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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)

Pride Month at Work: Beyond a Celebration

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Every company talks about Pride Month and different ways to celebrate the annual event in June. But are we seeing it more than just a month-long celebration and a DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) effort? Our research at Achievers Workforce Institute (AWI) shows that among those who identify as LGBTQ+ at work, only 8% feel comfortable being out to select colleagues not including their managers.

Employees who do not feel comfortable or accepted in the company’s culture are less likely to present their best ideas and more likely to filter their language and creativity to fit in with the dominant culture. With about 4% of the Canadian population identifies as LGBTQ+, and 7.6% in the US according to Gallup, these numbers contribute to a significant portion of the talent pool and workforce for business and HR leaders to consider. This means that while celebrating Pride Month at work is important to reinforce an inclusive culture, leaders should do so strategically and meaningfully. It starts with an understanding of Pride Month and what it really means.

What is Pride Month?

Pride Month, and its history goes back to the Stonewall Uprising in June of 1969 when a series of confrontations happened between police and LGBTQ+ protesters in New York City. Since then, the month of June has been dedicated to commemorating the event, celebrating the queer community, and recognizing LGBTQ+ voices and culture. Traditionally, fun Pride Month celebrations include parades, drag performances, and concerts. At work, Pride Month activities are becoming increasingly important for building an inclusive and supportive culture.

When is Pride Month?

Pride Month is celebrated annually in June to honor the LGBTQ+ community’s struggle for equality. During this month, various events, parades, and activities take place worldwide to promote acceptance, awareness, and celebration of diversity and inclusivity. Some of the countries that observe Pride Month in June include the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany, Australia, France, Spain, and many others.

Why is it important to celebrate Pride Month at work?

A study by Deloitte on LGBTQ+ workplace inclusivity highlights that workers, especially those who belong to ethnic minority groups, are actively seeking employers who are LGBTQ+ inclusive and constantly reinforcing their DEI strategies to help employees feel connected and belonged. Unfortunately, one third of employees do not feel safe having tough conversations with their managers, and those who identify as LGBTQ+ are twice as likely to say so.

Every employee wants to feel welcome and be their authentic selves at work. Those who do not feel seen, heard, and valued are less likely to contribute their creativity and talent, invest in their work performance, and stay at an organization long term. From encouraging employees to include their preferred pronouns in email signatures and work profiles to organizing an LGBTQ+ network for employee connection, every action matters. For employers who are seeking ways to invest more care and resources into their DEI efforts, Pride Month presents an opportunity to nurture a truly safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ employees.

Beyond a celebration, Pride Month should be approached holistically with emphasis on education, inspiration, leadership, and empowerment.

4 ways to meaningfully celebrate Pride Month and build an inclusive community long term

1. Educate with intentions

Pride Month celebration happens in the month of June, but actively integrating this important event with your company’s DEI efforts is a long-term strategy. It starts with education.

A 2023 AWI survey found that employees who identify as LGBTQ+ are 65% more likely to say that their company has at least one employee resources group (ERG). ERG and different networks at work allow employees to better connect to one another and foster an inclusive culture. This is a great opportunity for those who are well-versed in the topic of Pride to represent their community at work and share their stories. Whether it is a lunch and learns, an interactive webinar, or a quick educational presentation during a company-wide meeting, make sure you understand your audience, end with a meaningful call-to-action, and most importantly, make it fun.

2. Inspire through fun

What is a better way to educate than making it interactive and a little bit competitive? One way to celebrate Pride Month is to organize a pride-themed trivia game. Employees can be asked about the history of Pride and meanings behind different Pride flags while learning about what the event means for LGBTQ+ community. Don’t forget to add a small reward, such as a customized company swag for Pride Month and recognize your employees who make all of that happen. This is also a great way for remote teams to celebrate Pride while engaging meaningfully with each other and those in the office.

As another “inspire-through-fun” way, managers can organize team volunteer opportunities during Pride Month to support LGBTQ+ causes. Volunteer days can meaningfully connect employees, show your company’s commitment to DEI outside of work, and amplify impact on communities that your employees identify with.

