Coming out in the workplace

Stonewall suggest that workplaces should have a policy to cover the  eventuality  of someone in your  workforce transitioning  while in post.

I can see why they feel that...  I'm not so sure however,   I do think that there needs to be a  guidance in place
 and if nothing else a toolkit  for  Managers,  HR professionals  and  the individual themselves to use to manage  transition in the workplace. 

As i said in my Hello World! post I work for a large   and well known  tech retailer, whose current  aim is to help everyone enjoy amazing technology... Across that business there is  nearly  every setting  imaginable from bijou little high st stores with a few staff, through large superstores and modest local  distribution/ home delivery bases with tens to hundreds of staff and a handful of large sites with hundreds to thousands members of staff ...  This means  that a 'one size fits all' policy  can't be used ...   Yes from a  HR management point of view it's one size fits all  as the processes are harmonised across the entire business and the components  that have agglomerated over the years to form the current group.

but in practice  how you handle  the transition of a staff  member in a store is going to be different to one of the massive corporate sites ...

My work transition time line is relatively short, mid October 2017 i contacted by  Union's Full Time Officers and we met  and I made a disclosure  to them of my  trans status and my intention to transition,  we then  organised a meeting with my general manager and  the relevant HRBP  -  in terms of legal protections  under the  Equality Act  at this point  they are definitely in place  even though we were still 3 months from 'that boy's desk  going  from  the department and being replaced by Nicola Jayne's desk ...

So we set a time line, and said mid to late January  for my  social transition at work, this time of year is the nadir of  the  lifecycle of retail logistics,  so it's when we  use very few if any agency staff  - generally those  who are still here  are those who are backfilling substantive vacancies and  often will  which makes the communication strategy  easier.

Due to the nature and number of briefings and the difficulties in me being able to present as me to deliver the briefing and then
 return to being 'that boy', we decided that  I would be an equal participant in writing the brief but that it would be delivered by my GM and the GM of the other department that shared our  bit of the site,  we decided that a short   briefing would be delivered and the priority of delivery  was to be 

  • Management teams - a number of weeks in advance  of my  transition and then sworn to secrecy  - security  managers as well.
  • The staff in my own (sub)department - the people who see me and interact with me 4 or 5  days a week week in week out  and  then security  staff 
  • The staff  in our sister (sub)department...  and union reps  across site  (brief delivered by the convenor in a rep meeting after sitting in on both the drafting and the initial delivery of the briefs by the GMs) 
  • The staff in the other department that shares  our part of the site... 

The briefings had an agreed content  and one of the key messages in the briefing  was "We are telling you this because you  are here now, you knew 'that boy' and now you'll know Nicola Jayne , anyone who comes to join us after this  only needs to know Nicola."

The briefing also included a reminder on the Equality Act and the company's Equality and Diversity policy,   there were sign in sheets and sign offs that people had a recieved an up to date copy of the Equality and Diversity policy.

the HR stuff is pretty  straightforward, you need to see what the best way to change the records and secure  stuff in 'that boy's' name, bearign in mind that outing someone can fall foul of the Equality act and once someone has a GRC is a specific offence

IT wise  as there was little of consequence attached to my old accounts, that had to be moved over - historical records of  stock i had processed  were exactly that ) we had new ones created.

new  name badge/ access pass created  and then  that was that ...

D-Day dawns.

some more resources


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