Five Things to do in Pride Month
The month of June is celebrated across large swathes of the western world as Pride month. This is the month when the LGBTQ+ community comes together in memory of the struggles it has experienced – and continues to experience – in battling prejudice and discrimination. It’s a symbol of how far the movement has come that many organisations seek to extend solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in June, often demonstrated by the alteration of a logo or website to incorporate the Pride Rainbow. Yet sometimes this demonstrative, visual symbol of support fails to go any deeper. In those cases, organisations can be accused of “rainbow-washing” – and the backlash can be both public and severe. This is just another example of how authenticity is absolutely key for organisations wanting to improve their corporate ESG stance, which we have discussed before on this blog.
Research shows there is still a long way to go to achieve inclusion for the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace. Research carried out by McKinsey last year suggests that in particular LGBTQ+ women are significantly under-represented in the in the management pipeline, with a population of just 0.6% of LGBTQ+ women in Senior and C-Suite positions vs 5.1% in the population as a whole. Slightly less drastic but still telling, just 2.9% of the population of male Senior and C-Suite individuals identify as LGBTQ+ vs 3.9% of the population. 47% LGBTQ+ women report being the ‘only’ person of their orientation in their organisations – increasing to 66% for non-white LGBTQ+ women. In the UK, Gay and lesbian job seekers are 5% less likely to be offered a job interview than heterosexual applicants with comparable skills and experience.
So, by all means paint your logo in all the colours of the rainbow this pride month. But here are five practical things Leaders should be doing to further inclusivity in the workplace for their LGBTQ+ colleagues.
Develop a Clear Mission for Supporting LGBT in the Workplace
Communicate a clear mission to all your employees, including managers and senior staff, through strong leadership, education and diversity training about your inclusion policies and strategies for supporting LGBT employees. Leaders must be proactive – and loud – in promoting inclusivity to encourage employee’s confidence in policies. Set up an employee resource group for LGBTQ+ members of staff – or other marginalised groups – and ensure they have a way of escalating concerns and getting their voices heard.
Cast a critical eye over your policies, benefits, and paperwork
Take a moment to think about how inclusive your policies are. Would they confer the same effective benefits on individuals in same-sex partnerships? Take the area of maternity leave – do you have equivalent policies in place for adoption leave? Differences in allocation for parents based on gender could unfairly impact two men becoming parents vs two women. Are any other benefits you offer gender specific, and how do you decide who qualifies? Even checking your paperwork to offer people the opportunity to specify the pronouns they prefer to use or include gender neutral options (Mr/Ms/Mx) says a lot about the kind of workplace you want to be.
Review your recruitment practices
From the language used on job adverts and candidate briefs, to where you advertise and how flexible you are with interview times, its easy for a recruitment process to fall down on diversity. Take the time review your process and ask what it says about your organisation’s commitment to Inclusion. At Norman Broadbent we review job descriptions and candidate briefs for our clients to ensure they use gender neutral language, as well as a raft of other tools to promote equality and ensure all candidates are treated the same throughout the selection process, giving you the best chance to hire the best possible individual for the job. Fresh and experienced eyes often uncover unwitting and embarrassing mistakes.
Drawing up and implementing new processes is one thing, but ensuring they continue to deliver results is another. Check in on your processes and policies, take a step back and ask if they are still doing what they were designed to do. Do they still work for everyone, or do they need to be updated? Anonymous employee surveys can offer a chance to take the pulse of an office without putting anyone on the spot.
Encourage your teams to actively support your local LGBTQ+ community. Celebrate this within your organisation, encourage your team members to donate some of their (working) time to volunteer for a local charity or hold a fundraising day. Supporting local organisations is another key pillar of great ESG, rooting your organising within your community, so finding a local charity can be rewarding on multiple fronts.
For more information on fostering inclusivity in the workplace, or to have a confidential discussion about achieving your E,D&I goals, please contact Angela Hickmore via for email@example.com for an initial, confidential discussion.