INSIGHTS

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A very happy Pride Month to all our clients, partners and colleagues!

It’s been joyous seeing all the colourful rainbow flags on my social feed and in the shop windows around town…but it also got me thinking. How much of our corporate culture has become tokenistic rainbow-washing vs authentic support? And how can senior leaders make sure they tread that delicate line between genuine celebration and a hollow PR moment? 

Turning ignorance into empowermentThere’s no two ways around it – pride is a protest. Despite all the glitter-filled celebrations, this month exists because the workplace is still not a safe space for queer employees. 41% of LGBTQ+ employees have faced discrimination in the workplace and in the UK only half of these workers are comfortable being out about their sexual orientation with colleagues at work, according to a new research from Deloitte. A staggering 70% of transgender respondents faced some form of workplace discrimination or harassment.

Many leaders recognise the problem but don’t always know the solution. So below are three easy steps to meaningfully support your LGBTQ+ employees and make them feel heard.

Share your pronounsIf you’ve never had to worry about the pronoun someone uses to refer to you, this step might seem unnecessary, maybe even obvious. But stepping into someone else’s shoes for a second and you can see that for employees who are questioning their gender, having someone misgender may feel alienating and disrespectful.

Your talent is the most valuable asset in your company, so making your team feel seen and comfortable will be a win-win for them and for your bottom line. You might be surprised when talking to your team that they might not identify with the gender and pronouns you thought they would.

A good first step is to start with an icebreaker as part of your onboarding: “Tell us your name, your role and your preferred pronouns.” Or lead the way by including your pronouns in your email signature and LinkedIn profile, and asking the entire company to do the same. This might feel trivial, but to someone questioning their gender your actions can be affirming and sometimes even life-changing.

Diversify your job descriptions and job adsShowcase your commitment to diversity and inclusion in your marketing. Again, this might seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many senior leaders miss this step.

Do you have a statement on your careers page and in your job descriptions, highlighting that you’re an equal opportunities employer? Do you have photos of your team on your website that showcases your diverse hiring – in terms of gender parity, ability, queer representation, ethnicity? Do you share personal stories of your employees (with their permission of course!) that demonstrate your values as a company?

These are small, manageable steps that certainly don’t break the bank, but make a world of a difference to what kind of talent you attract to your organisation.

Become an advocate for changeIs your company doing a team activity like running a 5K or doing a company Tough Mudder?

Perhaps as a leader, you could suggest that donations go towards LGBTQ+ supporting charities, and match all donations. This not only creates a stronger company spirit rooted in shared values, but also raises money for a good cause.

With the influx of Gen Z and under into the workforce (who are increasingly selective when it comes to companies that honour diversity and inclusion), it’s the senior leaders who create an inclusive company culture that will ultimately attract the strongest talent.

So how can you tread that delicate line between a PR moment and genuine support? By implementing small but powerful changes, not just during Pride month but across the year, prioritising action not empty words.

If you need a hand reviewing your framework for diversity and inclusion in your business,  drop us a line via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or give us a call on 0203 6277048. 

Don’t want to speak to anyone but would like to read more? Read my book The MAGIC of HR.