Will you join one of the many parades, events, or workshops that will take place during June in occasion of Pride Month?
The Nexio Projects team is there but more importantly, let’s reflect on the promotion of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI - on the workplace) towards the LGBTQ+ community all year round.
Pride Month is celebrated in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots. Those kickstarted the movement to put a stop to discriminatory laws, practices, and behaviours against queer (LGBTQ+) people.
Figure 1. 1969 Stonewall riots
It is also an occasion to promote the equal and equitable rights of LGBTQ+ people, celebrate queer culture, sexual and gender diversity, and raise awareness on all these topics.
The formal protection of LGBTQ+ people is guaranteed through laws and regulations, such as:
- Article 21 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights – to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation;
- Directive 2000/78/EC – against discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation.
Nevertheless, statistics still point out a long way to go for LGBTQ+ full inclusion at work and equality.
According to the survey conducted by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (2020), around 20% of respondents (for the groups: lesbian, gay, and bisexual) witnessed some sort of discrimination at work. The percentage grows to 35% with respect to the category of transgender employees.
Data differs significantly across European countries. Percentages of respondents experiencing discrimination for their sexual orientation in the workplace range from 32% in Lithuania and 31% in Greece, to 13% across Czechia, Finland and the Netherlands.
Improvements to be made on the issue can also be tied back to benefits companies can draw from diversity at work. Specifically, multiple studies associate a diverse team with increased creativity, more effective decision-making, and better results and performance (Forbes, 2019).
So, without further ado, let’s dive into all that you need to know about developing a DEI Strategy and fostering inclusivity within your organisation.
Why DEI needs to be part of your sustainability strategy?
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) refers to all the policies and initiatives organisations can adopt to promote the representation and participation of diverse groups of individuals. These can differ per age, ethnicity, abilities, gender, sexual orientation, and so on.
Therefore, the LGBTQ+ community falls within the categories directly interested in these programmes.
Giving space to queer people within your organisation can also strongly boost your sustainability strategy. Indeed, LGBTQ+ communities manifest strong awareness of social and environmental injustice, proving to be more involved in environmental activism and share a more empathetic and inclusive way forward.
In terms of business performance, multiple USA-based studies suggest how LGBTQ+ inclusive companies attract better talent and witness a lower employee turnover. Particularly, the latter can be associated with higher employee’s satisfaction.
Finally, studies show how the formalisation of inclusive workplace practices translates into an increased company stock performance (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 2019).
Do’s and Don’ts for companies
We can, by no means, claim that this is an exhaustive list. These are the suggestions we could think of and would like to recommend. We invite especially people within the LGBTQ+ community to add to this list and share both best practices and experiences.
- Participate in queer / LGBTQ+ friendly events;
- Make it a safe space for queer people to be their authentic self at work;
- Host workshops, trainings or discussion sessions to improve the understanding of the LGBTQ+ community;
- Listen to queer people’s voices when they explain their struggles;
- Respect pronouns;
- Challenge homo/bi/transphobic comments and jokes when you hear them both in private and public;
- Educate yourself on the topic of Queer people as it’s a big demographic that exists and will continue to exist;
- Make an effort to understand queer colleagues;
- Ask respectful clarifying questions if needed. However, keep in mind that the person is not obligated to answer them, nor are they simply a source of information.
Sexuality, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression can be confusing to people outside of the community, and oftentimes information about how someone identifies isn't widely available. Asking clarifying but genuine questions of interest would be a way to understand and empathise with the queer community. However, keep in mind that it is generally a good idea to search online if you know very little or nothing.
Otherwise, questions to truly empathise with a queer person, thus appreciated, can be:
- "How do I accommodate and make it a safe space for you?";
- "How can I help and support you?";
- "What are your preferred pronouns?";
- "What kind of things might a queer and/or trans person goes through when coming out?".
- Make inappropriate jokes at work (and outside of work);
- Treat someone unfairly based on their sexuality, gender expression, gender identity;
- Out someone who is in the closet;
- Use gendered language in official papers and documents;
- Don’t be complacent when you witness unfairness towards queer people (Speak up!);
- Assume everyone is cisgendered or straight;
- Make it about you when people of the LGBTQ+ community is sharing their stories or perspective. It is important to hear a queer person’s perspective;
- “I knew it” when someone comes out;
- Use queer-phobic slurs / Be a bystander when someone makes a queer-phobic joke;
- Treat someone differently after they come out to you.
What we do at Nexio Projects
Unbiased hiring process
We believe recruitment should be based on one’s abilities and fit to the organisation’s values and culture. All the rest shouldn’t matter. To avoid biased hiring, we’ve partnered up with Equalture.
Equalture offers a game-based assessment technology that evaluates candidates based on cognitive and behavioural skills. The goal is to give every person the exact same chance to be hired for a job.
If you’d like to have a deeper look into how the technology works, have a look below to find out how we use it here at Nexio Projects.
At Nexio Projects, applicants can choose their preferred pronoun with filling the application form process.
We use pronouns when referring to someone without using the person’s name (he/him, she/her, they/them, or other). Usually, it is common to assume someone’s pronouns based on the way we perceive their gender identity. Nevertheless, not everyone’s gender expression corresponds to their gender identity. Therefore, these types of assumptions can produce negative effects on a person’s mental wellbeing.
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, visit the International Pronouns Day webpage to get access to a lot of different resources on the matter.
Protecting our people
We have anti-bullying and harassment policies in place meant to safeguard our employees and in particular LGBTQ+ people.
From our Policy Handbook, Nexio Projects aims to:
“Create a workplace free of harassment, and discrimination to make all employees comfortable, providing awareness trainings and the necessary communication channels.”
“Ensure a 0% discrimination and/or harassment rate when conducting any form of business activity.”
Attending Pride and Ballroom events
We like to stay informed about events related to Pride or DEI in general. Once identified, they are tracked in our list of relevant dates and events and mentioned during the morning meeting we have every Tuesday with the whole team.
The goal is to make sure all employees are aware of them, promote openness, foster discussion, and put forward an open invitation to take part in the initiatives.
This year, our Nexio Team members attended the Pride parade held in Utrecht on the 4th of June. It was an occasion to support the queer community, while also spending quality time together outside of work. Moreover, we are attending the Rotterdam Pride parade on June 18 and the Vogue Ballroom on June 26.
Never stop learning
In line with one of our core values – creativity – we believe every occasion is good to learn something new.
As education and awareness are the first steps towards understanding and removing bias, we monthly host the so-called Lunch & Learns. They revolve around various topics, and LGBTQ+ and DEI have come up as relevant multiple times.
Diversity within the recruitment panel
We’re happy and proud that the Nexio Projects team is diverse and inclusive. This helps us be aware of biases and work on ourselves to avoid them. Moreover, it fosters mutual understanding between team members, and it allows for a safe space, not only through company policies, but also through our culture, the way we interact, and the relationships we build.