How you can celebrate pride month in the workplace

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Health Assured team

12 May 2023

Over 1.5 million people in the UK identify as LGBTQ+. This is not a small group. Nevertheless, approximately 26% of LGBTQ+ employees are not out to any co-worker and a staggering 50% are not out to their current boss. While many organisations continue to evolve, providing workplace protections for the LGBTQ+ community, many people are still reluctant to come out at work.

Why is this? Reasons vary, but many remain silent for fear of workplace stigma and discrimination. “Companies can’t afford to ignore this if they want to be successful in the future,” says Stephen Frost, a globally recognised diversity, inclusion, and leadership expert. This is echoed in current research, which shows inclusive workplaces establish a sense of belonging, which increases productivity and work quality.

As an employer, you have a responsibility to support the health and wellbeing of your entire workforce. In acknowledgement of pride month this June, we will explore how your workplace can celebrate this month of inclusivity and establish practices that create a more inclusive workplace.

What is pride month?

Every year in June, the LGBTQ+ community celebrates pride month – a month of parades, parties, and concerts. The celebration is held in June to honour the 1969 Stonewall rebellion – a pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ history. The rebellion is widely regarded as the origin of the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

Pride month events draw in millions of people each year. These people come together to commemorate the ongoing pursuit of equal justice for the LGBTQ+ community. It is a time for acceptance and equality – celebrating the work of LGBTQ+ people and their influence in the world today.

How to celebrate pride month in your workplace

Here at Health Assured, we’re urging businesses to make a conscious effort to celebrate pride month – creating an inclusive workplace that enriches the health and wellbeing of all LGBTQ+ employees. Read on to discover a range of things your business can do to celebrate pride month:

1. Host a diversity and inclusion workshop

As an employer, it is your responsibility to teach your workforce about the importance of inclusion in the workplace. Pride month is an ideal time for this education. These workshops function as an educational tool and usually involve an external professional: an LGBTQ+ advocate/expert, who can teach your business how to facilitate LGBTQ+ equality. The speaker will use their experiences to provide information, sharing anecdotes that resonate with your LGBTQ+ employees. 

These workshops will let your LGBTQ+ employees know that your business is forward-thinking and supportive - they will also inform your heterosexual employees about the correct terminology and pronouns. 

2. Fundraise for a local LGBTQ+ charity

According to Stonewall, the largest LGBTQ+ rights organisation in Europe, fundraising is a great way to engage your LGBTQ+ staff and demonstrate how your organisation is committed to promoting inclusiveness. There are numerous ways for your business to donate. It can be as simple as setting up a QR code to a JustGiving page. You can then include the QR code on any company printouts, flyers, emails, and TV screens around the office so your employees can donate.

3. Run a pride campaign on social media

Over the last decade, it has become standard practice for organisations to use social media to attract clients and market products. With approximately 4.2 billion active social media users, the outreach potential is immense. Your organisation must use these online outlets for social change – educating followers and giving a voice to LGBTQ+ employees. And remember, the whole point of these campaigns is to raise awareness, not profits.

4. Evaluate your discrimination and diversity policies and standards

This is the 21st century, but discrimination is still a rampant problem within the workplace. Recent figures show that more than 46% of LGBTQ+ employees have experienced unfair treatment at work at some point in their lives. Everyone has a part to play in improving inclusivity and diversity in the workplace.

However, successful organisational change starts from the top-down. As an employer, you have the authority to implement policies, offer initiatives and guide workplace culture. With that comes a responsibility to do the right thing. To facilitate the necessary change.

5. Set up an LGBTQ+ network group

For some LGBTQ+ people, work can be fantastic – a safe space, where they can be themselves without any fear of repercussion. But for others, it’s the opposite. Discrimination and harassment are all too common, with more than a third of LGBT staff in the UK hiding their status at work. Awareness is growing. Workplaces are starting to address stigmas. New attitudes towards diversity in the workplace are on the horizon.

An employee network group has the potential to transform the experiences of LGBTQ+ people at work. They enable LGBTQ+ employees to support their peers and find community at work. They do this in three main ways:

1) Peer-to-peer support: providing a space for LGBT employees to support each other, express concerns they may have, and spend time around people who understand their experiences.

2) Awareness-raising: promoting a better understanding of LGBT inclusion and making LGBT experiences more visible in the wider organisation. 

3) Accountability: scrutinising your organisation’s policies and processes, feeding back concerns, and suggesting how these can be improved.

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