I recently spoke with a new starter, Toni Potter, who is an active part of OUTfront our LGBT Network, about her experience joining Capgemini as a member of the LGBT community.
I joined Capgemini on the graduate scheme in July 2016. As a graduate intake, and as individuals, we were instantly made to feel welcome by the GAP (Graduate Apprentice and Placement programme) team. Induction consisted of a mixture of learning, team building and fun, and was used to get us all talking and introduce us to the business, its background and even a bit of its future. There were also evening activities to allow us all to get to know each other and relax.
When I then moved into my business unit and met the team I would be working with, I was just as warmly welcomed and made to feel at ease. No different to anyone else joining the company.
However, as a member of the LGBT community, I was very aware of the fact that I would have to “come out” so to speak, to my new work colleagues. I am a very open person, and don’t see my sexuality as something I have to share with people I meet; this isn’t to say I hide it, it’s just not important. I am me, and my sexuality doesn’t change or define that. When meeting new people, especially in the workplace, conversations often turn to home life; what you might do for a hobby, what you did on the weekend etc. When discussing my home life, I would refer to my “partner”, something I would do irrespective of gender, and so, when people then ask “What does he do for a living?”, the short awaited “coming out” would arise, in my corrective response, “she”….
In my time at Capgemini I have experienced no discrimination or direct homophobia, whatsoever. Everyone has been more than welcoming and upon learning I am a member of the LGBT community, nothing has changed – no one has really even noticed or pointed it out as “different”, it just is and that is a great feeling to have in a place you spend most of your time!
Soon after joining Capgemini and settled in, I found OUTFront, the Capgemini LGBT initiative.
So far in my time with OUTFront, I have been welcomed as part of the initiative and trusted with being part of an upcoming Capgemini + client LGBT event. My ideas for the event have been welcomed, and I am constantly encouraged to share opinions and ideas and get involved. I think it is great that we have an LGBT initiative at Capgemini, however the ultimate goal would obviously be not to need one.
With that said, what I hope to see at the upcoming LGBT event is the raising of awareness. I have found that a huge amount of people have never actually heard the expression “LGBT” and don’t know what it stands for – so how can people be actively inclusive if they have no knowledge?
In all, I think Capgemini is a wholeheartedly inclusive company that takes pride in employing a vastly diverse group of people, all of which makes it a very comfortable place to work for those who may be members of minority groups. I would suggest that a little push is needed to raise awareness of the LGBT community at Capgemini and of OUTFront, as well as some commitment from non-LGBT members to support the OUTFront initiative and attend such events.
For more information about OUTfront: LGBT@Capgemini go to https://www.uk.capgemini.com/outfront-our-capgemini-uk-lgbt-employee-network