Our company strives to create an inclusive workplace in which all our employees give their best for our customers and are recognised and rewarded for their contribution. The nationwide OutlinkUK group has been active for over 5 years now and is a very valuable part of this effort in our UK business.
OutLinkUK aims to create a work environment which is open, inclusive and welcomes diversity. We recognise that not all employees are comfortable to be themselves at work. The main objectives of the Group are as follows:
- To raise awareness and understanding of the issues that LGBTQ+ employees face
- To provide support and advice to employees who may be experiencing issues with sexual orientation and gender identity
- To celebrate diversity, both internally and externally, such as at Pride events
- To provide a means for like-minded people to share their thoughts and experiences in a supportive environment
- To establish links with LGBTQ+ Networks in other organisations
- To provide opportunities for social networking
At BAE Systems, we recognise the importance of allowing our staff to bring their whole selves to work; it’s vital for the wellbeing of our employees, as well as the productivity of our workforce. Diversity and Inclusion is often discussed at the highest levels in the business, including the specific issues faced by our LGBTQ+ employees and what we need to do to support them. Julian Cracknell, Managing Director (Applied Intelligence) and Executive Sponsor of OutLinkUK
We aim to help our colleagues in any way we can, even if it is only to provide an understanding point of contact. At the same time, we also recognise that there may be some circumstances when an individual might need a greater level of support which goes beyond the experience or ability of our members. To this end, independent and confidential counselling is available to all employees.
Who is OutlinkUK for?
OutLinkUK is a fully inclusive group and any interested employee can join. This includes:
- those who are openly LGBTQ+
- people who are LGBTQ+ but don't wish their family, friends or colleagues to know
- people who identify as LGBTQ+ with multiple identities e.g. are LGBTQ+ and BAME, are LGBTQ+ and Disabled, are LGBTQ+ and identify with a particular Faith
- anyone who isn't sure how, or indeed whether, to be open with others about their personal situation
- employees who would like to understand more about the issues that LGBTQ+ people can face, for instance if they have a colleague, friend or family member who is LGBTQ+
- allies who are typically non-LGBTQ+ employees and who wish to demonstrate their support for the aims of the group
I know how important employee networks are in supporting people and in encouraging them to be themselves. For the last few years, OutLinkUK has held an annual conference and attended a number of Pride parades within the UK, allowing their LGBTQ+ staff an opportunity to celebrate their identities alongside their colleagues. These events are always a joy to attend, for LGBTQ+ people and Allies alike. Mark Phillips, Group Communications Director and Executive Sponsor of OutlinkUK
The OutlinkUK Allies Programme
OutLinkUK launched its LGBTQ+ Allies Programme in 2017, for employees who wish to show visible support for their LGBTQ+ colleagues. Allies challenge inappropriate behaviour based on sexual orientation or gender identity, whenever it occurs.
The group developed the Allies programme as research shows that many LGBTQ+ people do not feel able to be themselves in the workplace, often spending a significant amount of time covering-up their real lives for fear of how they may be treated by their colleagues if they knew the truth. This is not only counterproductive but can also significantly impact employee wellbeing.
The LGBTQ+ Allies Programme aims to address these matters by creating a visible community of employees who actively support their LGBTQ+ colleagues. Establishing this community is fundamental to developing a working environment where everyone feels safe and included.
Stonewall Diversity Champion
BAE Systems is a Stonewall Diversity Champion. The Diversity Champions programme is the leading employers' programme for ensuring all LGBTQ+ staff are accepted without exception in the workplace. We work closely with Stonewall to ensure we create inclusive and accepting environments for all our UK workforce.