Pride month: Living and working with pride
By Drew HollandJun 20202 min read
As it’s Pride month, the Rainbow group at GoCardless wanted to share stories and insights from within our community. This week we hear from Drew Holland, Head of Internal Communications.
As we’re living in times of great uncertainty right now, particularly for businesses, I think it’s more important than ever to have a consistent focus on equality issues. In 2020, it’s not good enough to look the other way and hope others are doing their bit.
Below I'm sharing my thoughts on how individuals and businesses can live and work with pride.
1) Businesses need to walk the walk
It’s important to acknowledge that showing support and taking action are different things.
I understand why companies are being more supportive of the gay community and events like Pride, but in some cases it feels like a positive PR exercise.
If I see a bag of sweets with a rainbow plastered all over them during Pride, I’m not instantly offended, but it does make me sit up and do a bit more research into that brand — what are they doing behind the ‘cuddly’ exterior to really support the community?
Are they donating profits? Supporting relevant charities? Encouraging a diverse workforce themselves?
If the answers are no, they need to back up and set it right.
2) Values and culture need to permeate the entire business
On the whole, I’ve always been lucky enough to find myself surrounded by great team mates who have been supportive of who I am. On the occasions I’ve been looking for new employment, I’ve always taken the time to find businesses which align with my values and have a culture I feel I can fit and contribute to.
First and foremost, I love to see evidence of a diverse workforce. For example, how many women or people from minority groups?
And are any in positions of leadership, helping to spread the right behaviours and role-model a great culture?
Progressive companies make this easy to find and it naturally becomes one of the levers they can use for talent attraction.
It’s really great to see employee resource groups set up and supported from an HR perspective, but also from a budgeting perspective, so they have what they need to effectively share their story both in and outside of the workplace.
At GoCardless, the Rainbow community is running and thriving. It can be tricky to keep momentum sometimes, because every member has their own job to be thinking of, but I’ve been blown away by the commitment and good energy everybody puts into it.
3) There’s always more to learn
Being an active member of the community, and an ally within it, is hugely important to me. We have a legacy of education, activism and simply raising awareness to build on.
I listen to podcasts like Making Gay History and always try to improve my knowledge of the struggle my community has gone through before I was around.
All over the world there are magnificent individuals and groups who have helped (and often fought) to get us to where we are today. I think it’s only right we each do something, however small, in return. It all adds up to bigger results when we all get involved.
I donate to a couple of charities - Albert Kennedy Trust and Opening Doors - because the work they do for LGBTQ+ people is really moving. And so long as I’m able to, I think helping their cause is more than worthwhile.
If businesses and individuals really want to support the Rainbow community — not just one month a year, but all year round — there is a lot you can do:
Encourage a diverse workforce
Donate to relevant charities
Empower minority groups to be in leadership roles
Set up employee resource groups and open up the conversation around the business