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Thoughtworks Stonewall Insight 2020

The Stonewall Top 100 List is created by lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) equality charity Stonewall. The Top 100 is compiled from submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, a powerful benchmarking tool widely used by employers to assess their achievements on LGBT equality in the workplace. Why is this so significant? Simply put - at Thoughtworks UK we have committed to our Thoughtworker community being truly representative of the society we serve. The global tech sector has been late coming to the party on diversity and inclusivity, yet at Thoughtworks we are committed to this every day, but sometimes the results of our intentions don't always translate into positive change or improvement. 

In 2015 our ranking in Stonewall Workplace Equality Index was 314th place, a somewhat credible position, considering there are hundreds of companies participating in the assessment. Yet somehow that just didn’t feel good enough, nor reflective of the efforts of our LGBTQ+ community and their allies, or what Thoughtworkers were telling us about being proud of our inclusive environment. We had to take a long, very long and hard look at ourselves and consider, really how truly inclusive were we? That hurts.  

We soon realised that if we were to make real change and support all Thoughtworkers to bring their true self to work, we had to make what we thought was good, better. And better for everyone. We also realised that building a truly inclusive environment wasn’t the sole responsibility of the our LGBTQ+ community, it was all of our responsibility, and that meant everyone. By listening to the experiences of our LGBTQ+ colleagues and understanding best practice (and policies) when it comes to inclusion, we have made real, measurable changes to our business, creating a safe inclusive space for all.     

In 2019 Thoughtworks UK broke into Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers list for the first time, at 91st place, this year (2020) we achieved 53rd place ranking! This is a huge achievement, a collective effort from Thoughtworkers, community organisations and other allies across the globe. Today we celebrate improving our ranking from 314th to 53rd place within 5 years. 

What have I learned in those 5 years? I have learned that talking a good story is not the same as making it happen, it is true that actions speak louder than words. If we hadn’t set ourselves audacious annual goals and taken action to achieve them, we’d remain at 314th place and that would have been a travesty. At Thoughtworks we always seek continuous improvement and that should be in everything we do. 

I have also learned the true spirit of collaboration and how a collective can make a difference, however small, it matters. I’ve learned too, that pushing an all inclusive agenda makes some people feel uncomfortable. Privilege when threatened can manifest in many ways, I have seen this. As UK Managing Director it is my job to help people get comfortable, able to accept change and be open to the new norm. I believe it's important that I maintain my resolve and commitment to true inclusion for all, on that I am resolute. It is my personal promise. 
Diversity is the mix and Inclusion is the magic!  

Thank you to everyone who plays such an important part in making Thoughtworks such an awesome place to work, grow, learn and practice our crafts. It is a safe place of special belonging and will, I am sure we will be the blueprint other companies will look to for inspiration. It is part of our WHY and our mission. Let’s keep welcoming ALL folks into our home.

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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