Pride Month & It’s Impact on the Workplace

What is Pride month?

The concept of Pride month, is a recognition and celebration of LGBTQ+ history inspired by the New York Stonewall Riots in 1969. This seminal event took place on 28th June 1969, and is regarded as a major turning point in challenging the legal and societal discrimination the community faced in the US and around the world. Far from a celebration, the origins of pride are rooted in protest, and the activism associated in supporting and protecting the community.

Owing to this event taking place in June, it has evolved to be a long-term celebration and recognition of these events, with many Pride events taking place in this month.

Pride has progressed since these early days, and is now an opportunity for individuals, communities and organisations to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community to promote diversity, inclusion and acceptance. Some people may ask, why does it matter that a workplace recognises Pride – the answer is simple. People spend around a third of their life at work, and it’s essential that any LGBTQ+ employees or colleagues feel welcome, accepted and supported.

Why does Pride matter in 2024?

Whilst in most places, acceptance and integration of the LGBTQ+ community has progressed dramatically since 1969, there is still a long way to go in increasing representation and challenging negative attitudes.

In fact, some research demonstrates that attitudes are going backwards, stoked by outspoken voices sharing increasingly challenging and polarising views that are dividing communities and encouraging negative behaviour towards the community.

 Anti-abuse charity, Galop, reported that in 2023, they saw a 60% rise in individuals seeking support following falling victim to a hate crime.

Generally speaking, being ‘out’ is easier and more accepted than the discrimination faced mere decades ago, but this dramatic increase in intolerant and violent behaviour demonstrates the continued need for Pride in 2024.

It’s an opportunity for allies to learn more about what their LGBTQ+ colleagues face on a day to day basis, to increase understanding and drive positive progress. Through this increased acceptances, more individuals will feel open to be their authentic selves, which has positive knock on effects for the workplace.

Pride in the workplace

So what does Pride mean in the context of the workplace?

Research has shown that employees who don’t feel able to be ‘out’ at work, are up to 30% less productive than their out colleagues. Hiding ones true self takes a lot of mental time and energy, and can be enormously distracting in an employees day-to-day work life.

Having a workplace that is openly diverse and inclusive is essential in allowing employees to feel comfortable in their skin, so they’re able to be their true selves. This inclusion then fosters growth, creativity and better integration amongst individuals and teams as they better understand one another.

Our differences are what make us great, and a wide variety of perspective in the workplace is essential to ensure we’re all working at our best.

We spoke to our Head of Brand & Marketing, Ollie, to get his perspective on why supporting Pride at work is important:

“I think the biggest barrier to equality and acceptance is ignorance. And Pride Month is a great opportunity to counteract that ignorance. Someone’s sexuality doesn’t impact their ability to do their job, and shouldn’t impact the way others around them behave towards LGBTQ+ individuals. We’re lucky that at Romero in that everyone is accepting, welcoming and understanding.
Whilst the workplace isn’t going to solve everything, raising awareness, encouraging open-mindedness and celebrating the contributions of the LGBTQ+ will hopefully spill out into everyday life.
In my mind, if raising awareness changes one mind. Or makes the life of one LGBTQ+ person that little bit better, at work or at home. Then any celebration of Pride Month in the workplace has been a success.”

An employers’ legal responsibilities

Not only will recognising and supporting your LGBTQ+ employees help boost morale and productivity, employers’ also have a legal responsibility to prevent discrimination.

The Equality Act 2010 is the key piece of legislation that sets out the legal basis of unacceptable behaviour surrounding protected characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender reassignment. The Act is clear that an individual should not be treated less favourably due to their sexual orientation or gender reassignment.

The duty to protect against discrimination does not only exist when an individual becomes an employee and is triggered from as early as a job advertisement. It is essential businesses ensure candidate requirements, selection processes and their treatment of employees are always set against an objective criteria that does not in any way consider an individual’s sexual orientation or gender reassignment.

Celebrating diversity

Employers should make sure that they are not showing awareness for awareness’s sake. Employees and the public will see through this immediately and can have a negative impact not only on employee experience, but on public perception and reputation of your organisation.

It’s also something that shouldn’t be done at one time of year. Yes, Pride Month is a great opportunity to boost celebrations, but equality, diversity and inclusion should always be at the heart of how a business operates.

Organisations should actively nurture a diverse workforce, not treat it like a tick-box exercise. Then celebrate the workforce’s diversity for the workforce, not for external recognition.

Further positive actions companies can take is to develop a peer-led network. Larger companies could create an internal platform for workers to co-ordinate a support network, such as a focus group of LGBT+ individuals and allies.

Smaller companies could access a pre-existing industry network, such as Link.

“I hadn’t heard about Link before working in insurance,” says Ollie “They have some great resources and run events throughout the year like monthly drink nights-out.”

We ask Ollie whether LGBT+ History Month should be celebrated in the workplace: “Absolutely. It’s a chance to celebrate diversity, and a way of understanding our colleagues and people in general. Some might say work life should be separated, but I say if you are going to work effectively with a team member, you should try to understand them and be respectful.”

“There are still talking-points which come as a shock to my colleagues. For example, travel is more difficult as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. There are many popular holiday destinations where it wouldn’t be safe to travel to, including high profile holiday destinations such as Dubai and the Maldives. There is even a list ranking countries in order of how safe or unsafe they are for LGBTQ+ individuals – it still shocks my colleagues when I tell them this.”

At Romero, we’re also incredibly proud of our work to support and promote diversity, equality and inclusion across our business. Our work recently saw us recognised with the Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award at the Insurance Times Awards, and as part of the AssuredPartners group, we have access to their inspiring Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging strategy, supporting employees across the group.

Further reading

To learn more about Pride month, there are some great articles going into more depth about it from Inclusive Employers, and The BBC.

In addition, The FSB have a resources section helping businesses show their support for Pride month and it’s LGBTQ+ employees.

You can also see more about our culture, and how we support our team to be who they are on our careers site.

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