Taking pride in working at RELX
We want RELX to be a great place to work, where our employees feel valued and have equal opportunities. And we need the engagement of people from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences to achieve real innovation for our customers.
Employee Resource Groups
Employee Resource Groups are one of several ways in which we are delivering this vision. In particular, momentum is building among our LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and Pride networks.
“There has been real momentum in the past few years with new LGBT+ chapters launching in Chennai, New York, London, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Berkeley, Alpharetta and Norwalk,” says Helen Sheppard, Corporate Responsibility Project Manager and D&I lead. “These new chapters sit proudly alongside those founded previously in Amsterdam, Philadelphia, Dayton, Manila and Iloilo.”
“Our Pride and LGBT+ Employee Resource Groups have a mission to raise awareness about relevant issues, to support and represent this community while fostering an inclusive and friendly atmosphere,” says Michiel Kolman at Elsevier in Amsterdam, and the founder of the Pride network at Elsevier.
“Companies that are LGBT-friendly are more innovative and creative, and therefore more successful. Employees are also happier so it’s good for retention, and let’s not forget that we have customers in this community too - with lots of buying power.”
“Elsevier has Pride chapters around the world,” he continues. “This reflects our global footprint, and the diversity of chapters operating in a range of different local cultures, each with different levels of LGBT+ acceptance in mainstream society.”
Matt Tudball at ICIS helped launch an LGBT+ forum for Risk & Business Analytics in London in 2017. “I had a call with Michiel at Elsevier before we launched which was really helpful,” says Matt. “The forum has been growing ever since and we launched the Straight Ally Pledge in 2018. Anyone can join, the forum is open to all employees whether they identify as LGBT+ or straight.
Matt was part of the team that successfully entered the business into the 2018 Pride in London parade for the first time. “London Pride showed such incredible support from RELX colleagues, as we marched together for the first time in London.”
The groups hold regular events ranging from the serious, such as workshops on how to be yourself at work or adoption for same sex couples, to the social, such as drinks nights, drag queen bingo and Pride parades.
“At our group in Manila we have a mix of people from RELX, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Elsevier and LexisNexis Legal & Professional,” says Jay Jaymalin at REPH. “We also have members from all levels and departments, and all our events are attended by non-LGBT+ people too. We need buy-in from the majority to make our initiatives a success.” Forums in the Philippines celebrate Pride with a full calendar of events.
Dian Sierra works at LexisNexis Legal & Professional, in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is President of LexisNexis Pride. “The Pride organisation started about 10 years ago,” says Dian. “We are co-located between our offices in Dayton, Ohio and here in Charlottesville.”
Each year LexisNexis takes part in both Dayton and Charlottesville Pride events. LexisNexis has sponsored Charlottesville pride since it was launched. “We get great recognition,” says Dian. “Lots of people who take part in the city’s Pride event are students at the University of Virginia. They attend because they have an interest in queerness. They see us at the Pride event and see that LexisNexis has a Pride network - the business’ support for the LGBT+ community is a real eye opener for them. Taking part in events like this is great for recruitment and attracting new customers.”
“At LexisNexis, people are accepted for who they are,” says Dian. “Before I was home-based, I had photos of my wife on my desk. We’ve been together for 26 years and married for six. We got married in Maryland, as it became legal there before it did here in Virginia.”
In 2017, Elsevier was approached by Workplace Pride, a not-for-profit dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT+ people in workplaces all over the world, to host a landmark event in India.
This event was the catalyst for the Chennai Pride chapter, which launched in August 2017. “We now have nine members, and over 100 supporters in the Chennai office,” says Lavanya Ashwin at Elsevier in India. “India is different from the Netherlands and the UK and culturally it can be hard. Our people are open to change though, and open to accepting diverse people. We want to provide an environment where people feel safe and comfortable with their own identity.”
In June 2018, Reed Exhibitions launched its new Proud Experiences event, the world’s first dedicated LGBT+ travel show. The international event was held in London.
“The idea was conceived during an internal training course,” says Alison Gilmore, Portfolio Director. “Teams were asked to think of a new show, and this was our idea. The event was absolutely buzzing and it was wonderful to see so much engagement."
Proud Experiences was so successful that the next show sold out three months in advance and takes place in June 2019 in New York. The show coincides with the official commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and the city’s hosting of WorldPride.
Our LGBT+ groups are also leading the way for our businesses to sign up to national and international indexes, and recognitions of equality.
"LexisNexis scored 95 out of 100 in Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index," says Dian. "This is a powerful achievement. The index is the US's national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices relevant to LGBT+ employees.”
In January 2018, RELX also became one of the latest members of the Open For Business coalition, a group of global companies making the case that inclusive, diverse societies are better for business and economic growth. The purpose of the coalition is to advance LGBT+ inclusion globally.
“We are making great strides in LGBT+ diversity and inclusion,” says Helen. “Open For Business is one way we demonstrate how seriously we take it. For example, our Elsevier business is championing marriage equality in Japan as part of our engagement in this initiative. We are also signatories to the UN LGBT Standards for Business and with so much momentum building around LGBT+ inclusion, we are proud to be celebrating Pride month across RELX.
"We want RELX to be a great place to work, where our employees feel valued, regardless of their gender, gender identity, national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age or disability status," says Gunjan Aggarwal, Chief Human Resources Officer, RELX. “Diversity & Inclusion are important to our future. We need the engagement of people from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and ideas to achieve real innovation for our customers around the world.”
“The culture at our company has always felt positive and welcoming,” finishes Michiel. “But it’s good to have it reinforced. Let’s celebrate our diversity and it can only get even better.”
Find out more about D&I and how we are advancing at RELX.