Claire Ross

Joined in: 2018

Job title: Head of Culture 

Pride Month commemorates the ongoing pursuit of equal justice for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community and celebrates the accomplishments of LGBTQ individuals. Claire Ross, Head of Culture at Advanced, talks about what Pride means to us and our values.

Does pride month cause us to act in a different way? Yes and no.

Fundamentally – no, it doesn’t. At Advanced being the difference, and inclusivity is the core of all we do; from our hiring practices such as reducing bias with scrapping CVs to our established inclusion networks such as Team Rainbow. Our behaviours through the year seek to drive an equitable experience for all. Our recent shift to People Experience from Human Resources was a decision solely focussed on making our employees experience the best it can be - and this is only possible if that experience is inclusive, and we continue to learn & grow along with our people.

One of our Advanced Values is “Different Together”, and this showcases the behaviour we see within the business encouraging all our colleagues to work in a way which celebrates our differences and the special magic that comes from us investigating, discussing and collaborating with others who aren’t just like us.

Last year, and again this Pride Month, we provided rainbow lanyards to all our colleagues who wanted one. Whilst this may seem like a superficial step, this makes a significant impact to our LGBTQ+ community; helping them to feel supported by allies within the organisation and supporting them in feeling comfortable to bring their full selves to work and reach their full potential. I’m personally really proud every time I see a colleague wearing their rainbow lanyard, marking their, and our, commitment to continually celebrate, educate and advocate for communities who have not always had their voices heard.

We are also about to publish our second Diversity Pay Gap Report. It is a legal requirement for organisations to publish their gender pay gap report, but we go far beyond this to do what is right for all of our people and diverse communities, including our LGBTQ+ community.

Before the full report is published, here is Team Rainbow’s comments from their perspective:

“The pay gap increasing is disappointing, but not wholly unexpected. The increase in proportion of our employees showing confidence by declaring their sexual orientation is extremely positive. It proves that the work that Advanced and Team Rainbow are doing is instilling confidence in our employees. Going forward - the goals for the year ahead are to make strides on closing the gap, improve further the proportion of people disclosing their sexual orientation, and to outwardly demonstrate our support for the LGBTQ+ community.”

So - back to the question ‘Does pride month cause us to act in a different way?’ Yes - absolutely it does. It highlights the important journey which started with the Stonewall riots, and for us its an ongoing discussion of what don’t we know and what we can do better. We take the time each June to remind ourselves of the history of Pride, the importance of civil rights for all and can help to bring a fresh focus to our existing language, processes and company guides.

In a role focused on the culture of Advanced, I feel I have a responsibility as an ally to cast a critical eye on said culture and the components that make up the people experience for our colleagues. One simple step we’re taking this June is to share the ways our Different Together value applies to our employee facing policies.

We believe that at Advanced, no matter who you are, where you’re from, how you think or who you love, you have an equal opportunity to thrive. We value diversity, nurture inclusion, and promote understanding and its only right our employees are reassured of this through every step of their experience with us.