Happy Pride! June marks another season of rainbow infused marches, parades, and celebrations. For those of us trapped in an office during this gorgeous summer month, Pride at work is often celebrated with plenty of food, fun, and famous people to inspire you to bring your whole self to work. While the workplace celebrations are sure to signal to many LGBTQ employees that they are valued and welcomed in the workplace, there is still so much work to do to create more inclusive and fair workplaces for some of the most vulnerable rainbow family members.
For those LGBTQ and ally folks looking to keep pride alive beyond June, consider committing to taking one, some, or all of the following actions in your workplace over the next 11 months. These actions are designed to help create a more inclusive environment for your LGBTQ colleagues. After all, until a federal law is passed banning workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBTQ folks are likely to continue experiencing a disproportionate rate of bias, discrimination, and harassment in the workplace.
Consider committing to these actions before Pride 2018:
- Share Your Story. Consider sharing your own personal story about why LGBTQ Pride matters to you, and why it is so critical that your workplace understand the importance of welcoming, including, and empowering LGBTQ stakeholders within your organization. Share your LGBTQ Pride month experiences with your team, report back about the workplace Pride celebrations you attended, and facilitate a respectful conversation with your colleagues about these topics.
- Commit to Self-Education. A personal story rooted in facts about the struggles of LGBTQ people in the workplace is sure to change the hearts and minds of colleagues who aren’t familiar with LGBTQ workplace discrimination. Leaders are readers, so commit to learning more about LGBTQ folks in the workplace, and consider starting with understanding the history of advocacy efforts to ban LGBTQ workplace discrimination.
- Refresh Meeting Introductions. Before every meeting, encourage your colleagues to get into the habit of sharing both their names and pronouns when introducing themselves. This habit can make a world of difference for folks whose gender appearance may not be easily read as male or female. Rather than awkwardly asking only people whose gender expression varies, lead by example, and help your gender confirming colleagues understand their privilege and how they can be better allies to non-binary people.
- Dedicate Volunteer Time. If your employer offers paid time off for volunteer opportunities, consider dedicating one of these days to work at a local LGBTQ homeless shelter, volunteer your skills or services at a community name change clinic, or consider donating your time to help host a middle or high school GSA event to support LGBTQ students. There are many ways to get plugged into your local community, and if you are uncertain where to start, consider visiting volunteer match for local groups that could use your support.
- Corporate Charitable Giving. Consider mobilizing your workplace’s LGBTQ employee resource group, or simply a group of committed colleagues, to encourage your employer to give to effective LGBTQ organizations working to create a more just world. Not sure of where to give? Consider reviewing this list compiled by the Give OUT Day campaign.
- Host a Brown Bag. Consider hosting a brown bag lunch during LGBTQ History Month in October. At the lunch, think about your workplace’s own story as it relates to opening its doors to LGBTQ stakeholders. Share the journey with your team, and make sure they appreciate how far your workplace has come, and identify some of the obstacles that still exist, and can be overcome by having likeminded people in the room committed to creating a more welcoming workplace.
- Join Your LGBTQ ERG. Whether you are LGBTQ or an ally, consider joining your workplace’s LGBTQ employee resource group (ERG). An ERG is a voluntary, employee-led group that serves as a resource for members with a shared identity or life experience. LGBTQ ERGs focus on ways to foster a more LGBTQ inclusive workplace that aligns with the employer’s broader mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives. Allies are critical to ignite these groups into think-tanks that can help solve some of the employer’s biggest problems in engaging LGBTQ stakeholders.
- Encourage Peer Collaboration. After joining your employer’s LGBTQ ERG, encourage the group to consider creating a cross-collaboration with your employer’s other ERG groups. For example, consider hosting an event with your employer’s Black ERG during African American History Month, and host an event that features Black LGBTQ leaders who created change in the workplace and beyond. Through peer collaboration with fellow ERGs, you can introduce the concept of intersectionality, and demonstrate the rich diversity within LGBTQ communities.
- Become a Mentor. If your employer has a mentorship program, join it, and express that you want to help develop younger LGBTQ talent. Work towards expanding professional development opportunities for LGBTQ talent, especially women, people of color, and transgender and non-binary LGBTQ people. By taking this action, especially for allies, you are helping cultivate a natural pipeline to the highest levels of leadership within your organization. Share what you know generously, and support the next generation of out leaders smash through the glass ceilings in your organization.
- Recruit LGBTQ Talent. No matter where you sit within your organization, strategize ways to let LGBTQ talent know that your employer is actively seeking them specifically because of their lived experiences and identity. How to recruit the best and brightest talent? Aside from watching my free webinar all about engaging LGBTQ talent, consider prominently displaying your employer’s LGBTQ inclusive diversity statement, actions your employer has taken to value LGBTQ stakeholders, and articulate why LGBTQ people in particular will help your organization thrive.
- Communicate the Business Case. Can you succinctly explain to your leadership why it makes good business sense to engage, include, and elevate LGBTQ stakeholders in your organization? If you said no, be sure to RSVP for the next free RPC webinar all about making the LGBTQ business case to your leadership team. To prepare for the webinar, check out some of the available research to help craft your own talking points, and come to the webinar hungry with questions. There will be plenty of time for Q&A to help build your own business case.
For more strategies to help keep workplace pride alive throughout the year, consider subscribing to the RPC quarterly newsletter by clicking here.