Written by Lewis Harvey, Health Adviser, Bupa Health and Dental Centre Chancery Lane
As a member of the LGBT+ community I am immensely proud of the achievements of the Pride movement within the Western society over the past 50 years. I am also lucky to work for an organisation that actively promotes an inclusive and diverse workplace, with our very own Bupa UK CEO David Hynam recently honoured as one of the top 10 Global leaders in the Financial Times’ LGBT+ Executives List. This week, I was delighted to have the opportunity to catch up with David to ask him what Pride means to him and how Bupa promotes and celebrates diversity.
What David Hynam had to say...
What does Pride mean to you?
#PrideMatters to me because it’s an important celebration of diversity. It also matters because whilst equal rights for LGBT+ people have come a long way, there’s still work to do. We also live in a world where in some countries people face inequality or even execution because of who they are – Pride is an important part of standing up to hate and discrimination.
Why do you think it is important that we have role models within the LGBT+ community?
As a leader, it’s important to lead by example. I bring my whole self to work and the people I lead should feel they can too. It really matters to me that we create an environment where everyone knows they can be themselves and fulfil their ambitions no matter who they are.
What has been your personal experience of diversity in the workplace?
Throughout my career I’ve been lucky to be supported by strong leaders who’ve created an honest and open working culture. But not everyone has it as easy. A study from Stonewall shows that a quarter of LGBT+ people aren’t out to colleagues and the Human Rights Campaign found that over sixty percent of recent LGBT graduates stop being open when starting their first job. At a personal level this is disheartening, but from a business point of view, it just doesn’t make sense. We know that people perform better when they can be themselves at work and that an open working environment can improve loyalty and retention.
Why is it important to promote diversity in the workplace?
At Bupa we welcome people from all backgrounds and aim to be as diverse as the customers, patients and residents we serve. The importance of diversity is written into our Bupa Code and, of course, one of our values is all about being open.
Everyone who knows me will tell you that I'm personally really passionate about Bupa being an employer that promotes diversity and inclusion, attracting and retaining employees from all backgrounds. Inclusive, diverse, welcoming teams are not only positive – but essential.
What is Bupa doing as a company to help promote diversity within the workplace?
I’m very proud of our brilliant employee network, DiverCity, which helps create a supportive work environment and delighted that we’ve expanded our support for Pride. This has meant that hundreds of our people have been able to get involved in Pride events in Coventry, London, Manchester and Brighton taking place this year. We actually sponsored Coventry Pride and it was great to feature in material alongside other LGBT+ colleagues, talking about how Bupa is supportive of its employees.
Of course we must never be complacent when it comes to diversity – that’s why earlier this year we strengthened our commitment to diversity and inclusion by joining the leading inclusion network, INvolve. Their OUTstanding network works to improve LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace, EMpower focuses on improving inclusion for ethnic minorities and HERoes drives gender equality in business. Diversity and inclusion is also a core part of our ‘Bupa Cares’ corporate responsibility initiative and this year we’ve had a big focus on making sure we raise awareness and understanding of why inclusion matters. Our People team is also working on our employee lifecycle being inclusive by design so we attract, recruit, develop, promote and retain people from all backgrounds.
What are the benefits of diversity in the workplace?
We all know we perform better at work when we can just be ourselves so I firmly believe that we not only need to be diverse, we also need to be consciously inclusive. I’m looking forward to a session we’re running with our UK leadership team on 11 July where we’ll focus on this and hear from some of our people about how our leaders can best support them. I’m encouraging all of our leaders to set the right tone, to be role models and fully accountable for the environments we create. As the saying goes, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance”. Bupa is at the party – and I want to make sure we ask everyone to dance.