We should never underestimate the power of progress, from the legislative and legal wins that have afforded LGBTQ+ peoples protections and equality to a powerfully visible and diverse growing media landscape. Of course, Pride means different things amongst LGBTQ+ people, whether they believe it should be a celebration, or a protest, it doesn`t go`far enough` or sometimes it goes `too far` So how businesses celebrate Pride is unique to them⋅⋅⋅ or is it?
Many workplaces, particularly across the creative industries are striving to become more open and diverse environments for LGBTQ+ folk to work in. Nevertheless, findings and research from organisations in the UK and the US reveal forms of insidious and overt discrimination that still take place.
Clearly, work still needs to be done to imbed diversity and inclusion authentically and sustainably for LGBTQ+ people into the workplace, and Pride is a fantastic opportunity to champion achievements and staff.
However⋅⋅⋅ and we don`t want to dampen the jubilations of this celebratory month. but we think there`s a problem when the intentions and focus of Pride Month are contained solely to the month of June. Increasingly LGBTQ+ people and the public are becoming aware of `pinkwashing` which refers to the marketisation and co-opting of appearing LGBTQ+ friendly.
The public and employees, whether they`re LGBTQ+ or not are expecting more than gestures.
At The Small HR Company, we believe diversity is a strength, and companies should make a consistent and authentic commitment to inclusivity all year round. That also means considering a host of other influencing factors, including seniority, leadership, contracts, age, training, race and ethnicity.
We believe a foundation of truly holistic, purposeful and progressive HR is the key to achieving authentic D&I. More than that, we think it`s a powerful tool to assess how cohesive your workforce really is. Let`s show you how.
For an LGBTQ+ employee, when for one month their workplace is adorned with rainbow flags whilst they continue to hear homophobic `banter` during their lunch, or they are in the process of transitioning and not receiving the reasonable adjustments they require from management, Pride Month can quickly become a hollow gesture.
Equally, an LGBTQ+ employee might feel expected to get involved in organising certain events or speaking on behalf of their company, and simply not feel comfortable doing so. For companies across the creative industries, PR is a big deal, and when bad PR affects your workforce, it`s up to HR to address it. Disney recently faced this very problem.
Clearly, from an HR perspective, you can quickly see the potential limitations and pitfalls that can come with celebrating Pride Month without a long-term strategy for D&I.
Diversity and inclusion, therefore, is about more than just filling quotas. You need to consider practices such as: conflict resolution, if and when it appears; effective communications across your workforce; how you can accommodate for adjustments and needs; how you follow-through on a zero tolerance stance towards bullying and discrimination; how you fulfil the requirements of the 2010 Equality Act.
For creative companies employing a team to work on an intense production project, or who need to hire a short-term freelancer, or who work in a field with a reputation for discrimination such as the video games industry, these D&I requirements present unique challenges.
More than that, summertime is an occasion when many young people and interns enter the workforce. How are you setting an example for them? How do management and leadership ensure they`re working in a comfortable environment when they may already have heightened anxiety? Could Pride Month be a painful occasion for someone coming to terms with their identity and sexuality?
By now, you should see why putting a rainbow flag in the office might not suffice. As we mentioned in our intro, Small HR believe that D&I can be a legitimately useful tool for your business. That`s because, fundamentally, knowing your team, their needs, strengths and weaknesses should be at the core of your HR.
That means that when Pride comes along, you know how to authentically celebrate. Here are some tips and questions to get you started:
GO BACK TO BASICS
At the end of the day, your team is there to work and be remunerated for their efforts. It could be quite irksome when basics aren`t in place whilst festivities are being organised. So, can employees access payroll? Do they get proper breaks? Are they contracted and compensated correctly?
ARE THERE EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION CHANNELS?
Can employees openly and honestly speak with their management and leadership team? Are there channels in place for anonymous or confidential communications? How are different levels of management communicating with one another and responding to grievances?
WHAT IS THE WORKPLACE CULTURE?
If you were to ask your team the principles, ethos and culture underlining your organisation, could they give a coherent response? Deciding on the principles of your organisation gives you the opportunity to affirm the experiences of everyone in your organisation. A principle such as `learning from our mistakes` or `learning from one another` could facilitate the kind of discussions and change LGBTQ+ employees are looking for.
ARE YOU READY TO ADDRESS CONFLICTS?
Whether you manage a diverse or more homogenous workforce, when and if an incident occurs (such as a team member referring to a colleague with the incorrect pronouns) do you have systems in place to tackle this situation? Is your workforce conscious of the language they use and its implications, and is there a way you can provide better training, so they are better educated?
KNOW YOUR TEAM 3 CLICKS IN
If you truly know your team, on an individual and collective level, you can make more informed decisions about how your company or team choose to celebrate Pride Month. That`s why we think you should know them 3 clicks in. That means you know at least three things about your team member and not just their name and maybe where they live. `3 clicks in` helps you to easily and quickly engage them in conversation and about their work and life aspirations; it also allows you to identify how their behaviour is affecting their decisions. Check out our blog on The Power of Thank You for more info.
BUILD A PLACE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY
Mental health issues are disproportionately common amongst the LGBTQ+ population, which is why mental health is essential for any D&I initiatives. However, we think there are limitations to how companies address mental health in the workplace. That`s why we`d recommend Psychological Safety as an alternative framework.
Progress isn`t necessarily linear. You can make strides forward and hit one stumbling block that throws into question everything you`ve worked on. At The Small HR Company, we want to empower creative companies to make informed, data-driven and sustainable choices, so they can become an organisation that truly values and champions their diverse team.
Change doesn`t happen overnight, but we can equip you with the tools you need to commit to an inclusive future. Ultimately, we want to create great places to work, and our services and learning and development programmes are designed to give teams bespoke and interactive modern HR solutions that can do just that.
We take a holistic approach to our client`s businesses, which means understanding their goals and objectives and the methods they can employ to achieve them; whether that`s enhanced training, a culture and structural transformation or better communication tools.
Ready to commit to Pride all year round? Contact us today and book your free consultation.