As we come to the midpoint of a month that is dedicated to celebrating and supporting the LGBTQIA+ community we want to highlight practices that truly embody what it means to be supportive of employees and allies. What does it look like to work toward equity with concrete goals and results in mind? One approach NOT to take is rainbow washing logos and posting a “we support” message without showing any evidence of the impact you and your team are making within the LGBTQIA+ community.
Here are five ways your organization can go beyond performative gestures to drive allyship during PRIDE month and throughout the year.
Sponsor and Invest
- Sponsor & invest in employee resource groups (ERGs) for LGBTQIA+ employees to create safe spaces at work - this means funding events, fueling connection through technology and tools, allowing productive conversations to take place at the workplace that creates community and inclusion.
- ERGs materialize through either human resources, an active group of employee advocates or leadership creates, announces, and hands the reins over to another employee to manage. CMOs should concentrate on programming, connecting, and supporting ERGs. These groups typically have little executive sponsorship. With the support of CMOs ERGs have the ability to thrive, gain visibility, and become more widely accepted throughout the organization.
- Invest in education for all employees - remember to partner with and provide a seat at the table to your ERGs and LGBTQIA+ employees to ensure your allyship is genuine, meaningful and actionable.
- For example: GLAAD (a dynamic media force that tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change), has sent representatives to various companies to educate and inform employees about inclusive behavior, language, and what it means to be an ally.
- CMOs can partner with leaders of ERGs to bring in subject matter experts. Together the CMO and employee can create an agenda for a lunch and learn or workshop surrounding crowdsourced questions related to issues the LGBTQIA+ community face and how to support them throughout the year.
Mentorship, Training, and Coaching
- Support your LGBTQIA+ talent through mentorship, training & development and coaching; LGBTQIA+ employees are grossly underrepresented amongst executive teams. For example: A Human Rights Campaign study found the top reasons for not being open at work about sexual orientation and gender identity include the possibility of being stereotyped (38%), being open makes others feel uncomfortable (36%), and afraid losing connections or relationships with coworkers (31%). Providing mentorship and training could invite more allies to stand by and support those in your LGBTQIA+ community.
Find a Sustainable Mission
- Use your brand and financial capital to speak out, actively. Bombas, for example, has long been known for doing work all year long to donate a pair of socks to the homeless with each purchase. This year Bombas is focused on black transgender individuals who experience homelessness at a rate 5x higher than the general U.S. population. They also have a Pride product collection available year-round and have donated more than 300,000 pairs of socks through the Ally Coalition. And Nautica will donate $1 to The Trevor Project for every item sold from the Pride Collection.
Use Your Voice
- Ask for or create policy changes that positively impact the LGBTQIA+ community to reach parity in health and wellness benefits already enjoyed by their peers. This includes same-sex partner benefits, transgender healthcare needs and reproductive coverage. Ask yourself whether your organization offers access to healthcare providers and services that your LGBTQIA+ employees deserve.