#RainbowLanyard campaign recognised for inspirational staff engagement and communication

Professor Gill Valentine wearing her #rainbowlanyard

Our #RainbowLanyard campaign to actively engage LGBT+ allies has won the HR Excellence Award for the Most Effective Use of Internal Communications.

Colleagues from our University were presented with the award at a ceremony in London last week after the #RainbowLanyard campaign was acknowledged as an innovative communications approach that has had a tangible, positive and sustainable impact on our organisation. It also recognised how the campaign has encouraged departments and individuals to develop and incorporate LGBT+ inclusive activities into their own working practices.

Colleagues shared their stories across social media about why they were proud to wear the lanyard and support LGBT+ staff and students. A creative array of rainbow visuals also appeared across campus on posters, flags and coffee cups to share the message that our University is committed to working towards LGBT+ inclusion.

The Rainbow Lanyard campaign has helped to raise awareness further of the University's LGBT+ allies programme, Open@TUOS which launched in 2016. This forms part of the University’s wider approach to progressing LGBT+ inclusion and the ethos that creating an LGBT+ inclusive university is everybody’s responsibility.

Co-founded by the LGBT+ Staff Network Chair, our allies programme differs from other straight allies initiatives. It is open to, and championed by, LGBT+ staff who can be allies to other identities that differ to their own.

Matt Mears, Chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network, said:

“The opportunity to be myself at work is so important and has allowed me to concentrate on my job without the worry of not knowing how being out might impact my career or my everyday experience. Seeing so many colleagues wearing their support as a rainbow lanyard tells me daily that LGBT+ equality is not just a policy somewhere but is in the minds of many individuals around me.”

The judges were impressed by the University of Sheffield's “imaginative use of internal communications, and recognised that the university are doing something completely new for a cause that should be at the top of every organisation's agenda."

The award is a fitting testament to the passion,commitment and collegiality of our staff in relation to the importance of creating an LGBT+ inclusive environment, where staff and students are supported to bring their whole self to work and be comfortable to be open about their identity.

See the full list of winners here

How can you support LGBT+ inclusion?

You can demonstrate your advocacy to LGBT+ inclusion in a variety of ways:

Join Open@TUoS

Join Open@TUOS - colleagues sign up to become a supporter and receive a welcome pack containing visible signs of support including a rainbow lanyard, badges and business cards along with guidance on how to be an active ally.

Staff can also access e-learning modules on Mole, covering different aspects of equality and diversity including Sexual Orientation, Transgender Awareness and Understanding Bias. Forthcoming online training is currently being developed for Open@TUOS allies and new Trans Awareness training sessions will be available to attend in the new academic year.

In addition, staff can attend and promote LGBT+ related events and learn about issues that affect LGBT+ colleagues and students.

Come along to our LGBT+ Staff Network and Open@TUOS Allies dual-workshop

This event is now fully subscribed - please email hrequality@sheffield.ac.uk to register your interest in future events.

As part of our ongoing LGBT+ inclusion work and to coincide with and mark the importance of Pride, the LGBT+ Staff Network and Open@TUOS Allies are hosting a workshop to focus on two issues: mental health and bullying and harassment.

This event will enhance your knowledge of LGBT+ related issues and how to address them, and provide guidance on how to be more inclusive in your role and a more active ally to LGBT+ colleagues and students.

Over lunch, there will be opportunity to network and meet some of our LGBT+ staff network, HR ED&I and Health & Wellbeing teams.

Delivered by Stonewall, the relaxed and interactive workshops are open to all staff regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. They are particularly relevant to student-facing staff including front-line staff, personal tutors, line managers, Faculty ED&I committee members, and anyone interested in becoming a more active LGBT+ ally as well as anyone with an interest in mental health or a health and wellbeing related role.

Our University has been named as a top 100 employer for lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff for five years running by Stonewall and earlier this year, we moved up 64 places to achieve our highest ever ranking of 24th