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A lot has changed in our workplaces in the past year. But the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion hasn’t gone anywhere. And neither has the joy and power of recognizing the full value of everyone on your team. So today, we’re going to talk about how to celebrate your LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace during Pride Month 2023, even if your workplace is remote.
What is Pride Month?
So, let’s start with the basics. Around the world, June is recognized as LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) Pride Month to commemorate a tipping point in queer history — the Stonewall Uprising, which lasted 6 days in Manhattan in June 1969 as police clashed with LGBTQ protesters.
(As a side note: Some people expand the LGBTQ+ acronym to LGBTQIA+, where the additional letters stand for queer, intersex, and asexual. There are many variations. But — to throw some more letters at you — the tl;dr is that you don’t have to fall into one of these categories to celebrate Pride. Pride can, and should, be celebrated by all, even if you identify as straight or aren’t sure how you identify at all!)
Today, Pride celebrations attract millions of participants each year as queer communities and allies honor the queer identity through parades, workshops, parties, picnics, lectures, concerts, and more.
Create welcoming workplaces year-round.
2023 Workplace Inclusivity Calendar
Why is it important to celebrate Pride in the workplace?
We must not forget that the first Pride was not a celebration. It was a riot led by queer people of color. Pride was born out of a struggle.
Forced into lock down during the pandemic brought struggle back into the lives of many in our LGBTQ+ communities. One can only imagine the sense of isolation felt by those sharing places and spaces with unsupportive, less-than-accepting family members.
Regardless of our working arrangements, whether remote or onsite, it’s important to celebrate Pride. To be innovative in finding ways that embrace the now normal. To create a workplace for all to feel connected and safe.
Here’s how the People and Culture team do that at WorkTango. You can do it too.
Bonus: Check out our Tips for Building a More Inclusive Workplace.
Ways you can celebrate Pride Month in the remote workplace
1. Get educated
You can’t be a leader if you don’t know where you’re going — or where you’re coming from. Create educational opportunities for your employees, sure. But first, make sure you’re versed yourself in the history and weight of Pride and the LGBTQ+ rights movement.
2. Use your rewards platform to give to LGBTQ+ causes
Studies show that workplace rewards have greater impact on engagement when they’re closely aligned with employees’ beliefs and values. (Don’t believe us? Check out our article, the Power of Recognition and Rewards.) If your employee rewards catalog doesn’t already offer a way for employees to contribute to charities, now’s the time to get started!
Workplace rewards can go way beyond gift cards
3. Get fun swag
This one is obvious. You can’t celebrate Pride without great swag! So splurge a little on rainbow flags, banners, and pins — and don’t forget to go beyond the rainbow, too. Did you know there are different flags to represent bisexuality, demisexuality, and asexuality, as well as a transgender flag, intersex flag, and many more? (In fact, one organization even made a Pride Flag Bingo card to showcase them all!)
4. Update your company email signatures
Add your pronouns to your email signature, and consider adding the statement, “I am an ally of the LGBTQ+ community.”
(Pro tip: Pronouns mean how you identify — he/him, she/her, they/them, for instance — and how you’d like other people to refer to you. This is a great, inclusive practice for everyone, even or especially if you’re cisgender!)
5. Switch up your Zoom background
Love it or hate it, we’re all on Zoom. So celebrate with your background! Workplace advocacy group Out & Equal has assembled a great collection you can access here — including Pride parades and affirming messages.
While you’re at it, update company social media pictures with Pride frames or filters.
…and provide your employees with tips and resources for how to do the same. (Though, as always, be respectful of your employees’ work-life divide; never force employees to change their personal social media for work.)
6. Incentivize Pride celebrations
Offer R&R platform points to employees who:
- Post a Pride swag selfie
- Attend a company-sponsored Pride event
- Add their pronouns or ally message to email
- Support an LGBTQ+ business
7. Fill up your company calendar
In-office? Remote? A bit of both hybrid model? No problem. The WorkTango People & Culture team host a slew of digital culture events throughout the year. June is an active month because it’s a chance to recognize our diverse voices, commemorate Junteenth, and educate ourselves about the perspectives and range of employee experiences that make our organization stronger.
Here are some of our Pride Month favorites for 2023. Feel free to recreate your own versions!
