article banner
Inclusion and diversity

“Getting it right”: starting a new job as a non-binary person

Not many of us know or understand what joining a new company is like as a non-binary person. Senior Content Strategist Polly Bull is here to tell us about their experience so far, why they chose Grant Thornton and the important moments that gave them a sense of belonging.

My new starter experience here as a non-binary person has been positive and inclusive. From respect for pronouns to open conversations about gender identity, my team and the wider organisation have been supportive and welcoming.

Before applying to Grant Thornton, I knew the company was inclusive of non-binary people. My previous employer had featured a couple of members of staff from the firm in an article for International Non-binary People’s Day and some other LGBTQIA+ content. I was impressed with how open Grant Thornton’s people could be about their gender identity and how normalised it seemed to be in the company. This endorsement, along with what everyone said about its wonderful culture, made me keen to apply once I decided it was time to move on to my next role.

I include my pronouns on my CV, so as soon as I was offered an interview with the firm, my contact in human resources asked me openly about them. She wanted to make sure the onboarding team would be referring to me correctly. I appreciated that this was brought up directly and I didn’t have to ‘come out’. Often the onus is on minorities to start conversations about who they are, rather than others feeling comfortable to raise it in a supportive manner, which is a much more normalising experience.

I really appreciated the dress code guidance when I started which said, “We operate a flexible, non-gender specific ‘dress for your diary’ policy…”. Stating ‘non-gender specific’ made it clear that the firm wants its people to feel comfortable being their authentic selves at work and not have to conform to outdated personal presentation standards.

“My manager brought up my pronouns before I did and said she wanted to “get it right” - that made me feel very supported and that I belonged”

I had a very positive interaction with my manager on the content team in one of our first meetings. She brought up my pronouns first and we had an open conversation about gender identity. She said she wanted to “get it right”, and that made me feel very supported and that I belonged. A close colleague and I had a similar conversation around this time and, again, there was nothing but openness, willingness to listen and understand, and acceptance. The team has been 100% supportive of me through these normalising conversations.

It's been wonderful to see that most people here include pronouns in their email signature. This is so important for inclusivity and promoting the idea that gender identity should never be assumed. It also encourages equity because it shows that of course we all have pronouns and, whatever those pronouns are, they should all be respected equally.

I’ve seen great conversations in our internal LGBTQIA+ networks and I’m keen to get more involved. Going through the interview process, I saw a story from a member of the LGBTQIA+ community in the company which mentioned their book group. I was impressed that, beyond an LGBTQIA+ employee network that’s expected in a big company, there was an established book group just for this network. This mention on our website encouraged me to accept the job.

At the first firmwide meeting I attended, I was impressed that I&D made up a large proportion of the presentation. It was great to see our CEO Dave Dunckley and I&D leaders highlighting the importance of inclusion and diversity for everyone in the firm. It was given as much of a spotlight as our financial targets. The event highlighted our trans inclusive policy and firm belief in trans rights. This was very important for me to hear at a time when trans rights have, unfortunately, come to be seen as ‘debatable’ in everyday society.  

I have had a truly inclusive and affirming experience starting here as a non-binary person. We have a work culture where people, in all their diversity, come first. I’d recommend Grant Thornton as an employer to anyone considering applying, regardless of gender identity. The company is working so hard to ‘get it right’, and that makes me feel happy and proud to be on board.