans people’s identity, and practical guidance on correct use of preferred pronouns. It also signposts a number of external resources for further information from O2’s Employee Assistance Helpline, and Stonewall.

Ilona Smith, client account manager at Stonewall, said half of trans people have hidden their identity at work at one time or another for fear of discrimination.

“Developing policies to support trans employees is a positive step towards creating an inclusive workplace where everyone feels free to be themselves,” she said.

Mark Leonard, who chairs O2’s Proud network, added: “Transitioning is a deeply personal experience, so it’s important that HR teams and line managers are prepared to give colleagues the support they need.

“I’m grateful to Stonewall for their help in creating our transitioning toolkit and proud of O2 for being a leading progressive employer. In 2019, nobody should feel alone or unsupported at work.”

Read more about LGBTQ+ people in IT

  • A large number of young people who identify as LGBTQ+ have avoided choosing a career in science, technology, engineering and maths because of discrimination fears.
  • Each year, charity Stonewall releases a list of the top 100 LGBTQ+ employers. As technology becomes such a huge part of so many businesses, it has slowly begun to feature on the list.
  • Online retail giant Amazon has launched a pack of resources to its UK employees to help make the workplace a more inclusive environment for transgender people.

Read more on Diversity in IT

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