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Reflecting the customers we serve

2 Jun 2023Empowering People
3 minute read

By Leanne Wood, Group Chief HR Officer and Trustee of Vodafone Foundation

To improve our connection with our customers and earn their loyalty, we must continue to build a workplace that reflects the diverse communities we serve. Over the past year, we have made progress in improving the representation of minority groups at Vodafone so that everyone can be at their best, grow and belong.

This June, many countries will recognise LGBT+ Pride; a moment to reflect, celebrate and acknowledge the stories, challenges and achievements of the LGBT+ community and allies.

Committing to active allyship

This year, we have continued our longstanding commitment to LGBT+ inclusion at Vodafone. Our Employee Networks of more than 3,600 LGBT+ employees and allies have been supported by specific leadership development focused on effectively running an employee network that meets the needs of minority groups and engages wider audiences on the importance of active allyship.

Technology and connectivity play a key role in our support of the LGBT+ community. The Vodafone Foundation launched the Zoteria app in the UK, helping people connect to support and tackle LGBT+ hate crime as part of the Apps Against Abuse Programme connecting 2.4 million people to information and advice. The concept and design of the app came from within Vodafone, the idea of Marta Lima LGBT+ Network Chair in the UK following her own experience of hate crime. I’m proud that Vodafone is playing a part in tackling this serious issue.

The Spirit of Vodafone – our culture, values and beliefs – encourages everyone to prompt their own curiosity and commitment to inclusion, not just those with a personal experience of adversity.

Understanding and taking active allyship means we can all benefit from different experiences, finding new solutions and, in turn, growing ourselves and our business. Vodafone’s Global Withstander training in 11 languages is just one example of how employees are owning their understanding as they upskill on active allyship to challenge inappropriate behaviour when they witness it, with more than 43,000 employees taking part in this training to date.

Improving representation across minority groups

Our support for our LGBT+ community cuts across our policies and initiatives that meet the needs of all of our employees.

Our global parental leave policy is an example of how making progress for one marginalised group can positively impact others; all genders can take 16 weeks fully paid leave with a phased return over six months and this year, we saw 2% of parents who identify as LGBT+ take parental leave.

In addition, our global toolkit for menopause support raises awareness that while 62% of women with symptoms of menopause saw an impact on working, menopause can also be triggered when transitioning genders, ensuring support and recognition for all genders while complementing our transitioning toolkit for colleagues.

Progress can only be seen however, if we continue to hold ourselves accountable. Our #CountMeIn initiative encourages Vodafone employees to voluntarily self-declare their diversity demographics including race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and caring responsibilities. We have seen 85% of those in senior leadership decisions declare their data in the past year, as we work harder to ensure we have diverse decision-making at every level our organisation, and for the first time this year seeing leaders self-declaring their sexual orientation and disability.

Over the past year, we have made great progress on our work to ensure improved representation of women in management. This year, we reached 34% of women in senior leadership positions ( working towards 40% by 2030 ), and 50% of hires being women across youth programmes as we continue to make progress through programmes, policies and leadership incentives and proudly being included in the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index for the fifth consecutive year.

But this is more than key moments, policies or targets. This is about our every day and building a culture where everyone can be at their best and, as a result, we deliver our goals. We must be the change that we want to see.

  • Consumers
  • Empowering People
  • Workplace equality

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