Back 5 Tips to Celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride in the Workplace
Every June, most of us who identify under the LGBTQ+ banner smile as the brands we love embrace the rainbow flag on their logos. Some more cynical people consider it a box-ticking exercise, but not me. I find it hard to be that cynical when I see brands embracing the redesigned pride or diversity flag which incorporates gender, sexual orientation, and race, aligning their brand to the pride mast.
In saying that, there are dos and don’ts that companies should look for when supporting gay pride. Here are my 5 tips for organisations to improve their diversity celebrations over pride month and beyond.
1. Support an LGBTQ+ organisation: There are thousands of incredible LGBTQ+ organisations for your company to support, and June is the month to put your money where your mouth is. Growing up in a society, even a progressive one like Ireland, homophobia is still rampant and has had knock-on effects for people growing up, like an increase in mental health issues and rates of suicide. Irish organisations like Belong2 and Shoutout support the younger generation, affecting real change. There are also a number of AIDS charities, such as HIV Ireland and GOSHH, doing an amazing job with the community. You can encourage your staff to donate by running a fundraiser or donating some of your company's CSR fund directly to an organisation of your choice.
2. Include your staff: Pride is a people movement, so it works best when it is driven by the people that you want to make feel included. Having a cis heterosexual HR manager update a logo, make rainbow cakes, and provide you a new over-the-top gay Zoom background can feel like a few box-ticking exercises. If you do not have an LGBTQ+ or Diversity group within your organization, suggest your LGBTQ+ staff to brainstorm what they feel would work for the company to celebrate pride month. Marginalised people are used to fighting for their rights, so any larger organisation will have LGBTQ+ team members who are experienced in promoting the rights of the community. Diversity committees are becoming more and more important in organisations, as they foster and support a grassroot community.
3. Visibility: With the pride movement in full swing, a company that does not update a pride version of its logo now stands out more than one who does it in the current climate. Recruiters, even small ones, have been quick to update their logos as they understand the impact on their brand and, on hiring and what having a pride logo says about the company's diversity culture. Many people apply to a role for a company's culture, not just the salary. Looking at Glanbia, RSA, and Sage using the revised, more inclusive pride flag, I can see that some people in the company are socially aware, which reflects positively on my perception of their company's culture. Once you have the pride logo, you can use it for email signatures, email backgrounds, social media, and your company's social platform or Intranet. If you are still working remotely and you are looking to show your support, take some photos of your company's office with pride flags hung up (interior or exterior) and make fun meeting backgrounds to showcase your company’s support. Include a mixture of subtle and vibrant background options to suit everyone’s taste.
4. The big day out: Pride parades are rooted in protest, but, in more recent years, they have evolved into both protest and the celebration of diversity. Not every company can afford a big bus in the Dublin city parade, but it might surprise you how easy it is to march with a staff group and a company banner. Arthur Cox has been sponsoring my LGBTQ+ Hockey Team, the Pink Ladies, for a number of years. As a part of their support, we also get invited to their corporate pride brunch during the morning of Dublin pride. It’s a staple of our annual pride celebrations each year, and it is just one of many companies across the silicon docks of Dublin that are running their pride event. Afterwards, most people march in the parade, having a day of fun and celebrating diversity. Going to the effort of running a company event over pride, or marching in the parade, is a much bigger gesture than just updating the company logo, and your LGBTQ+ team members will appreciate it. If you want to increase the prestige of your corporate pride, you can try to book one of the Dublin Darlings, like Shirley Temple Bar, Davina Devine, Pixie Woo, or Paul Ryder to host. If you are not familiar with these queens, I would recommend watching a live show before booking them to check if it will work for your event.
Photo: Indeed Twitter
5. Pride Events or Workshops: For remote workers or companies that are looking to run events over the month of pride, informative events, or workshops for your company's culture are always a good idea. These could be facilitated by an organisation that your company supports over pride. In Ireland, for example, Shoutout does corporate workshops and Q&A’s for staff or managers to achieve a greater understanding. Besides increasing awareness, these sessions can help to develop an understanding of the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ staff, providing an opportunity to solve problems and to come up with ways for the company to better support and cultivate diversity within the organisation