June is here, meaning that it’s Pride month. And for the first time in two years, much of the world’s Pride celebrations will be restriction-free.
Companies often join in on the celebration by sponsoring Pride parades and working the Pride flag into their branding. But what happens to companies when Pride month ends? The initiatives of the month are often forgotten.
While it’s important for your business to show support for the LGBTQ+ community during June, it’s key to be authentic and consistent with your support throughout the year. This is especially true for those who keep your business going: your employees.
If you want to learn the responsibilities of companies after Pride month, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the top 5 ways to take your support for your LGBTQ+ employees beyond June Pride month.
1. Respect other people’s pronouns
One of the simplest yet most impactful ways for companies after pride month to support their employees is by using and respecting everyone’s preferred pronouns.
To start, ask for job applicants to include their preferred pronouns with their application. This way, everyone is on the same page before an interview.
You want to avoid assuming someone’s pronouns based on how they look. If you’re not sure, ask. Better yet, make an effort to learn your employees’ pronouns as soon as you meet them.
Create a safe space by first introducing yourself with your pronouns. This allows your employee to comfortably tell you their pronouns and get it out of the way.
Encouraging your employees to indicate their pronouns on tools like Slack or in their Zoom names further normalizes sharing your pronouns and acts a friendly reminder for your team!
What’s more, if your employee prefers a name that is not their legal name, respect them by using their preferred name.
If you accidentally misgender someone, here are the three things you should do:
- Correct yourself.
- Move on.
Don’t be overly apologetic or make the moment about you. The best apology is to try to do better.
2. Provide channels for feedback
A key part of evolving as a company is listening to your employees.
There may be flaws in your current company culture that may not make all of your employees feel safe .
To fix that, you should provide a space for them to give you feedback directly or anonymously, and act on that feedback.
An essential part of supporting your LGBTQ+ employees year-round is to not take criticism personally. You may not realize that your actions hurt your employees, but you have the power to fix the problem and ensure that everyone feels comfortable at their job.
June Pride month is a good time to open the door for feedback if you haven’t already. However, continuous feedback for companies when pride month ends is the best way to ensure long-lasting, psychological safety for all your employees.
3. Stay up to date with current events
How often do you see something happen in the news and brush it off because it doesn’t immediately affect you? We’re all guilty of it. But when you manage a team, it’s important to consider their needs.
Human rights are an everyday issue. June Pride month isn’t the only time that the LGBTQ+ community exists, and unfortunately, its members experience hardships throughout much of the year.
There are continuous discussions and changes in laws and policies that affect minority groups, including the LGBTQ+ community.
When you keep up with these changes and address them, it shows your team that you pay attention and care.
Beyond that, Pride isn’t the only awareness celebration for the LGBTQ+ community. Learn about the other awareness days that affect the LGBTQ+ community for year-round awareness.
Here are just a few additional dates to put on your calendar:
- March: Bisexual Health Awareness Month and Women’s History.
- March 31: International Transgender Day of Visibility.
- May 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
- June 28: The Stonewall Riots Anniversary.
- November: Transgender Awareness Month.
By staying mindful of these dates, you’re automatically in a better position to support your employees and become known as one of the authentic companies when Pride month ends.
4. Strive for representation at all levels of your organization
Another positive move for companies after pride month is to encourage diverse representation across their organization.
It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean filling a quota or pushing for anyone to share information they don’t want to.
In fact, many people never disclose their full identity at work. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 46% of LGBTQ+ employees are closeted at work.
However, you should still stay mindful of building a diverse company that encourages people to be their authentic selves.
Take a close look at your company. If your leadership positions are comprised of all cisgender heterosexual men, ask yourself why that is and whether it’s time to reframe your hiring processes.
You may not prioritize LGBTQ+ values or other values of marginalized communities in your recruitment process to attract a wide range of candidates.
5. Continue to educate yourself
June Pride month should not be the end of your LGBTQ+ support.
The most effective way for companies when pride month ends to maintain LGBTQ+ support is to educate themselves year-round. Here are some ways to do that:
- Train all staff on discrimination policies.
- Seek LGBTQ+ literature.
- Learn the proper terminology.
- Encourage open conversations.
Business owners and managers have control over their companies when pride month ends and have a responsibility to continue to educate their employees throughout the year.
Don’t forget: Listen to your employees’ experiences, but only if they choose to share. It is not your employees’ responsibility to educate you.
Bonus: Put your money (and time) where your mouth is
Throwing a rainbow logo on your social media is often seen as a poor attempt by companies at allyship. Instead of this performative action, think about how your company positively impacts the LGBTQ+ community.
Here are a few examples to get the ball rolling:
- Start a scholarship fund for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
- Donate your time and capital to a local charity that supports LGBTQ+ people in need.
- Invest in unconscious bias training for your employees.
Recap: Companies when Pride month ends.
Companies after Pride month should continue to work with their LGBTQ+ employees to foster a safe and comfortable environment for all.
This Pride month, here’s how to make a long-term impact:
- Respect others’ pronouns.
- Provide channels for feedback.
- Stay up to date with current events.
- Encourage representation across your organization.
- Educate yourself.
- Look for actionable ways to support your local LGBTQ+ community.
Image credit: Mercedes Mehling via Unsplash