We know how it goes. July 1st comes around, our Pride corporate logos switch back and company’s Pride-specific taglines and limited-edition products all come to an end.
Of course, it’s great to see the wave of celebration across social media and from global organizations during June’s Pride Month. This shouldn’t be taken for granted, as the importance of Pride and being proud of oneself, let alone the achievements of the many communities that constitute the LGBT+ community, deserve to be celebrated and it’s important that we give space for this. But how do we ensure that our work for LGBT+ inclusion goes beyond June? Pride after all commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which at its heart is both a celebration and a call to action for change, serving as a reminder that we still have work a lot to do to ensure the global LGBT+ community are safe and able to thrive as their authentic selves.
Businesses are pillars of power and influence within society and, the work that we do within our walls can have positive effects on our global community. We know that systemic change is key, and businesses have an incredible opportunity – and responsibility – to ensure that society is progressing towards equality for all. Here are some ways that INvolve have been working with organizations to take Pride beyond June and effect positive change all year long.
“How do I know which pronouns to use?”
“What is the gender binary?”
“How do I know what the right terms to use are?”
Chances are that even if you don’t recognize some of these frequently asked questions, some of your employees might.
Ensuring that employees are educated on key topics and relevant issues surrounding the LGBT+ community provides them with the knowledge to tackle the first step in LGBT+ inclusion – being able to confidently discuss challenges that the LGBT+ community may be facing both in a local and global context. On a more granular level, it provides them with the tools to discuss issues meaningfully in a workplace which leads to action.
INvolve’s suite of LGBT+ training solutions provide insights on topics such as Trans and non-binary inclusion to Allyship Across Communities which explores how employees can become active advocates for LGBT+ inclusion. It’s vital that education and tools for practical action go hand in hand, and that employees are equipped to deploy their knowledge within a business setting.
From problems to solutions
We know that there are barriers to progress that prevent LGBT+ employees from reaching career success. The fact that only three CEOs within the Fortune 500 are openly LGBT+, shows us that whether it’s a lack of diversity in senior leadership, defined progression plans or a broader culture of inclusion, LGBT+ employees can face a myriad of challenges within a business.
To identify these challenges within your organization, assessing your business to gain an unbiased picture and benchmark for progress is crucial. Solving challenges without data can result in implementations that don’t hone in on the specific challenges LGBT+ employees are facing within your business nor will they provide long-term solutions for change.
INvolve’s RADAR benchmarking tool equips businesses with the data and recommendations to take positive action for inclusion. This in-depth analysis gathers both quantitative data and qualitative data through holding focus groups with employees to gain a holistic view of an organization. This provides businesses with a clear understanding of their areas of strength and weakness, providing strong evidence on where specific solutions can be implemented. In understanding the real lived experiences of LGBT+ employees, businesses can implement this RADAR tool to further drive LGBT+ inclusion within their global teams.
As detailed in this case study, we worked with a well-established LGBT+ Employee Resource Group (ERG) in a multinational organization to increase engagement with the network and improve the overall working relationship with key internal stakeholders to drive LGBT+ inclusion.
Creating Effective Networks
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are vital cogs within a business to ensure that employees have formal channels to influence overall business strategies and policies. ERGs are a great way to bring together LGBT+ employees and active advocates to drive forward inclusive solutions and hold senior leadership teams accountable for change.
Our Effective Networks workshop has been developed for organizations at different stages of the ERG journey – from creation to advanced work surrounding intersectional and cross-ERG work. These in-depth workshops help establish ERGs as critical business resources and functions by providing tools to expand reach and impact, helping to develop more cohesive objectives and strategies and engage on an intersectional and cross-ERG basis.
ERGs are also crucial to foster a sense of belonging and purpose within a business by providing minority communities with the opportunity to shape an organization’s future. To ensure that your aims for LGBT+ inclusion are relevant and specific to your LGBT+ employees, having a formal channel where they can input and provide direction or feedback is important.
Every organization is on a different and unique journey when it comes to LGBT+ inclusion. For some, providing employees with education is a priority while for others strengthening ERGs and employee engagement is key. Wherever an organization may be in their inclusion journey, one thing remains true – that the solidarity and messaging shared over Pride month must go beyond the 30 days. Our efforts to provide LGBT+ employees with the tools and pathways to succeed as well as be safe and included within our businesses must be a year-round priority.