The month of June is all about PRIDE, and what better way to help promote diversity and belonging than by showing your organization is an ally?
Observing Pride month throughout your organization is a powerful way to show commitment to making your workplace a safe space -physically, mentally, and psychologically - for employees who may not know that your company is aligned with a values system that recognizes and respects them. In fact, more than 53% of LGBTQ+ employees are still in the closet at work. While it’s not your job to make anyone come out, it is your job to ensure they can feel safe to do so.
Whether your workforce is in-office, remote, or hybrid, here are five ways you can help assure your employees are fully supported no matter which letter in the rainbow alphabet best represents their identity and orientation. Done properly, Pride month celebration can be a welcome arm of your diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) initiative.
1. Rainbow Flags
This is a very basic, low-key way to show your employees that LGBTQ+ allyship is officially recognized and put in place in the workplace. This can be as simple as displaying rainbow imagery throughout the office, adding rainbow banners to the company website, changing out your corporate social icons and cover photos, putting a rainbow icon by your name in Slack, or including a rainbow flag in email signatures. If your company uses a common video conferencing tool, consider changing the background.
2. Pride Playlists
Use Spotify or a similar music playlist creator to develop a pride playlist (getting input from employees who are in the LGBTQ+ community can help. There’s more to these playlists than Freddie Mercury and Ani DiFranco.) These playlists can be used in the office as background music during the month of June, set up as hold or elevator music, and promoted by the company on social channels. Also, consider podcasts that amplify LGBTQ+ creators and artists.
3. Enjoy the Parade
Is there a Pride event or parade in your town? You can show up to support your LGBTQ+ employees, march in the street, sponsor a float, or participate in a fun run. All remote this year? No problem. Ask employees who feel comfortable if they’d like to record something and contribute to a video montage, then hold your own virtual parade online in a shared meeting space.
4. Support Groups
Pride month is the ideal time to highlight employee resource groups - or to launch them if you don’t currently have one focused on LGBTQ+ support at the moment. Support in a safe space where people can exchange ideas and share their perspectives can become a powerful branch of your DEIB program. If your company is too small or doesn’t have many LGBTQ+ employees, consider partnering with local community resources or online resource groups to ensure those who do work with your organization have the support they need.
5. LGBTQ+ Vendors
You can really show your support for the larger community by supporting LGBTQ+ -run businesses entrepreneurs and vendors during Pride Month. Anything to do with your hospitality and virtual event services can be an opportunity to back the community with your budget. Consider LGBTQ+ speakers, caterers, and virtual service providers when planning any event.
Before You Begin
It’s important to note these are actions you can take, but not a full strategy. Rainbow displays aren’t worth much if you don’t follow through. Definitely avoid any stereotypes or tokenism. Make sure you have a plan in place in case of pushback from clients, customers, or even other employees. Strive to maintain a safe and comfortable environment for your team and don’t forget to emphasize allyship to encourage everyone to participate.
How Are You Doing?
Before and after your Pride Month celebrations, survey your employees to see where your company currently stands in their estimation of LGBTQ+ issues. Be aware that low response rates may indicate your employees don’t feel their workplace is safe.