Be Inclusive! Explore LGBTQ+ Family Building
WorkTango invited Maven Moments to lead a webinar discussing paths to parenthood for members of the LGBTQ+ community. This is a great opportunity for experts to share insights and answer questions on pregnancy, IVF, adoption, surrogacy, how to find inclusive medical providers and clinics, and so much more. (Maven Moments provides free, 24/7 access to doctors, specialists and coaches for fertility and preconception, pregnancy, postpartum, adoption, surrogacy, and early pediatrics, with support for parents of children up to 10 years old).
WorkTango Voices on Pride Round Table
We’re all privileged to work everyday with talented colleagues from a variety of diverse backgrounds and experiences. For June, we thought it would be an appropriate time to launch our first ‘Voices’ event celebrating Pride Month, a safe space where our own peers share their lived experiences and candidly answer questions in a round table panel-style discussion. The panel was chosen based on people who have expressed interest in helping in these kinds of events and were open to sharing their stories.
What do people want to know? Are there any questions about Pride? Are there any individuals curious but too shy to table a question during the live forum, or uncertain how to phrase a delicate question? No worries. Solicit questions in advance like we did.
Start a “New” Annual Employee Voice Tradition
What could be a better time than Pride Month to run a company-wide DEI and Culture survey? Measure the degree to which your company culture creates a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment where people of all backgrounds can thrive.
The updated Pride flag includes black and brown, to represent marginalized queer communities, and pink, light blue, and white, which are used on the Transgender Pride flag.
Drinks & Drag a la Kabloom
We like to fill the month of June with both educational and fun things to celebrate Pride. In previous years (since going remote) we’ve done multiple team-building events, including a virtual Drag show. This year, we switched it up a bit by adding an interactive element. Hosted by Kabloom, this year’s Drinks & Drag event features a mixologist demonstrating “how to” craft a Pride cocktail, coworker interaction, and kicking back to an entertaining drag performance or two. The bonus: 10% of proceeds are being donated by WorkTango to Black LQBTQ+ non-profit organizations.
Get Your PRIDE TRIVIA Game On!
Another educational and fun event is Pride Trivia Zoom-style. We stepped up the competitive vibe by offering platform prizes for first, second and third place winners. Click here to see WorkTango’s inaugural Pride Trivia Q&As. And check out this word cloud that resulted:
We wanted an opportunity to have in-person team building experiences, and to give back to the communities where our employees live and our offices are located. The intention for a dedicated volunteer day is to get groups together to pitch in at a local organization centered around LQBTQ+ in Toronto, Austin and Chicago. Folks in cities and towns beyond these are encouraged to shape their own volunteer outing and share their experiences with us.
Bake and Bask
Challenge your foodie folks to showcase their culinary creativity. Here’s a photo posted to our company Slack channel this year; an inspired masterpiece. Bring this challenge to your own workplace!
Last but not least: be an ally
During the month of June, as well as every other month, there are many other ways to continue to educate and support others as part of the LGBTQ+ community and as allies:
- Support LGBTQ+ businesses
- Educate yourself
- Don’t treat straight and cisgender as the norm
- Don’t stereotype
- Don’t refer to them as ‘my LGBTQ+ friend’
- Be inclusive
- Speak up
- Offer to inform other friends and family
- Be vocal about your allyship
- Use the right pronouns
- Don’t ascribe heteronormative roles
- Don’t question their identity
- Understand that gender and sexuality is a journey
- Don’t invalidate their experiences
- Attend community events
- Take a stand with your dollars
- Don’t ask intrusive questions
Are your DE&I initiatives actually making an impact? Learn:
How to Measure the Success of Your Diversity Program
Safe spaces for all
As a people and culture leader, you have a unique amount of power to make your workplace both psychologically safe and celebratory for all.
Thank you (genuinely!) for seeking out ways to celebrate Pride, and please, in these coming days, weeks, and years, think about how your workplace is a safe and inclusive space for everybody, particularly under represented employee populations.
And if you want to go further, that’s where we come in.
At WorkTango, we’re revolutionizing how the world’s most forward-thinking companies engage and inspire their people. We offer the only holistic Employee Experience Platform built for the modern workplace that enables meaningful recognition and rewards, offers actionable insights through employee surveys, and supports alignment through goal setting and feedback.
WorkTango is built for the workplace we all want to be a part of – where priorities become clear, achievements are celebrated, and employees have a voice. To learn more, check out our platform overview video, or schedule a demo.