In June, LGBTQ+ communities and allies all over the world come together to celebrate Pride– the freedom to be yourself, no matter how you identify or who you love. As community celebrations continue throughout the month, we want to bring focus to one of the key communities in our lives: the place we work. Championing Pride, and the inclusivity that it represents, is just as important inside of the workplace as it is outside of it.
At Quantcast, we are proud to have received a score of 100 for three consecutive years from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies, practices, and benefits pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer employees. We believe that building an environment of inclusivity and belonging is crucial in supporting our team members to create a better workplace and a better world.
We welcome companies across industries and geographies to join us in practices that support LGBTQ+ employees. Here’s how:
Launch an employee resource group dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community
One of the best ways to build a community of LGBTQ+ employees and allies within a company is starting an Employee Resource Group (ERG) dedicated to fostering an open dialogue and advancing the interests of and solving issues important to the group’s members. Through an ERG, you can establish executive support for the group and have a platform to lobby for LGBTQ+-inclusive training, policies, and practices. Beyond representing the interests of a contingent of employees, ERGs are also a great opportunity for team members to get to know each other and build relationships with others who have common interests in the organization. This group can also help organize important events throughout the year–like celebrating Pride Month or Transgender Day of Remembrance.
At Quantcast, a group of employees and I began our Pride Alliance at Quantcast ERG in 2016. Five years later, we have a thriving group of LGBTQ+ Quancasters and allies that meet monthly to welcome both new and tenured employees. The group gives us a home within the organization, an opportunity to organize events for all employees, and discuss topics we’d like to advocate for to our leadership team. One of our proudest achievements was leading the charge in making sure our company policies reflected our needs, which secured our standing on the Corporate Equality Index.
Establish policies and benefits that protect and support employees
When building out HR policies, it’s important to consider the interests of the LGBTQ+ team members within your organization. Include language in your policies that employees cannot be discriminated against for sexual orientation or gender identity. Just as important, make sure your benefits offerings cater to the needs of the community. Provide health care benefits for same-sex partners, whether they are married or domestic partners. Offer transgender-inclusive health care options such as gender dysphoria services. Consider those who wish to have children and may need support with infertility benefits or adoption leave. Finally, offer mental health services with support options specifically for those in the LGBTQ+ community.
Foster an open dialogue
Last, but not least, create an environment in your workplace where all employees feel supported and comfortable being themselves. There are simple ways to incorporate these practices into your everyday conversation at the office: for example, don’t assume the gender of a colleague’s significant other. Ask, “When did you meet your partner?” instead of “When did you meet him/her?” Using a coworker’s preferred pronouns is another easy way to ensure you’re creating a welcoming environment. If you’re not sure of a colleague’s pronouns, it’s better to ask than assume. To go the extra mile, add pronouns to your email signature, social media profiles, or collaboration tools (e.g., Slack) to make it easier for others to share, too.
As you celebrate Pride this month, it is a great opportunity to reflect on how you as an individual and your company as a whole can create a more inclusive environment for the LGBTQ+ members of your organization. Creating this space for belonging will benefit you, your colleagues, and all of your team members.
Stay tuned to the blog for more as we celebrate Pride. You can also get to know the executive sponsor of Quantcast’s Pride Alliance, Somer Simpson, on the blog.