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Working with Pride at GoCardless

Pride month comes to an end this week – and throughout the month, we’ve seen tech companies supporting and celebrating the LGBT+ community; from Zuora's #SubscribeToPride to Xero marching with Pride at parades across America. In the UK, preparations are underway for London Pride on 7 July.

At GoCardless, we’re celebrating London Pride by coming together to celebrate each other’s backgrounds and differences, while raising money for the Albert Kennedy Trust – a charity that provides safe homes and support for the LGBT+ youth homeless community. Check out their #NoRoomForHate campaign here.

Our approach to diversity and inclusion at GoCardless is closely related to our company values: start with why, take pride, act with integrity, and be humble.

Ahead of the event next week, we spoke to some of the team at GoCardless, both members of the LGBT+ community and allies, to find out what diversity and inclusion in the workplace means to them.

Start with why

Our people team (and the wider company) work hard all year round to create an inclusive environment where opportunities are the same for everyone, regardless of their background or sexual orientation. Part of this is living and breathing our company values, so starting with why D&I is so important.

Despite the momentum and support that the Pride movement has gained over the past few years, in the world of work, there is still a long way to go. Research suggests that half (51%) of LGBT+ people – and just one in three (36%) young people – are out or open about their sexuality to their colleagues at work.

Having been treated differently because of her gender in the past, People Partner, Gaby Matias, considers diversity and inclusion an important factor when joining a new company. “I can’t imagine working somewhere where you can’t bring your full self to work. