June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Business and personal insights. What this means to you.

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month - Business and personal insights. What this means to you.

New York State Governor appointed Worldpride Ambassador, Ad Industry veteran and Phoenix collaborator

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the first Pride March held in New York City in 1970, the year following the June 1969 Stonewall Uprising.

While these are both monumental moments in history, what does this mean to you from a corporate HR and marketing standpoint?

In today’s increasingly diverse world, it is critically important to have a workforce team reflective of that world. We have long known that the greater diversity of thought and experience applied to complex problems, the greater the chance of finding powerful pragmatic solutions.

Most studies estimate that the visible LGBTQ community is about 4% of the US population or roughly 12 million people. To attract and retain members of this community, it is important to have a workplace that is not just diverse, but an environment of inclusivity that encourages everyone to have a voice.

A great way to encourage this platform of inclusivity and diversity is to celebrate your employees and talk about who they are. Everyone’s life journeys are different and that is what makes us all unique. Encourage them to talk about their challenges, because it is in overcoming a challenge that each person can become a role model for another struggling to find a solution to a similar challenge. Overcoming challenges give us strength.

Oftentimes, internal company policies are not completely inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community’s needs, especially when it comes to health care coverage and parental leave. Listening to some of the challenges faced can afford you the opportunity to be more understanding of the issues faced as well as ways to become more accommodating.

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Diversity training, unconscious bias training, and other avenues that encourage learning are great tools to make available to your employees to ensure an accepting and welcoming workplace that fosters understanding and education.

When an employee truly feels like they can bring their whole, authentic self, to all facets of their life, both work and personal, it is the greatest gift that you can give to the rest of the world.

While the month of June typically brings an increase in pride-related marketing campaigns and brand logos with a rainbow flare, proudly on display, it’s important to understand the difference between genuine support and commercialization. From a marketing perspective, the way you address Pride Month can impact your corporate reputation in a positive or negative manner. When marketing directly to the LGBTQ+ community, it is paramount that your own house is in order. Simply slapping a rainbow flag or logo on a product, service or website can be a detriment if internally you don’t demonstrate the same inclusive behaviors.

Outside of June being Pride Month, companies should take time to review their policies and practices as well as review how they currently support the LGBTQ+ community and how they can improve to create a true environment where employees and consumers feel authentic support. Consumers not only notice, but they are holding brands and companies accountable.

Make these practices visible on your public-facing website and communications. Engage and lean on organizations such as PFLAG, GLAAD, and HRC. They can work with you to ensure putting your best foot forward. If your company is not listed in the HRC-CEI, then seek to get rated by them. If you are rated and your rating is not at 100%, make sure that you do what it takes to get there. This is your validation that your company is diverse and welcoming to all.

Marketing during Pride month shouldn’t feel forced. It’s a time to celebrate and show up for the LGBTQ+ community. Inclusive marketing and allyship should be something that happens throughout the year, not just in June. Showing your support and commitment to diversity and inclusivity through representation, community initiatives and the like, shows a level of social responsibility that consumers can appreciate.

For more information on Angie and her work with the LGBTQ+ Community:

Angie speaking with the First Unitarian Society of Westchester

America’s First Transgender District

Worldpride 2019