Why I’m excited about making change for our LGBTQ+ communities at Tesco.

Adam Jarvis (he/him/his)
Chair of the LGBTQ+ at Tesco colleague network, Stonewall Changemaker of the Year 2022

I really want to make sure that there is a place where any LGBTQ+ colleague can go and get support and know there are other people like us in the business.

This week saw Tesco named as a top 25 LGBTQ+ employer, achieving 23rd place on Stonewall’s coveted Top 100 Employers list for 2022. I’m so pleased for the LGBTQ+ at Tesco network and LGBTQ+ steering committee who have worked tirelessly to support LGBTQ+ colleagues across our business.

When we started the refresh of the network back in 2019, renaming it as LGBTQ+ at Tesco, we decided to start small. Our focus was on key events in the calendar, creating resources anyone can use, and building awareness of both the network and the communities we represent.

A real highlight for me was Pride in 2019, being able to march in London alongside 200 colleagues and our exec team was a fantastic feeling and made me feel like I’d found where I belong. I’d never been to a major Pride event before and was really nervous on the train into London, but as soon as I arrived at Great Portland Street Express, the atmosphere was amazing, and I made some amazing friends that day. Sadly, with COVID-19, events like this haven’t gone ahead for the last two years, but I’m really hoping that Pride is back with a bang this year and we have a chance to celebrate with colleagues across the country.

Being Chair of the LGBTQ+ at Tesco network is a role I take on in addition to my day job, and it is a real privilege to be able to lead the amazing team behind the network. It’s given me the opportunity to work with people I would never have met otherwise, and work on a range of diverse initiatives for a cause I’m so passionate about. I’ve been able to build a new strategy for the team, focusing on making Tesco a better place for LGBTQ+ colleagues, providing advice to teams across the business on how they can do more, and supporting amazing LGBTQ+ charities and community groups. I really love events like LGBTQ+ History Month and Pride Month, where we put on loads of events and talk about a range of topics – transitioning at work, the history of Pride, being queer and disabled, just to name a few – and seeing colleagues share their own experiences.

I am excited (and nervous, and very shocked) to have been named Changemaker of the Year by Stonewall, the UK’s largest LGBTQ+ charity. It’s still sinking in, and to be named alongside such amazing people (including one of my true inspirations Bobbi Pickard from bp) is incredible. I couldn’t do anything without the amazing team - a huge thank you to everyone involved in the network and D&I at Tesco!

I am over the moon that Tesco has been named as a top 25 LGBTQ+ employer, achieving 23rd place on Stonewall’s coveted Top 100 Employers list for 2022. This is a massive improvement where we’ve not made the list before (climbing 142 places from our 2020 ranking), and a testament to the incredible work being done across the business and how much progress has been made in the last two years. We know as a business we’re not perfect, but we strive to make little helps every day to make a big difference to our LGBTQ+ communities. We’ve achieved “gold” status, and we’re now ranked as the #1 retailer. With all the fantastic work going on across the industry, this is a tremendous accomplishment and I can’t wait to see even more change as we move forward.

On top of the ranking, LGBTQ+ at Tesco has been named Network Group of the Year for 2022 (after receiving Network Group of the Year from British LGBT Awards in 2021) and I honestly couldn’t be happier for the amazing team who work tirelessly, on top of their day jobs, to deliver some amazing events and initiatives for our colleagues across the country. I am honoured to lead the network and I couldn’t ask for a better team or support!

The LGBTQ+ network is in place to ensure everyone from all our LGBTQ+ communities thrives at Tesco and feels like they belong. We help to educate both colleagues and the wider business on how to make Tesco a truly inclusive place to work, by developing more self-aware, collaborative behaviours and understanding more about LGBTQ+ identities and issues. We have a truly amazing team of dedicated volunteers who are passionate about helping Tesco to become a place where everyone’s welcome. Over the last few years, we’ve been working on launching the Understanding LGBTQ+ Identities and Being a Good Ally guides, working behind the scenes with our People function to improve policies and training, adding pronouns onto name badges and helping develop a new gender-neutral uniform, as well as working on product development to create charity products and more inclusive ranges of greetings cards.

We’ve been on a journey with the network and LGBTQ+ inclusion over the last few years, and we’re just starting our next chapter. We want to continue to evolve our regular events, resources and activities, whilst also looking at new areas; weaving learning through everything we do, a focus on LGBTQ+ talent and progression, as well as refining our support for individuals and how we act as a consult and advisor to the wider business. We would love every colleague at Tesco to be an active ally, for every store across the Group to celebrate Pride, and have a range of products and advertising that represent, reflect, and cater towards our community. Tesco is the largest private employer in the country, and we therefore have an obligation, to both our LGBTQ+ colleagues and our customers, to make our society and stores a better place for everyone, using our scale for good and providing a voice to those who need it most.

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