Creating Genuine Support for LGBTQ+ Inclusion

Beyond Just Pride Month
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June, globally recognised as Pride Month, is a time when people worldwide come together to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and the strides made towards equality and acceptance. It's a time filled with celebrations, awareness campaigns, events, and, notably, a wave of corporate support as companies globally unite by showcasing the LGBTQ+ flag and colour scheme in their branding. 

But for businesses, particularly in sectors like London Market and Specialty Insurance, it's essential to make this support last beyond just one month. 

As an advocate and ambassador for the LGBTQ+ community, Alex Holliday, Software and Development Recruitment Team Leader at Pioneer, shared some great insights on why and how companies can adopt and demonstrate a year-round commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion (DE&I).

The Pitfalls of Rainbow Washing

Businesses temporarily adopting LGBTQ+ symbols during Pride Month without substantive support for the community has become an all-too-common practice. This superficial display can often do more harm than good, as it may seem more opportunistic than authentic. True commitment to DE&I should be ingrained in every aspect of a company’s operations and culture, ensuring that LGBTQ+ employees and candidates feel valued and supported all year long.

Creating a Welcoming Environment

The process of researching and applying for jobs can be fraught with anxiety at the best of times. There can be a looming worry for LGBTQ+ individuals in particular over being their authentic selves at work or feeling the need to conceal their identity. Companies in the London Market and Specialty Insurance sector must take active steps to address these fears to create a truly inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees and candidates.

A Visible Commitment Beyond Policies

Implementing and promoting supportive policies such as non-discrimination and anti-harassment measures is a good start to showcasing an inclusive workplace, but it is equally important for companies to visibly demonstrate their commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion through actions and representation. This can include:

Inclusive Branding

Your company's employer brand should consistently reflect a diverse and inclusive workplace. This means featuring LGBTQ+ employees in marketing materials such as your website and social media content, and celebrating LGBTQ+ events throughout the year, not just in June.

Open and Honest Communication

Clearly communicate your company’s stance on LGBTQ+ inclusion in job postings, company descriptions, and during interviews. Avoid burying DE&I policies and statements in the small print at the bottom of job descriptions, which is so common now it is almost ignored as small print. 

Respecting Individual Privacy and Consent

Addressing sexual identity is a topic that goes beyond the workplace, and employers should also demonstrate that their efforts to showcase their commitment to diversity and inclusion also respects LGBTQ+ employees’ rights to remain private on this topic. One of the challenges faced by members of the community is the ongoing pressure to ‘come out’ in their personal or professional lives. As an employer, even if you know how someone identifies, you should always seek consent to promote their sexual identity in any way, ensuring that their privacy is respected.

Empowering LGBTQ+ Voices

While respecting individual privacy should be your first priority, you can still openly communicate your business's commitment to supporting and empowering LGBTQ+ voices. Those who feel comfortable sharing their stories will be able to support the creation of testimonials and case studies. This can have a profound impact on potential candidates, assuring them they will be welcome and respected in your workplace.

Sustaining Diversity Beyond Onboarding 

Signposting your commitment to potential candidates should not stop at the onboarding stage. Continuous support is necessary to maintain an inclusive environment. We’ve lost count of the number of circumstances we’ve seen where businesses have done all the right things to showcase a welcoming environment and their commitment to DE&I and then fallen short during the onboarding process when the new employee is exposed to anything from employee handbooks to training. 

Ongoing Training and Initiatives

Provide regular DE&I training sessions to ensure all employees are aware of the importance of inclusivity and how to uphold these values in their daily work. Offer initiatives for employees to join or participate in, such as employee resource groups or events, to further a sense of belonging and support within the company culture. 

Regular Check-Ins

Create an environment where employees feel safe to discuss their concerns and experiences through regular check-ins from their first week. Welcome feedback, stating the importance of being able to make necessary improvements for all employees to feel included and valued. This will help address any issues that may arise and demonstrate a genuine commitment to DE&I beyond just initial onboarding efforts.

Celebrating Diversity and Contributions

Regularly celebrate and acknowledge the contributions of your employees through awards, recognition programmes, and showcase support for DE&I by participating in relevant events and initiatives.

Constant Evolution

To truly affirm diversity and your commitment, ensure you have a roadmap to internally review the effectiveness of your initiatives and activities. This will enable your business to leave no stone unturned and continue to evolve your commitment. For more advice and tips, check out our recent article on how London Market and Speciality Insurance businesses can embrace diversity.  

To sum things up… 

  • A genuinely inclusive environment starts during the hiring process and does not stop at the onboarding process
  • Your employer brand should be visible and consistent in advocating DE&I all year around
  • Be upfront about your DE&I values and policies in all job-related materials
  • Implement and promote comprehensive, supportive benefits and anti-discrimination policies
  • Provide ongoing support through initiatives and regular DE&I training
  • Maintain an open dialogue with LGBTQ+ employees and celebrate diversity beyond Pride Month

By incorporating these practices into core operations, companies can go beyond superficial gestures and truly embrace the spirit of Pride—establishing a workplace where every individual feels seen, respected, and valued, regardless of the time of year.

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