A lot has changed around the world over the past few years. Culturally, socially and economically, it can be argued that the “people’s voice” has never been louder. One thing is for sure, the importance of diversity, equality and inclusion isn’t going away. And neither is the power and productivity of recognising the full value of everyone on your team and within your business. So today, we’re going to talk about how to celebrate your LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace during Pride Month 2022, even if your workplace is remote.
What is Pride Month?
Around the world, June is recognized as LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual) Pride Month to honour a tipping point in history — the Stonewall Uprising, which lasted 6 days in Manhattan in the June of 1969 as police clashed with LGBTQ protesters. It’s important to say that the “first pride” wasn’t a celebration but a riot and it was born not out of joy and acceptance but out of struggle! The development of pride month means that today, even though there are many variations of the letters - you don’t have to fall into one of these categories to celebrate Pride. Pride can, and should, be celebrated by all, even if you identify as straight or aren’t sure how you identify at all!
In today’s society, Pride celebrations attract millions of participants each year as LGBTQIA+ communities and allies honour their identity through parades, workshops, parties, picnics, lectures, concerts, and more.
Why Celebrate Pride?
As already mentioned, Pride hasn’t always been a celebration, and even today the pressure and stereotypes still cast a shadow over those celebrating who they are. Which means sadly, some people still experience lack of support, belief and isolation based purely on a factor of who they are.
Regardless of your working arrangements, whether remote or onsite, it’s important to celebrate Pride to demonstrate your support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other queer (and questioning!) employees. It sends a crystal-clear message that your company cares about their wellbeing, supports their professional aspirations, and will take a firm stance against discrimination.
Here’s a few tips to embrace a diverse workforce, celebrate Pride and support your employees who are celebrating themselves!
First and foremost it’s important you educate yourself
Leading a business is never easy, especially a business who wants to retain and engage their employees, but, most of all, it’s important to care about and support ALL employees, no matter their background. Make sure you’ve versed yourself in the history and weight of Pride and the LGBTIQ+ rights movement.
Provide education and training for all
While inclusivity training and opportunities to discuss D,E&I at work can and should be offered throughout the year, Pride Month is a fantastic time to raise awareness and deliver educational sessions.
Create an open dialogue for those who need it
Did you know that half of LGBTQIA+ people have experienced depression and three in five have experienced anxiety? Struggles of identity impact people in various ways and sadly, no matter how many people celebrate people being true to themselves there are still individuals that don’t recognise Pride or the people that celebrate it.
Creating a workspace where ANYONE can ask for help or support is important as we never know the battles someone is facing. If your business provides a mental health support network to employees, make sure that they have easy access and understanding of where and how to get it.
Use your brands voice to celebrate pride
Changing language and showing representation and alliance for pride can be shown by simply updating your logo. This shouldn’t be just a tick box exercise - you should use your brand and reach to help educate your audience and to show support for the community.
It's a fantastic thing to raise money for LGBTQIA+ charities and many businesses with a CSR strategy, that want to support the LGBTQIA+ community, please consider nominating a charity to support.
If you’re a Nottingham based business - Base 51, who we had the pleasure of supporting over Christmas last year, hosts a programme called OUTBURST which is a safe space for LGBTQIA+ 11–19-year-olds, they offer counselling, advice and support.
Evaluate Your Discrimination & Diversity Policies
A successful workplace is a mixture of different experiences and identities across their people. Those who embrace and proactively set out to create a more diverse workforce get a variety of contributions and increased innovation across the business. To reduce the impact of implicit bias on your recruitment process, evaluate the success of your diversity initiative and improve where and as often as possible / necessary.
Despite the benefits of a diverse workplace, people from different backgrounds are often at a higher risk of discriminatory behaviour, whether intentional or not. Due to this, you must also have an efficient and strict discrimination policy in place, that protects your LGBTQIA+ staff. These changes may already be happening in your business, or they may be on the agenda for business change but it’s important we don’t only support and recognise a diverse workforce during a topical month – but all year round. Companies should strive to constantly be better, know more and speak louder about these issues so that one day soon, we can create not only a better working environment but a better world for all.