This year, we’re celebrating the return of Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers. This is the definitive list of workplaces who’ve dedicated themselves to supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion inside and outside the organisation itself. The impact that inclusive workplaces can have on employees is enormous, as we’ve shown in our Bring Yourself To Work campaign.
But what does an organisation need to do in order to become a Top Employer? First, they need to submit to the Workplace Equality Index.
What is the Workplace Equality Index?
The Workplace Equality Index (WEI) is a wide-ranging and intensive LGBTQ+ inclusion benchmarking tool. The WEI has been honed over the past 18 years, and is designed to acknowledge and evaluate employers’ inclusion work, as well as allowing them to measure their progress over time.
This year, we had over 400 entrants to the Index. We’ve placed more focus on non-binary and bi inclusion, and work that supports people with a range of identities (such as disabled LGBTQ+ people, or LGBTQ+ people of colour). We’ve also included criteria around maintaining a focus on LGBTQ+ inclusion in dispersed workplaces, since working from home has become normalised for many.
What criteria are entrants measured against?
The WEI criteria are split across nine broad categories:
- Policies and benefits. This covers how an organisation supports its LGBTQ+ staff with anti-discrimination, family leave, and trans inclusion policies, or benefits such as private health insurance.
- Employee lifecycle. It’s important that LGBTQ+ inclusion is embedded across every stage of an employee’s journey through an organisation. That covers everything from recruitment and induction, to training and internal communications, all the way through to exit processes.
- Network groups. This section focuses on the amount of support that’s given to an organisation’s LGBTQ+ network, and the kinds of activities the network has done in the previous year. It also explores any action the network has taken to ensure it’s inclusive of, and accessible to, all LGBTQ+ employees.
- Empowering individuals. Organisations are asked to demonstrate how they engage individuals across the workplace to create a more inclusive culture. It focuses on how LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ employees alike are empowered to step up as changemakers and allies.
- Leadership. Senior leaders and line managers are vital when it comes to setting an LGBTQ-inclusive culture at work. This section focuses how senior leaders have shown understanding of, and support for, LGBT+ inclusion, and how all managers make LGBTQ+ inclusion part of their day-to-day jobs.
- Monitoring. Diversity monitoring helps organisations fully understand the experiences of their LGBTQ+ employees. Here, respondents are asked how sexual orientation, gender and trans identity data is analysed to understand recruitment, pay grade and staff satisfaction trends. There’s also a section focused on steps taken to ensure colleagues feel confident enough to share sensitive data with their employers.
- Supply chains. Organisations are asked to show their commitment to inclusion not just within their own processes, but to demonstrate how they’ve affected change in their supply chain too. This covers everything from tendering new contracts to ensuring existing suppliers are committed to LGBTQ+ inclusion.
- External engagement and service delivery. Respondents are asked to show how their organisation supports LGBTQ+ communities beyond its employees. Depending on the type of work you do, this could focus on how you ensure customers, service users, members or audience members experience an inclusive environment when using your service. Alternatively, it could cover community engagement work and how you promote LGBTQ+ inclusion in your wider sector.
- Staff feedback questionnaire. This is an anonymous questionnaire that employers share with their staff. It helps to generate the employer’s WEI score, but more importantly, it provides a deep understanding of employees’ experiences at work. It also helps us to map trends across sectors, regions, and nations.
How is the WEI marked?
The Workplace Equality Index is marked by experts in the field of LGBTQ+ workplace equality. All markers undergo extensive training to ensure that every organisation is marked to the same high standards.
Our Gold, Silver and Bronze awards mean that all entrants have a clear and fixed path of progress. But the WEI isn’t designed to be something you can ‘complete’ – no organisation gets full marks, and the average score for a Top 100 Employer this year was 57%.
This means that even if you’re just starting out on your inclusion journey, or if you know you can’t meet certain criteria, you could still score highly and be in the running for an award. It also means organisations are free to focus on the areas that matter most to them, rather than feeling they have to respond with the same level of detail in every section.
What kind of feedback do entrants receive?
The Index is designed as a developmental framework, meaning respondents are supported with in-depth feedback to build a robust, tailored action plan to improve their inclusion year by year.
If you’re a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, you’ll receive in-depth feedback on your submission and detailed insights from your employees. This includes:
- Written feedback on every section of your submission
- A thorough analysis report based on the responses to your staff questionnaire, which you can use to shape your next steps
- Information on how you compare to other employers in your nation, region and sector
- A two-hour benchmarking meeting with a Stonewall expert to discuss your results
What happens after marking is finished?
It’s time to celebrate! The 100 best-performing employers and award winners are championed publicly as leaders in LGBTQ+ inclusion. We share the news far and wide about our Top 100, and we encourage all entrants to the WEI get involved on Top 100 launch day to restate their commitment to LGBTQ+ equality to their employees, service users and communities.
Check out our Top 100 web hub to learn more about this year’s winning organisations, along with changemakers and network groups of the year.
How do I get involved?
Why not join us at the London Workplace Conference on Friday 25 March? Register for tickets here.
You can find out more about the many benefits to entering the WEI, along with key submission dates, at the WEI website hub.