Pride means something different to everyone, but to me it is a time of celebration, reflection, and progress. As we work to be inclusive in our own workplace, we understand that the most meaningful support should be more than a rainbow logo displayed once a year.
We want everyone across the business to feel comfortable and confident to be themselves at work. But we also understand that not every LGBTQ+ person feels supported by their employer. We’ve made progress as a society toward achieving many of the goals of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, but a recent report from Stonewall and YouGov highlights just how much more progress needs to be made before every LGBTQ+ person feels accepted for who they are at work.
I’m very proud that at Westcon-Comstor, we truly believe that everyone should be able to be their authentic selves, and we strive to make equality, inclusion, and diversity a priority all year long. We work hard to understand the complex issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. And, above all else, we try to make sure our workforce feels included, supported, and heard.
Celebrating Pride is an opportunity to raise awareness and education around the issues by allowing us to have a powerful conversation with our people, our partners, and our communities. It also demonstrates our commitment to diversity and inclusivity, shows that we are listening to and implementing employee feedback, helps to facilitate a sense of support and community within the business, and helps prevent us from making mistakes that may ultimately alienate and frustrate members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Inclusivity in action
To this end, we recently set up Employee Representative Groups under our ‘ONE Westcon’ umbrella to advocate and promote diversity, equality, and inclusion across the business. We have a number of groups, but one of the largest and most active is around inclusion.
As with all our ERGs, the group is led by our employees. It’s great to see people taking the lead and getting so involved in subjects that truly matter to them. It provides a safe space for people to voice their concerns, opinions, and feedback on everything from workplace issues to their experiences outside of work. For the LGBTQ+ community, this can be anything from having to pretend or not be their authentic self, to feeling that they could be overlooked or passed over for promotion.
Love and acceptance
Pride is about friendship, love, and acceptance. It’s about being proud of who you are, and however you identify. But many people in the LGBTQ+ community, and trans people in particular, still face discrimination and even bullying at work. Our ERGs are a safe space to explore these issues, but I believe that being inclusive is also ensuring everyone can feel comfortable talking to their managers, their colleagues, and the person they’re sitting next to in the office. And I’m a firm believer that education and awareness are the key to enabling this to happen.
Pride around the world
Pride Month may officially be celebrated in June in the UK, but of course it’s celebrated throughout the summer across the world, and as a truly global business, we choose to celebrate Pride ‘season’.
As a global business that operates in countries that don’t always share the same values, we have to be sensitive to cultural differences. Nevertheless, Pride is about acceptance and tolerance, so although we tread carefully, we are also proud to test boundaries and start the conversation – just as the original Stonewall protestors did 50 years ago.