Pride Month is here! Now is a good time to stop for a while to think about the diversity of people working around you? If you see that you are surrounded by people like yourself, I strongly encourage you to take action towards inclusion.
During my career, I have sometimes come across a wondering statement from a business executive thinking about how to attract diverse talent when it seems that all applicants in the recruitment process are just the same. “Well of course we would like to recruit diverse people, but all who apply are usually so similar”, is a statement I’ve heard most often. Something that people too often forget is that to have diversity, one should actually start with inclusion.
Research done by European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) found out that in Finland, only 8 percent of LGBT+ (abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender and plus for other sexual and gender diversity) people are being very open about their identity at work and 65 percent are being selectively open at work. Still today, 27 percent of LGBT+ people hide in the closet when it comes to working life context. These figures tell us that there is more diversity than we realize but in cases like this, we’re just not aware of it because it is left hidden in the closet.
For anyone asking how to attract more diverse talent, my advice would be to start with inclusion.
So for anyone asking how to attract more diverse talent, my advice would be to start with inclusion. Reflect on your own attitudes, prejudices, and assumptions. We all have them even though we might think we are open and well educated in these matters. Overall, don´t assume anything of another person, and if you do, assume diversity. Walk through the company office and check if the premises are inclusive to all people. Check the HR policies and communication materials and language used in them. Promote positive attitudes towards diversity and make it clearly visible in all encounters and discussions.
Start with yourself, and then invite colleagues, company steering groups and management to join the mission towards a more inclusive workplace. Take the first steps and remember that everything does not have to be perfect right from the start – the right direction, willingness to learn and intention to do better are more important.
As June is Pride month, it is a perfect time to address the LGBT+ matters and openness in working life and organizations. The progress you get in one diversity aspect will impact all other aspects of diversity too.
As June is Pride month, it is a perfect time to address the LGBT+ matters and openness in working life and organizations.
Let’s imagine that this business executive and the organization have made inclusion and equity their top priorities and engaged the whole organization to work towards a more inclusive workplace. I can bet that diversity will follow – more openness and diversity is represented firstly among the colleagues, but also among the talents who are applying to be part of this happy, vibrant, and productive team.
Happy Pride month and remember to make inclusion a top priority in your organization, not just for one month, but throughout the year!
Kaisa Seppo is working as Associate Director, Growth & Strategy at Idean part of Capgemini Invent and a member of the Board at Inklusiiv. Kaisa has been an active member of several LGBT+ networks in the companies she has been working with, and is passionate about creating an inclusive organization for all.