3. Lead with trust and meaning

When leaders support LGBTQ+ inclusion, their actions reinforce trust and inspire employees to be themselves at work. A 2024 AWI survey shows that LGBTQ+ employees are 46% more likely than other groups to not feel safe having hard conversations with their managers. These include discussions on world events or personal matters that can affect employees work performance. However, only 1 out of 5 managers says they receive training on having tough conversations at work.

LGBTQ+ employees are 46% more likely than other groups to not feel safe having hard conversations with their managers

Employees are prioritizing inclusion and a sense of belonging more than ever, and with Pride Month approaching, managers should reflect on their leadership styles and ensure regular check-ins with their employees. Besides celebrating and recognizing Pride Month, managers should encourage open conversations and feedback as part of their DEI efforts to welcome vulnerability and concerns from LGBTQ+ employees. This is an ongoing effort and if done with consistency and meaningful intentions, managers can create a safe space for underrepresented employee populations to comfortably present their ideas, offer feedback, and be their best selves at work.

4. Empower through recognition

While frequent employee recognition is a long-term strategy, Pride Month allows managers to do so more uniquely. Employees who get recognized frequently by their managers are 2.2 times more likely to feel a strong sense of belonging.

Here are some ways we infuse DEIB into our efforts and employee experiences:

1. Live your core values with pride

At Achievers, one of our core values that we certainly lean heavily on during Pride month, is L.O.V.E. — Live Our Values Everyday. Companies have to make dozens of decisions daily, and core values are the compass that steer us in a direction aligned with our purpose and ethics.

As the Pride expression goes, with a twist of Achievers, “Love is love is L.O.V.E.”

2. Consider DEIB in brand communications

At the beginning of June to help kick off Pride month, we released a reference guide of our top 4 DEIB writing style guides. Achievers references these stalwart, frequently updated guides to ensure our communications are inclusive, respectful, and forward-thinking.

Achievers Proud - How to celebrate Pride Month at work

3. Achievers Proud ERG

Now back to ERGs, as mentioned earlier. Employee Resource Groups are an important way to foster a culture of belonging. Among our five dynamic Achievers ERGs is Achievers Proud. This pivotal group provides open-minded education, representation, policies, support, and community to our LBTGQ+ employees and allies. As more companies recognize how essential DEIB initiatives are, Achievers takes our leadership role seriously, consulting with Achievers Proud to ensure marketing and sales efforts reflect our LGBTQ+ communities. This valuable ERG also hosts best practice seminars, fundraisers, and guest speakers.

At Achievers, our Achievers Proud ERG emphasizes visibility when nurturing a safe and supportive workplace environment, ensuring that managers and leaders are fully involved in their community and recognize their employees frequently to help them feel seen, valued, and belonged.

4. Provide a face (or diverse faces) to your DEIB efforts

As Achievers continued to celebrate Pride throughout the month of June, the aforementioned Achievers Proud, along with another company ERG, Achievers Women’s Network (AWN) proudly hosted guest speaker and Canadian Olympian Brianne Jenner. Now a busy Team Canada women’s hockey coach, Jenner spoke humorously and openly on a rainbow of topics, from her medal wins and and philosophies, to her personal life identifying as LGBTQ+ and balancing demands as a new parent.

5. Underpin efforts with education and seminars

Finally, on June 27, the final one of Pride Month, Achievers Proud hosted a seminar on The Stonewall Riots, an indelible part of Pride’s history, and human rights. This series of protests by members of New York City’s gay community were a response to a violent police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in Lower Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.

Beyond Pride Month

A 2023 AWI survey found that LGBTQ+ employees were 50% more likely to say they feel a strong sense of belonging to their company. A fun and meaningful Pride Month at work can help share this positive news and show a long-term commitment in promoting LGBTQ+ employees’ well-being. With a holistic approach to celebrate Pride Month through education, inspiration, leadership, and empowerment, HR leaders and managers have the power to make significant impact during the celebration and beyond. Ultimately, employers should see Pride Month as more than just a celebration and seek ways to foster an inclusive and safe workplace for everyone, particularly underrepresented employee populations.

Learn about the Achievers Employee Experience Platform and how we can help you cultivate a culture of belonging at work for all employees.


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