University of Warwick – Managers as LGBTQ Allies – May 2020

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The University of Warwick has a very comprehensive LGBTQ programme for staff and students and details can be found here.

Their LGBTQUA+ Allies scheme was one of the very first to be set up at a UK university. As a former member of staff, I was delighted to be invited back to provide consultancy and training to support their review and roll-out of the newly-named Rainbow Allies scheme, specifically discussions with their Rainbow Taskforce advisory group and running a training event for managers.


Managers as Allies workshop:

May is a busy time in a normal year, let alone now, so huge respect to those 45 managers across academic and professional services who attended the 2 hour workshop I ran recently. I do miss the interactivity of my workshops, teaching and training, but the engagement by participants in that next best thing, break-out rooms, was most impressive! The key topics were:

  • There might be more legal protection, but attitudes and organisational behaviours lag behind
  • An overview of research and surveys detailing the challenges for LGBTQ staff and students in the workplace and the specific obstacles when working and studying at university
  • A summary of key issues such as: coming out, minority stress and the need to juggle one’s different identities
  • The role of Allies in supporting LGBTQ colleagues visibly and proactively
  • The role of managers in setting the tone from the start of the employee and student lifecycle (the moment they first encounter the university)  through recruitment, interview, induction, development and promotion to their exit and role as an ambassador and alumni.
  • How being an effective Ally is probably more about being proactive rather than reactive to ‘problems’
  • Discussing and devising an action-plan as to exactly and practically what one can do as a manager to enable your teams to thrive and be the best they can be.