This year sees London host its 43rd Pride festival, a week-long celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) culture that runs from June 21-28. For the fourth year running Shell will raise the rainbow flag above Shell Centre in a show of support for the LGBT community.
“It’s significant that Shell does this,” says James Gaubert, current Chair of the LGBT Network in the UK at Shell. “Not just for our members, who see the support Shell gives internally, but it’s a powerful message externally. It’s great for Pride.”
Shell is proud to celebrate differences and has a strong Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) policy. It has nine employee networks in the UK that work to promote equality and create awareness. The Shell UK LGBT Network has been established for more than ten years and boasts a membership of around 150 staff. Anyone can join regardless of sexual orientation or identification.
“There is a social aspect to the Network, which is about connecting people and providing a space where people can meet others,” says James. “But there is a second dimension to it, which is about raising awareness of LGBT issues throughout the company through events such as ‘lunch and learns’ about bringing yourself to work or coming out stories. We also work with senior leaders across the business to make sure each part of the organisation is LGBT friendly.”
The other networks within Shell also work hard to represent the diverse groups that work at the company. They include the African and Asian Networks, the Women’s Network and enABLE, a forum for people with temporary or permanent impairments to share experiences and raise awareness more widely. Early career professionals can find support within the Energie Network, young IT professionals have ConnectIT, while employees further along in their careers have the opportunity to join the Experienced Hire Network.
It’s Shell policy to be supportive of its staff, which is why the company is happy to fly the rainbow flag. Erik Bonino, UK Country Chair, says: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for Shell UK to demonstrate its D&I values externally, and we wish everyone a safe and happy Pride.”