Insights and Perspectives

Insights and Perspectives

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Honoring Pride Month: Best Practices for Inclusive Hiring Graphic with Rainbow Heart

Origins of Pride Month

Pride month is the annual celebration of the contributions of the LGBTQIA+ community to history, society, and culture. Pride, whose acronym stands for Personal Rights in Defense and Education, highlights the ongoing issues within the community such as discrimination, violence, and legal inequalities. The origins of the gay rights movement dates back to the early 1900s, when many basic civil rights were largely denied to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. North American and European individuals began creating gay and lesbian organizations such as the Society for Human Rights, founded in Chicago during the 1920s by activist Henry Gerber.

In June 1969, a popular gay bar in New York City called the Stonewall Inn was raided by law enforcement. Police officers forcibly removed individuals and employees from the bar, and confrontations quickly escalated. This five-day-long event was marked with riots and protests, becoming a pivotal moment for the LGBTQIA+ rights movement.

The Stonewall Uprising was so pivotal, in fact, that just one year later the first Pride marches were held in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Thousands of LGBTQIA+ people and their allies came together to commemorate Stonewall, celebrate their pride, and advocate for equal rights. Fast forward to 2024, and Pride is now celebrated every June, honoring the achievements of LGBTQIA+ individuals in arts, culture, science, and politics and serves as an expression of self-acceptance and love. Throughout the month of June, cities across the U.S. celebrate with parades, parties, and events featuring the rainbow flag, a reflection of diversity in the community and the spectrum of human sexuality and gender 

More recently in June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQIA+ workers are protected from discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While this ruling was a significant step forward for LGBTQIA+ equality, further efforts are needed to ensure inclusive policies and practices are adopted across both personal and professional spaces. 

Creating Inclusivity in the Workplace 

Over 8 million workers in the U.S. identify as LGBTQIA+ and discrimination in the workplace remains a critical issue. Many LGBTQIA+ individuals face barriers finding employment and advancement due to biases and prejudice. A survey conducted by Williams Institute School of Law found the over 45% of LGBTQIA+ workers reported experiencing unfair treatment at work, including being fired, not hired, or harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity at some point in their lives.

In today's workforce, establishing inclusive recruitment processes and creating inclusive job descriptions is an essential first step for attracting a wide range of talented candidates, including those from the LGBTQIA+ community. Here are just a few guidelines that employers can follow to create a more inviting, inclusive workplace: 

Writing Job Descriptions Using Inclusive Language 

Gender-coded words decrease apply rates and increase the cost per application. Removing them will increase the likelihood of attracting more talent from diverse groups. Avoid using gendered language by using gender-neutral terns like ‘they/them’ instead of ‘he/she’ and avoid job titles that imply a specific gender, such as ‘Salesman’ instead use the term ‘Salesperson’. It may be difficult to catch all gendered language in job descriptions, however there are online tools or software that can analyze job descriptions and suggest improvements to make the language more inclusive to all applicants. 

Highlight Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion 

Include a statement about the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion on a front-and-center public platform. This shows LGBTQIA+ candidates that the company welcomes and values diverse individuals. Additionally, adding inclusive phrases within job description can attract a more diverse talented group of individuals. Include phrases that are welcoming, such as “We encourage applicants from all backgrounds and identities.” Most candidates value seeing a D&I commitment when they are looking for jobs to apply for. 

Remove Unconscious Bias in Recruitment  

There are many types of unconscious bias that can occur when hiring. Stonewall found that 18% of LGBTQIA+ people who were looking for work were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Employers and their human resource departments need to work together to remove unconscious biases within their recruitment process and training and create greater awareness across their enterprise. One practice an organization can use to reduce unconscious bias is to practice ‘blind recruitment’ which involves removing all personal details from job applications. 

Expand Recruiting Channels 

Expanding recruiting channels for LGBTQIA+ individuals involves reaching out through various platforms and avenues to ensure inclusivity and accessibility. Post job openings on platforms and job boards that support diverse communities, including LGBTQIA+ networks, and partner with organizations to participate in career fairs or events that focus on diverse talent pools. Using these channels can attract candidates from various backgrounds more effectively than traditional channels. 

Show your PRIDE! 

Show your pride all year long, not just in June! A company can showcase its pride by implementing inclusive policies and offering support for their LGBTQIA+ employees. Celebrate LGBTQIA+ awareness days, such as National Coming Out Day or Transgender Day of Visibility, through internal communications, events, or educational initiatives. Finally, by listening to LGBTQIA+ voices and being accepting, companies can show their pride and make everyone feel valued. 

Being a True Ally: Geographic Solutions’ Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion  

At Geographic Solutions, we encourage everyone to be themselves without fear of discrimination. We have designed guidelines and put programs in place to make sure our workplace is fair, inclusive, and diversly represented. Geographic Solutions operates under an Equal Opportunity and Non-Discriminatory Policy and has a Zero-Tolerance Policy for Harassment.

In 2023, we aimed to hire more diverse talent and ended up exceeding our goal with an 18% increase. While it is illegal to ask applicants and current employees about personal characteristics that are protected by law (including race, color, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) it is safe to say with an employee count of 500, our staff’s gender and sexual identification spans a diverse range. It is our job to make sure that each and every employee feels welcome, accepted, and supported.

One of our best initiatives is our employee-run Inclusion Committee, which organizes events and resources to celebrate our diverse workforce. The Inclusion Committee has representation from a broad range of ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, national origins, gender identities or expressions, abilities, and age ranges. The Inclusion Committee organizes events, offers resources, creates support groups, and more to foster inclusion. With over 50 nationalities represented, we are proud of the diversity in our team and want to keep attracting and celebrating talent from every background.

Pride Month is a great time to reflect and revisit inclusive practices, procedures, and culture, ensuring that your workplace is doing everything it can to support the LGBTQIA+ community. Our own company revisits policies, procedures, and gages workplace culture on an ongoing basis. Together, we can create a more inclusive workplace for all. 

 

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