Thames Water has entered the charity Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers list in recognition of its commitment to the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace.
The company has also received a gold award for meeting criteria relating to its diversity and inclusion policies, its values and its LGBTQ+ and Allies Network (Pride Network) which has itself been highly commended by Stonewall.
In 2020, then ranked 189th, Thames Water set out its ambition to break into Stonewall’s top 100 employers by 2025 and has today been announced as being number 100 in the rankings. Since 2020 the company has continued to strengthen its commitment to its LGBTQ+ employees, most visually demonstrated last year when it unveiled two rainbow drain covers in Reading and Swindon.
The covers are painted in the rainbow colours which are symbolic of the LGBTQ+ movement along with black and brown to represent LGBTQ+ people from black and Asian backgrounds. The unique design also includes LGBTQ+ symbols along with the logos of Thames Water and the cover manufacturers, Wrekin Products, and the slogan “Every rainbow needs a little water to shine”. The words, chosen by Thames Water employees, link to the company’s core purpose of water management and expresses how communities shine and thrive because of the diversity within them.
Examples of Thames Water’s LGBTQ+ commitments:
• Ongoing sponsorship of Pride events
• Inclusive recruitment checklist and specific guidance for LGBTQ+ inclusion outlining the need for diverse shortlists that include candidates who are LGB or who identify as Trans.
• Updated family leave policies which are inclusive of non-binary and LGBTQ+ employees and apply to same sex couples
• Implemented a refined email signature policy to include pronouns which has been rolled out across the company
• Updated systems to include ‘Mx’ in the drop down for title, a question asking if the employee (or candidate) identifies as Trans and expanded the options for gender to include non-binary.
Chair of Thames Water’s Pride Network, Mark Deller, said: “We’re over the moon to have made the top 100 three years ahead of our target. The ranking and the awards are brilliant recognition for our network and colleagues across Thames Water who are building an inclusive and welcoming environment where everyone can come to work and be themselves.
“The unveiling of the rainbow drain covers last year means our commitment to the LGBTQ+ communities we serve are there for all to see and without doubt they’ve helped us gain this important recognition from Stonewall.”
Liz Ward, Director of Programmes at Stonewall (she/her) said: “We’re delighted for Thames Water whose incredible work towards LGBTQ+ inclusion this year has seen them land a place in the Top 100. Every employer has a duty to make sure that their LGBTQ+ staff are free from discrimination at work, and our Top 100 list, alongside our Workplace Equality Index helps organisations reflect on their inclusion journey and celebrate best practice.
“We spend much of our time at work, and our career can be a huge part of how we define ourselves. That’s why it’s vital that every single lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer person feels like they can be themselves in their workplace.”
The full Top 100 Employers list can be found on the Stonewall website.