Alice Jennison: How can employers incorporate events like Pride into staff support strategies?

Pride is a significant month for us at Skanska UK, and recent events such as the shooting at the Oslo Pride event only serve as a stark reminder of its importance.

In short, Pride provides an opportunity for Skanska UK to engage with our employees on issues related to diversity, to publicise our initiatives to create more inclusive workplaces and to encourage our people to become active participants in this process.

At our project sites across the UK, we hosted discussions, raised money for LGBTQ+ charities and proudly displayed the Pride flag. Members of our leadership teams took part in sessions exploring what inclusive leadership looks like for LGBTQ+ employees and the role they can play.

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As they do throughout the year, our six employee networks played a critical role in providing a safe space for employees and support our business to become more inclusive. And we are looking forward to taking part in Brighton Pride on 6 August.

But we know this is not enough. We are on a journey towards creating a culture where everyone is accepted for who they are, including people with every gender identity and sexual orientation. And that journey is ongoing.

Last year, we conducted research asking people about inclusion, and to identify the ways that people from different groups and backgrounds experience our culture. It revealed some uncomfortable truths and showed that our values-based culture is not always reflected on every Skanska UK site.

The research acted as a clarion call to redouble our efforts to creating a culture where everyone can bring their whole self to work. We see this process as comparable to health and safety and mental health. It is about putting support in place to ensure everyone can do their job to the best of their ability.

In an ideal world, there should be no need to have a specific month to raise awareness about the importance of accepting those in the LGBTQ+ community. It should be the way things are done, always. But until that happens, we will be continuing our journey with Pride.

Alice Jennison is inclusion and diversity manager at Skanska UK.