We strive to raise awareness of DEI through the stories of our people. With four pre-existing, self-started internal networks, our approach is to amplify the voices of our people and help enrich understanding across the company. The groups – covering different ethnicities, disabilities, sexuality, and gender – provide a platform for our people to associate with, or learn from as an ally, in support of their colleagues. Whilst each network has an executive sponsor to drive corporate policy change, they’re led and represented by ambassadors from across the airline who can educate others and celebrate their differences.
Society often makes us worry about offending others by using the wrong term or asking the wrong question, but by building a culture where an ambassador can teach others or an ally can be inquisitive of a person’s difference, whatever that may be, we hope to break these barriers. Our people are encouraged to respectfully question their preconceived ideas, even if uncomfortable at times, in order to learn from one another and appreciate an alternative perspective.
Starting 2021 with a commitment to drive change
Being held accountable to our belonging manifesto is key. To cultivate an environment of conscious inclusion – encouraging curiosity about individual differences and taking a collective responsibility – we’ve made two big commitments to drive change.
In signing the Race at Work Charter, we stand against structural and systemic bias, racism, and discrimination in all of its forms. We commit to building a culturally diverse and inclusive workplace that values our people for their talents, abilities, and unique differences they each bring to Virgin Atlantic.
We’re focused on continuing to find ways to better support people with disabilities. Last year, we were the first airline to introduce an award-winning Hidden Disabilities Scheme. And now, by signing The Valuable 500 pledge, we’re ensuring that disability inclusion is firmly built into the key touchpoints of our people journey.
These commitments are the start of an action plan to drive positive change within our company where everyone feels comfortable expressing ideas, sharing experiences and contributing to a group where they know their input is valued.
Systematic change is progressive and takes time