Happy Pride Month from EG! June is internationally recognized as Pride Month in honor of the Stonewall Riots that took place in New York City on June 28, 1969. Today, Pride month is typically highlighted by cities worldwide to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community with parades and festivals. These riots have been called a watershed event in the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights and the broader struggle for social justice and equality in the United States.
Pride celebrations offer a chance to celebrate the achievements of the LGBTQIA+ community. Although many modern workplaces have made strides in improving diversity and inclusion in recent years, however, there is still much work to be done. It will take more than hanging a Pride flag in the window or changing the profile picture on your company’s social media pages to authentically show your organization’s allyship to the LGBTQIA+ community. Here are four ways employers can make their workplaces safe and welcoming for all LGBTQIA+ employees.
Create Opportunities for Education
At the heart of diversity and inclusion efforts is education. Hosting workshops on topics relevant to DEI can make a huge impact on how your employees feel within your organization. Professional trainers can provide information on why LGBTQIA+ employees may be wary about coming out and educate your team on inclusive language. This approach fosters understanding and supports your LGBTQIA+ workforce!
If in-person training is too costly, you could ask current employees who identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community to share their experiences and expectations for what a safe and inclusive workplace means. This could also be a panel discussion where other team members can ask questions and give ideas for how to continue creating an inclusive-first workplace. Remember, only have these individuals share what they are comfortable with and never assume they’d be willing simply because they identify as LGBTQIA+.
Online training tools are also a great option for bringing DEI education to your employees. For example, Google provides webinars and online courses that address specific DEI issues in the workplace. You can also search online for a free video series or an online course about diversity issues in the workplace.
Evaluate Your Anti-Discrimination Policy
A good anti-discrimination policy is vital to an inclusive workplace. If it’s been a while since it was last updated, take stock and make sure this policy is up to date and well-communicated. While many companies do have some policy in place, not all take the steps necessary to ensure it covers the needs of their employees. Is the language inclusive? Does it clearly state homophobia will not be tolerated at any level of the organization? Is there a clear path for an employee to report any harassment or discrimination they’re experiencing? Consider also including protections based on gender identity and gender expression to your anti-harassment policies and health insurance coverage for transgender employees. Making very clear and well communicated anti-discrimination policies will mean your whole team will feel safe and accepted for who they are so they can focus on doing their work to their best abilities instead of fearing how they will be treated.
Support LGBTQIA+ Led or Focused Charities
Pride Month is a great time for showing financial support to LGBTQIA+ charities. Your organization can make a donation as well as encourage employees to do the same by offering a donation match. Companies can also support local Pride Festivals and have employees volunteer to become more involved with the community and publicly show their support for the LGBTQIA+ community.
It’s also important to note that employers don’t have to wait for Pride Month; they can choose an LGBTQIA+ charity and donate all year long. This shows employers respect and celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community beyond the month of June. This can help attract top talent and retain employees who believe in the company’s mission. In addition to donating funds, employers can support an LGBTQIA+ charity by encouraging employees to volunteer or participate in a fundraiser.
EG currently is sponsoring both the 2022 Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids Pride events as well as participating in the festival. Some other LGBTQIA+ charities EG supports and encourages you to donate to or get involved with include: The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), The Trevor Project, and GLAAD.
Make a Point of Celebrating Pride in the Office
You can create a more inclusive environment for your LGBTQIA+ employees as an employer. This can be done by making a point of celebrating Pride Month in the office. Organizations can decorate the office with banners, flags, or inclusive welcome signage. These actions may not seem like much at first glance – and certainly are not enough if it’s all you’re doing, but they significantly impact those individuals in the LQBTQIA+ community who work for your organization.
You can also, encourage your employees who work remotely to decorate their workspace. You could provide them with tech backgrounds or flags they can display. Making the workplace a safe space for your LGBTQIA+ workers creates an environment where they are comfortable and confident at work and can truly be themselves.
There are many ways to celebrate Pride Month at work, but it’s essential to make sure your organization does it authentically. By providing educational opportunities, creating an inclusive anti-discrimination policy, making donations to LGBTQIA+-focused charities and volunteering, and making a point to celebrate Pride in the workplace will set an excellent example for everyone on your team!
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