Canada was recently awash with rainbow flags as the nation celebrated Gay Pride. The annual weekend brings together the LGBTQ community throughout the nation, giving employers the chance to showcase their diversity agendas.
So, what can you do within your organization to show your support to your LGBTQ staff?
“Employers need to make their support of their LGBTQ co-workers explicit, from written employee policies to hosting LGBTQ employee meet-ups and networking events,” said Curtis Sparrer, a principal at Bospar, a tech PR firm and winner of PRWeek’s Outstanding Boutique Agency for 2018.
“At Bospar for example we sponsor attendance at the LGBTQ entrepreneurial group StartOut as well as membership in the National Lesbian Gay Journalists Association.”
And though there is a lot of genuine support from organizations who really want to help shift the status quo, there’s also some employers who choose to pay lip service to the cause, rather than revolutionizing it.
“As someone who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when conventional wisdom held that being gay was bad for business I’m still grateful for pandering and lip service,” joked Sparrer.
“All kidding aside, I would say the biggest danger to playing lip service to diversity is not being taken seriously in anything else you do. People see a company’s commitment to diversity as a litmus test to a company’s ethics and their approach to doing business.”
With that in mind, what is the future of diversity in the workplace? Where will we be in regards to LGBTQ employees in 10 years?
“I think companies are going to be more embracing of the trans and intersex communities since those two groups have not received enough attention,” Sparrer told HRD.
“Additionally, I expect to see more efforts to intermix groups together so that LGBTQ groups are not just supported but that other constituencies that may not historically co-mingle will get the opportunity. After all, the more we can work together, the better our understanding of each other will be, ultimately creating a workplace of high trust and high productivity.
“In fact, research shows the more diverse the company, the better they perform. The secret - and I hope this doesn’t sound like one of those motivational posters - is to develop the social glue that breaks down barriers while building bridges to create a shared outcome and feeling of success.”
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