The Stonewall Riots are considered to be a spark that ignited the gay rights movement and now, 5 decades later, June is internationally celebrated as LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
On the 28th of June 1969, New York City police stormed the Stonewall Inn, a bar in Greenwich Village that catered to the gay community. This was a routine raid and arrest targeting any individuals found to be cross dressing. The police were met with fierce resistance by both the owners and the patrons of the bar resulting in 6 days of riots and unrest.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
As a gay-owned business, tolerance and inclusiveness were essentially built into the brand from the day that we started. Since our founding in 2015, we’ve worked hard to ensure that people from all walks of life have equal access to opportunities at the company.
This is why celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Month is so important to us. We are so proud to have taken the FSB LGBTQ+ small business owner pledge to:
Stand by the LGBTQ+ community
Support LGBTQ+ people we interact with through our business, including staff, customers, colleagues or suppliers
Call out homophobic behaviour as long as we feel safe, and if we see anyone affected, we will express support and be there for them
Diversity in the workplace is not only good for employees; it’s good for business! The business case for diversity and inclusion is stronger than ever. McKinsey & Co studies find that diverse companies are more likely to financially outperform their peers. Having diverse staff also enables companies to understand and meet the needs of clients from diverse backgrounds while supporting positive relationships and communications.
When leaders champion, cultivate and nurture inclusivity there are many positive outcomes. People feel included which leads them to give themselves fully to the shared goals of their team or organisation. This increased productivity results not only in financial gain but also drives innovation. Diverse teams have been shown time and again to perform better when it comes down to long term outcomes.
Embracing diversity and inclusion
Embracing diversity and inclusion also allows companies to attract and retain staff in a time when there is significant competition for highly qualified employees. Stonewall, an LGBTQ+ rights charity in the United Kingdom, reported that the turnover of employees that identify themselves as a member of the LGBTQ+ community is considerably lower in organisations that are diverse and supportive.
Studies have shown that retention is up to 50% higher in LGBTQ+ inclusive organisations. People want to work where they feel welcome and safe and 25% of LGBTQ+ individuals report staying in their jobs due to their work environment and the feeling of safety and inclusion.
“Diversity is being asked to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
Verna Myers, Author The part we play as employers
Although LGBTQ+ Pride Month is undoubtedly a time for celebrating individuality and freedom to be our authentic selves, it is also here to raise awareness of historical and current challenges. Despite all the progress we have made as a society, members of the LGBTQ+ community still face many challenges both at work and in their public life.
UK legislation for sexual orientation discrimination has been in place since 2003.
The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal to discriminate, harass or victimise an employee or colleague due to their sexual orientation.
According to the CIPD report titled ‘Inclusion at Work: Perspectives on LGBTQ+ Working Life’ LGBT, LGBTQ+ employees are more likely to face workplace conflict and harassment. 40% of LGBTQ+ employees and 55% of trans employees had experienced such conflict, compared to 29% of heterosexual employees. Data shows that discrimination has increased by 165% since 2015.
We must all make strive to change toxic workplace behaviours which cause people to live in fear of openly being who they are. We need to actively work on developing a greater understanding of ALL individuals and their need for a safe working environment. Inclusion is a journey, not a fixed destination. Set up systems and processes to encourage, support, protect and celebrate it.
The Benefits of a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace
The benefits of building a diverse and inclusive workplace:
- Creative solutions
- Attract and retain the best talent
- Mirror diverse consumer base
- Increase market share
- Increase innovation
- Allow individuals to be the best that they can be
How to be an Inclusive Leader
- Develop awareness of your own bias
- Be your authentic self
- Be a Role Model & Mentor
- Listen before Leading
- Encourage employees to speak up
- Create a safe environment for open and respectful communication
- Openly discuss the value of diversity, and diversity of thought, in achieving team goals
- Add D&I to all your team meeting agendas
- Bring inclusion to your recruitment and promotion processes and procedures
- Establish metrics and hold yourself and others accountable
It is important that we at Focus7 have a forward-thinking business. We prioritise both our team, which delivers consistently excellent work, and the client partnerships that have helped us establish ourselves. Find out what the team says about working at Focus7 in our latest Newsletter.
With all this in mind, we thank you for your continued support and wish you a good LGBTQ+ Pride month.
With passion and professionalism in abundance, Vida Barr-Jones has an impressive track record of establishing and meeting business goals. Vida brings 34 years of commercial experience, having spent eleven years as a Board Director at Europe’s largest FTSE-listed office products wholesaler. Vida is an inspirational leader known for excellent communication and engagement across all levels.