• Leah Norman

PRIDE in our NZ Workplaces

Are you doing enough for your LGBTQI employees?

June is a very big month as it celebrates and highlights issues concerning many marginalised groups of people, not just here in NZ, but internationally (think Juneteenth). So while many major organisations worldwide are forced to face issues around racism and the lack of senior leadership diversity, June also commemorates Pride month - a month dedicated to reflecting the diversity of our queer communities and celebrate culture, sexual orientation and gender identity, connecting past, present, and future; proving there is space to address more than one pertinent topic and build a better, safer world for everyone.

Unfortunately, still in 2021, LGBTQI individuals often experience disproportionate levels of prejudice and bullying at work and elsewhere (with as many as one in three LGBTQI employees at having witnessed harassment or discrimination at work), and while attitudes are changing, it’s only been improving slowly. Homophobic bullying in the workplace is prevalent, even if it’s not entirely deliberate. Microaggressions like using ‘gay’ as a negative term for something you don't like is just as much bullying as directly singling someone out. And individuals can be subconsciously passed over for promotion or pay rises purely based on their sexuality.

So what can you do?

  • Foster a positive work environment: Put LGBTQI-supportive policies in place and send a signal to your team as well as potential employees that you operate in a positive and diverse climate, promoting fairness among all employees. When employees feel that their work environment is more inclusive, fairer and supportive, they tend to be happier, healthier and more productive.

  • Establish a support network: An internal support network or forum is a great way to show a commitment to diversity and give people who need it a voice for their concerns.

  • Embrace changing attitudes: Emphasise your own workplace's positivity toward changing attitudes by, for instance, moving toward gender-neutral language. Gender-neutral language avoids bias towards a particular gender.

  • Get involved: Look for opportunities to support local LGBTQI events or start organising regular fundraising or volunteer opportunities for your team members.

Over the past few years, Yellow Consulting has worked with a number of organisations to assist them in encouraging their employees to bring their whole selves to work. Making a special effort to ensure employees feel comfortable and accepted, as we wholeheartedly welcome diversity while working towards obtaining their Rainbow Tick Accreditation, a process that looks at five areas; policy, staff training, staff engagement and organisational support, external engagement and monitoring.

This tick is awarded to companies that understand, value and welcome sexual and gender diversity. Essentially, it is a a diversity and inclusion certification designed to show that a workplace is "safe and welcoming" for LGBTQI people.

More information about the Rainbow Tick Accreditation can be found here; https://www.rainbowtick.nz/

Disclaimer This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for professional advice. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.