Pride Month in the Workplace
As Pride Month (June) has just come to a close, we reflect back on what Pride Month means to us in the workplace.
Pride month is dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. It is usually associated with colourful carnivals and marches. At VERB, we want to enjoy Pride and celebrate with the LGBTQ+ community, but we also want to educate and move forward with equality for all.
What is Pride Month?
In June 1969, police in New York raided a pub, popular with members of the LGBTQ+ community. The community, long frustrated by the police monitoring and brutality, fought back. The later named, ‘Stonewall riots’ are widely considered as one of the most important events in the twentieth-century fight for LGBTQ+ rights.
A year later, groups got together to honour those who were involved and had stood up for themselves and their community. They opted for the name “gay pride” to indicate that those involved were proud to be who they were.
Today, LGBTQ+ Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots.
Our responsibility as an employer, during Pride Month and beyond
A 2021 report published by DIVA, a LGBTQ+ magazine, found that 28% have heard or seen negative comments or conduct because a colleague is perceived to be LGBTQ+. And so whilst we have travelled far beyond the cultural oppression found in 1969, we still have far to go. As an employer, it is our responsibility to create an environment that is diverse, equal, and inclusive. But what does that mean in practice?
Gender Inclusive Language
Using gender-neutral language, or including pronouns in your email signature can help signal that your organisation supports the LGBTQ+ community.
This is something we have done at VERB as well as creating a slackbot that prompts users to be more aware of the language they use and provides more inclusive alternatives.
Recruitment and Promotions
Evaluate how you can encourage more applications from people in the LGBTQ+ community and their promotion to leadership roles.
We have a statement outlining our commitment to diversity on our careers page to let everyone know that this is important to us. We also let candidates know about our VERB GIVES Employee Resource Group where they can have a say in charities and causes, which includes our Diversity and Inclusion strategy.
Our hiring managers have completed unconscious bias training and we also collate feedback from our candidates to ensure we can continuously improve the interview process.
When it comes to promotions, we have created a career framework that outlines exactly what someone needs to be doing to get that next promotion. This aims to remove bias by creating a factual and objective process.
As an employer, we have a unique amount of power to make our workplace not just safe, but celebratory for all. Global Pride Day is June 27 and there are plans for live streams of concerts and showcases celebrating pride.
In past years, we have decorated the office and raised money via colourful bake sales. Whilst we are still all working remotely, celebrations this year have been slightly different. This year, alongside our unconscious bias training and the introduction of an ‘Inclusion Lab’, we will be spending half an hour, as a team, doing something we like to call “mindful minutes”. In these mindful minutes, we will explore our personal experiences of Pride, what it means to us, what we want to learn more about the Pride movement and how we can do this together.
We wanted to share this to support other employers in their quest to become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
We’re not claiming that we are perfect or we have the ideal solution. However, we are committed to continuing to learn and develop our employee experience so that everyone can achieve their potential here.