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Making Your Workplace More Accepting this Pride Month

This is the sixth in an ongoing series of blogs exploring the meaning, implementation, function and future of CSR.

As employees begin to return to in-person work, there’s a desire from management to use this opportunity for a fresh start. With a year away from the office, many are analyzing in-person work environments with fresh eyes, creating plans to make workplaces more productive and welcoming of all people. Even if a business remains remote, the post-Covid world feels like the beginning of a new chapter for corporate social responsibility.

With June being Pride Month, many companies are adding rainbows to their logos and employing month long CSR campaigns to celebrate LGBTQ+ people. However, one must ask if these companies are turning inward, using Pride Month as a time to reflect on their own workplaces and internal diversity. A large majority of Americans back LGBTQ+ rights, so companies must ask themselves if they are doing everything they can to champion LGBTQ+ rights within their work spaces and communities.

It is easy to want to improve LGBTQ+ acceptance within the workplace, but what are some pragmatic ways to make this desire a reality? We at Impactree have compiled a list of tangible ways to boost acceptance, the reasons for doing so, and how we can simplify and centralize the process.

The Importance of Acceptance

There have been numerous studies which reflect the importance of diversity, not only ethically but practically. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, “companies with above-average total diversity … [had] 19% points higher innovation revenues.” Most business leaders understand the tangible benefits of diversifying work forces and leadership positions, and want to apply them to their teams. However, the definitions of diversity that many carry can be limiting.

Diversity is often used to specifically refer to diversity of races; and for good reason. Numerous companies under represent people of color, so workplace diversity has come to be synonymous with efforts to hire and promote them. However, many DEI experts stress the importance of seeing diversity as a means of including people of all ages, races, genders, orientations and sexualities.

This is especially true of younger generations, who are looking for workplaces which stress acceptance of LGBTQ+ people. “With Generation Z entering the workplace, the definition of what makes a diverse work environment is changing to include gender and sexuality.” As younger people enter the workforce, they will be expecting work environments designed to help LGBTQ+ people thrive, and will choose where to work accordingly.

As time moves on, LGBTQ+ advocacy and equality in the workplace will play a more crucial role in attracting and retaining skilled employees, meaning now is the perfect time to improve acceptance and workplace culture. With this in mind, it is time to look at some tangible and authentic means for managers and business leaders to celebrate and promote Pride.

Establishing A More Accepting Work Environment

According to the Human Resource Executive, “As with all things company culture-related, establishing positive relationships among employees is a top-down process. Managers should display the values and attitudes they expect from their employees.” It takes programs and attitudes put in place by CEOs, HR professionals and managers to impact the entire workforce, setting a precedent for what is normal, acceptable and appropriate. To get to this point, business leaders must educate themselves on LGBTQ+ history, issues, and ways they can avoid negative reinforcement; then use this knowledge to build supportive structures in hiring, HR and company culture.

While LGBTQ+ history is often underrepresented, the past few decades have seen a ground swell of LGBTQ+ perspectives and stories, highlighting their experiences and struggles. Learning about LGBTQ+ activism and history – especially history following the monumental Stonewall Riots – is paramount to understanding how far LGBTQ+ rights have come over the last 50 years, while also highlighting the need for further progress.

Education is a powerful tool in creating accepting environments, building understanding through knowledge. While they are often misconstrued, gender, sexuality and identity are all separate concepts which exist on a gradient. Learning the difference between these concepts is crucial to creating inclusive environments, and provides the tools for how to use language (official and informal) to promote a sense of inclusivity and acceptance. This is especially true of pronouns, which are a crucial means of expressing oneself.

Someone’s pronouns are directly tied to their identity, so using someone’s preferred pronouns is a simple way to respect them as an individual. As a business leader, you can mitigate the awkwardness experienced by trans and gender non-conforming people who share their pronouns by normalizing the practice of including your pronouns in email signatures and social media channels. By doing this, employees do not need to fear revealing their preferred pronouns in an awkward and public way. This builds trust with employees, and helps them feel more acclimated and accepted in a work environment.

Like all social topics, it takes time and effort to challenge preconceived notions and reform thoughts. However, doing so is necessary for keeping a motivated, happy and productive team for years to come. Learning how to personally and professionally support LGBTQ+ people is not an overnight task, but doing so gives perspectives on ways to reform hiring, HR and numerous other aspects of workplace culture. Yet, education is only one half of the puzzle.

Impactree Helps Create Inclusive Workplaces

To change workplaces from the top down, it takes outreach programs to spread information. While most people are not going to be outwardly anti-LGBTQ+, there are many ways employees can display unconscious or subtle biases, making LGBTQ+ employees feel unwelcome in their places of work. To get all employees on the same page, companies need a centralized resource for conveying and teaching company values. Luckily, we at Impactree have the solution.

Our innovative platform allows companies and business leaders to focus teams around a variety of external and internal resources, which we call actions. Our actions are simple, all in one place ways to make a difference in the world, sourced from the best resources and organizations around. Not only does this give employees a simple way to make a difference in the world, but it also allows companies to aggregate resources for employees to see, educating them on workplace issues and solutions in one easy-to-use location.

With a simple link, businesses can show their employees expertly curated and custom created actions in one place, making DEI programs simple to grasp and share among teams. Quickly and succinctly, our clients can update their action hubs with monthly CSR calendar content, picking from our hundreds of relevant actions. This is especially true of Pride Month: our platform has dozens of impactful, motivational and educational actions which give users a variety of ways to support LGBTQ+ rights and progress.

Whether it is a month-long CSR event like Pride Month or a more focused campaign on trending topics, Impactree offers businesses of all sizes a place to simplify employee engagement. Our platform is a flexible tool, perfect for motivating employee engagement, education, or simply appealing to the human desire to do good in the world.

Reform in Pride Month

Pride Month is a great time to celebrate LGBTQ+ history and continued progress, as well as support those who are part of the community. This is especially true for companies, a growing number of whom love to use the month as a time to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ rights while celebrating their employees. However, far too often brands use Pride Month as merely a time to add a rainbow to their logo; doing very little to celebrate and support LGBTQ+ employees within their company.

Consumers are already highly aware of the commercialization of Pride Month, and the same thought process is applied to employees as well. Businesses will use Pride Month as a time to display LGBTQ+ employees, celebrating their existence while not reforming systems which systematically keep them out of top management positions.

This year, use Pride Month as a time to reflect on your company’s LGBTQ+ representation, plotting ways to make it more accepting. To thrive in the coming decades and keep up-and-coming employees motivated and welcomed, companies must make sure they are creating accepting workplaces for all. With time, education, and a robust DEI program, reform is within grasp of all companies.

For more ideas on how to make your workplace more accepting, check out Impactree’s Pride Month Action Hub.

Next time we will look at employee happiness and satisfaction, highlighting four companies showing the benefits of emphasizing employee happiness.

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