Inclusion in the workplace - this is how Vodacom is leading the way
Breaking down the stigmas that are still attached to LGBTQIA+ is all about creating a culture of diversity and acceptance.
Vodacom given Gold tier status by the South African Workplace Equality Index 2021
The South African Workplace Equality Index 2021 (SAWEI) released its results and revealed that Vodacom was ranked gold, indicating that it is a leading South African business driving the message of inclusion for all in word and deed.
When assessing a business, SAWEI considers the current policies in place in the business that are created to protect and support people from the LGBTQIA+ community.
Are there support mechanisms offered by the business? One example of this being displayed in Vodacom, was when Martha Lamola, a Managing Executive for Finance Business Par Technology at Vodacom got to attend a LGBTQIA+ ally course with Vodafone in London. This is what she had to say about the course, "The key take out for me was to be aware of unconscious biases, take a stand, take action and enable the environment. Inclusion is not complete until everyone is included.". Read more here.
In addition to this, these are some of the ways Vodacom shows support to the LGBTQIA+ community:
- Gender neutral bathrooms on campus.
- Gender neutral language on things like payslips i.e. not using Mr or Mrs but just using a person’s name.
- Community involvement (laptop donation to an LGBTQIA+ organisation, a webinar hosted about the intersectionality of LGBTQIA+ and disability, the Twitter Spaces where Vodacom host was a trans woman and the chief of human resources joined and discussed LGBTQIA+ matters).
- Ongoing social media presence representing LGBTQIA+ people in adverts for Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, IDAHOT etc.
- E-mail signatures that allow LGBTQIA+ people and allies to use the Vodacom LGBTQIA+ brand as well as state their pronouns for ease of communication.
- Parental leave policy that offers equal leave and pay for paternal/maternal staff regardless of sexuality or whether they are a birthing person.
- Extensive training courses for LGBTQIA+ and allies around gender, sexuality, travel awareness and safety.
- The SAWEI criteria also considers processes, and Vodacom has a visible member of staff dedicated to raising issues of diversity and actively leads in bringing solutions to LGBTQIA+ challenges.
As the Executive Sponsor of Vodacom's LGBTQIA+ Community, Chief Officer: Vodacom Consumer Business Unit Jorge Mendes is responsible for fostering a working culture that allows for an inclusive environment. Watch the video below to find out how Vodacom is embracing LGBTQIA+.
Working at Vodacom
Eleni Kwinana, a Vodacom Executive Head of Department for Enterprise in Kwa-Zulu Natal, shares about her experience working at Vodacom as a lesbian, "I have been able to grow to an executive level, my voice is heard and the LGBTQIA+ network form is a great safe space that is created for us to learn how to be inclusive and share challenges and solution thereof if required. We also, as employees of Vodacom have multiple support structures if we require them through the HR and wellness initiatives." Read more here.
Kally Mabe, a Cyber Security Specialist (CSO) in the Secure-by-Design team at Vodacom, speaks about the importance of Transgender Day of Visiblity - a day dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide. Read more here.