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How organisations can embrace and celebrate diversity by fostering inclusion to enhance the employee experience
How organisations can embrace and celebrate diversity by fostering inclusion to enhance the employee experience

The Power of Pride

By: Jonas van Wees, HR Auditor, Top Employers Institute


The world of work should represent the broader world that we live in, and that world includes members of the LGBTQ+ community. That is one of the main reasons why, in recent history, organisations have embraced Pride Month.  

The diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies organisations have implemented over the past years have been an essential part of progressing the rights of LGBTQ+ people. However, there is still more that organisations can do to not only support their staff but empower them at work.  

Organisations should move beyond raising awareness during Pride Month to create a positive and inclusive employee experience. They need to involve their employees in making these vital decisions to create an inclusive culture wherein everyone feels like they belong.  

Read More: Becoming LGBTQ+ Allies: Going Beyond DEI Initiatives for Pride Month 

While Pride Month is an annual celebration that holds profound significance for the LGBTQ+ community and serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and acceptance in the past and present day, it also extends beyond the boundaries of a specific community, and it encompasses broader themes of DEI, purpose, and the employee experience.  

In a recent study by McKinsey, we can see that when a diverse and inclusive culture prevails, your organisation is twice as likely to exceed financial goals. Organisations perform three times better and are six times more innovative and agile than those that do not embrace diversity, equity and inclusion. It also found that organisations are eight times more likely to achieve better business results than those that do not prioritise DEI initiatives. These are good reasons to take further steps in this regard.  

In this article, we will explore seven best practices on how organisations can embrace Pride Month as an opportunity to foster a culture of acceptance, promote diversity and inclusion and align with a greater organisational purpose. 

 

Read More: - Making an Impact: GroupM’s DEI Sponsorship Programme 

7 Ways that Organisations Can Embrace the LGBTQ+ Community:  

  

  1. Inclusive leadership and leadership commitment: Leaders must demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the organisational purpose and values. Their actions and behaviours should reflect these values, setting the leading example for the organisation. Inclusive leadership starts with collecting data which can be measured using anonymised (pulse) surveys. Start by understanding how your employees think about the organisational culture. Do they find that their ideas become heard and respected? Do they receive recognition for their work? Do they have enough opportunities to grow professionally? An inclusive work environment can only be achieved by allowing everyone the chance to participate. To make this happen, it is up to managers and executive leaders to facilitate this inclusivity work. That is why 81% of Top Employers train their leaders to be role models by dispelling prejudice and inspiring teams to drive the necessary improvement initiatives. Additionally, in 2023 we see that 80% of Top Employers make inclusive leadership part of their leadership competencies. 
  2. Aligning with a greater purpose: Pride Month should serve as a catalyst for organisations to reflect on their purpose and values. By aligning their people strategy with a commitment to DEI, they will strengthen the connection between individual purpose and organisational purpose. This alignment cultivates a shared mission and empowers employees to contribute meaningfully to the organisation's goals, resulting in higher job satisfaction and fulfilment. When employees understand and believe in the greater purpose of their work, it enhances their motivation, engagement, and overall satisfaction. This alignment also helps attract and retain top talent who seek organisations that share their values. By integrating this into your organisational values and having a values program in place, this topic will be constantly on the minds of your employees. It is also critical to keep track of this by measuring your purpose. Using a scorecard can help analyse the extent to which everyone lives the purpose. While Top Employers are beginning to embrace this mindset, it is still only implemented by 37% of Top Employers globally, showing that there is still room to improve an organisation's DEI efforts. 
  3. Education and Awareness: Offering educational programs and workshops to employees during Pride Month and beyond to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ issues will help to promote empathy while challenging stereotypes and biases. Organisations need to create opportunities for open dialogue and discussion to foster a deeper understanding of the diverse experiences within the LGBTQ+ community. 52% of Top Employers are engaging and appointing DEI champions from within their employee group. These DEI champions help the organisation keep these issues on the agenda, allowing it to realise its DEI objectives by role-modelling inclusion and advocating various local DEI initiatives. 
  4. Visible Support and Advocacy: Organisations should demonstrate visible support for Pride Month through their internal and external communications, including their social media campaigns, events, and sponsorship of LGBTQ+ organisations. They can do this by encouraging employees to participate in Pride-related events, showcasing the organisation's commitment to DEI. They must also aim to explain what they do internally regarding policymaking, as the advocacy should be visible and tangible. 
  5. Establish an LGBTQ+ internal or external network/partnership: Organisations should consider establishing an internal or external network to provide a sense of community, support, and mentorship regardless of sexuality. To ensure they create the most effective networks, they must consult with a network that contributes to formulating or revising people's policies and practices, ensuring that they consider relevant perspectives and trends regarding DEI. For example, before introducing or amending a policy around parental leave for members of the LGBTQ+ community, you would use such networks as a sounding board. HR also plays an essential role by facilitating this networking with associated initiatives such as dining together or conducting a work experience survey among specific target groups to find out what bottlenecks are in the work situation, like looking for reasons why employees leave the organisation.  
  6. Regularly assessing your HR processes and aligning them with your DEI principles: Organisations should review and update organisational policies to ensure they are inclusive and equitable. Currently, 77% of certified Top Employers do this consistently, which includes ensuring that you have inclusive policies and benefits. HR teams need to consider inclusive benefits packages that address the unique needs of LGBTQ+ employees, such as transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage or support for same-sex partners. Another example is having an anti-sexual-harassment and bullying (non-discrimination) policy (96% of Top Employers have this in place) that explicitly protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. 
  7. Ongoing evaluation and improvement: Organisations will need to continuously assess the organisation's progress in fostering a diverse and inclusive culture. That is done by seeking employee feedback, conducting DEI assessments (54% of Top Employers do so), and regularly running pay equity analyses. Organisations should also periodically communicate updates and celebrate successes to sustain momentum and engagement. For example, they can review talent processes to identify and remove bias, promote equitable opportunities, and make changes according to those insights. 

 Read More: Empowering Individual’s Growth & Transformation 

Final Thoughts 

Pride Month serves as a reminder of the importance of diversity, inclusion, purpose, and the employee experience within organisations. By embracing Pride Month's values, organisations can create an environment where all employees feel respected, supported, and empowered to thrive. Celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion strengthens the organisation's culture and drives innovation, engagement, and overall success. 

Together we should strive for an authentic life without barriers, for all of us at and beyond work. 

In this article, we have underlined that the challenge for companies lies in shifting the focus from loose actions to converting momentum into a movement towards more inclusive organisational practices and policies.  

Organisations that want to get the most out of all their employees should seize the opportunity to create workplaces that embrace diversity, promote inclusivity, and amplify the voices of all employees, not just during Pride Month but every day of the year. 

 

Read More: Inclusion at Scale