What to do AFTER Pride Month 2023
As LGBTQ+ Pride Month draws to a close for 2023, it got all of us at Elevate thinking about what companies should do next.
We decided to catch up with Chris Paouros, an independent business consultant and part of our team of experts at Elevate. She delivers talks for Elevate covering the history of Pride and a grounding in LGBTQ+ inclusion. We asked for her thoughts on what businesses can do next, once the celebrations of Pride Month are over for another year.
There isn’t a one-size fits all approach or ‘one thing every company should do’
“I could tell you “here are five things your company should do” but actually, you know your business better than I do.”
That’s Chris’s starting point when we begin discussing next steps for companies who’ve been committed to celebrating Pride for the past month.
“There’s never one answer, no “one thing every company should commit to after Pride Month,” because it depends on the context of the company.”
It’s about awareness and changing the lens you use to view inclusion
The talks Chris offers through Elevate focus on kick-starting further conversations, using statistics and milestone developments to highlight the trajectory and current state of LGBTQ+ rights in the UK and Europe. Getting people talking and thinking from a different perspective is her main objective.
“You can start by updating your understanding. For example, I’m a Trustee for Just Like Us, an LGBTQ+ education charity. Their Positive Futures report, from a survey of 3,695 young people, has some eye-opening findings that all employers need to understand.”
The report found that LGBTQ+ young adults from unsupportive school and home backgrounds were:
- Four times as likely to feel ashamed of being LGBT+ (41% vs 9%)
- Nearly twice as likely to have experienced depression in the past year (82% vs 42%)
- More than three times as likely to ‘never or rarely’ feel optimistic about their future (42% vs 12%)
- Three times more likely to not be confident they’ll have a career they enjoy (48% vs 17%)
- Half as as likely to feel good about themselves (41% vs 89%)
The report also found that 1 in 4 LGBTQ+ individuals who were already out, went back into the closet when they started work, fearing bullying, non-acceptance or reduced career opportunities.
“Those are huge challenges that employers need to be aware of in order to support their LGBTQ+ employees to thrive.”
Employees are looking for inclusive workplaces
“Alongside those statistics, it’s also worth looking at the research showing that among Generation Z and Millennials especially – whether LGBTQ+ or not – there’s a massive percentage of people who want to work for an inclusive employer.”
Deloitte’s 2023 LGBT+ Inclusion at Work Report found that:
- 40% of Gen Z are actively looking to change employer to find a more LGBT+ inclusive environment
- Almost 7 in 10 applicants to new roles cite diversity as a deciding factor in which role they take
“Leaders need to be asking, “how can we be a more LGBTQ+ inclusive business?” Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it will also have a positive impact on your business.”
“It really boils down to, how does your organisation support LGBTQ+ individuals to thrive?”
Pride should highlight or springboard your year-round commitment to inclusion
Whether you missed Pride Month this year entirely, celebrated it for the first time or have an established tradition of celebration, the important thing is what you do next.
Chris says, “Don’t be afraid to talk about what you do on LGBTQ+ inclusion during Pride Month – just make sure it’s backed up by action, your organisation’s culture and inclusive conversations year-round.”
“For example, if you’re going to get speakers in to talk on LGBTQ+ inclusion, don’t just make it in June! Make it part of your year-round approach to starting important conversations in your workplace, and in your ongoing learning and development programme. Look at it in the context of making your business better, not just wanting to do something for Pride.”
“If Pride Month was the starting point for your business, having thought “oh, we should do something!”, don’t let that be the only thing you do. Think about how you will turn that initial month of celebration into an enduring public commitment to inclusivity.”
“You should use Pride products as an opportunity to donate a percentage of your profits from those sales to Pride charities. Include the charity’s branding on the product, donate the funds and attend events the charity runs – not just in Pride Month, but throughout the year.”
“And if you didn’t mark Pride Month at all, there’s no better time to remedy that than right now! Start your commitment to becoming the most inclusive workplace you can be, so that, next Pride Month, you have progress to share and celebrate with your employees.”
“Allow Pride Month to be the jumping off point for a conversation about where you want to go next as a company on LGBTQ+ inclusion.”