It’s officially Pride Month and that means a lot of rainbow themes are being rolled out in marketing across the corporate world. Companies rush to re-colorise their logos to publicly show their support for LGBTQ+ employees. Although it may have seemed cool and welcoming in the beginning, people are not so receptive about the whole brands + pride affair anymore. Why? Because it really doesn’t do much to help advance equality for the population it claims to support. In fact, I’ve seen more content on social media and the internet mocking companies for rainbow washing this time of the year than anything about standing in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, even beating the timeless classic – “Diversity and Inclusion” by a not so narrow margin.
Bath & Body Works is making a $150,000 donation this year to the It Gets Better Project, supporting their mission to uplift, empower and connect LGBTQ+ youth across the globe. This doesn’t mean that actions always have to be something that involves money and donations. But you will have to put your money where your mouth is, so to speak, on supporting these communities and do something that goes more than words to both consumers and employees and meeting their expectations for providing an inclusive culture where everyone’s wellbeing is prioritised.
The Era of Actions
There are so many ways to celebrate Pride Month at work but the most important way is to make sure that your workplace is a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
- As the first step you can start by including a diversity and inclusion rider on job descriptions, making it clear that your workplace is a safe space for people of all backgrounds.
- Although we may be living in 2022, there are still gaps evidently present and visibly seen when it comes to knowledge about the LGBTQ+ community among people which highlights the importance of offering education on LGBTQ+ issues in the workplace. This can also be accompanied by a diversity and inclusion training session for employees.
- Companies can hire external consultants to evaluate diversity in the workplace, and to make suggestions for making your workplace more inclusive.
- You can also go one step further by hiring a full-time diversity and inclusion officer, if you are a bigger company.
- That’s not all – companies can ensure access to gender-neutral restrooms at all offices and/or stores.
Celebrating Pride month around the office
In addition to the real talk above, HR can also initiate Pride Month celebrations around the office by,
- Inviting an LGBTQ+ speaker for a talk or interactive session.
- Screening a documentary about LGBTQ+ rights or history at work.
- Choosing a book about LGBTQ+ history for the office book club this month.
- Or even doing something simple like displaying your pronouns in your email signature and on social media profiles, and encouraging others to do the same.
Still So Far to Go
It’s definitely not easy for companies to be bold about their initiatives to stand with the LGBTQ+ community because the world is, put simply, in different places on LGBTQ+ issues. But bringing employees together around these issues and engaging them on what they want to see can reveal some important insights and make them feel as though their voices are heard which is fundamental when it comes to the job of good HR.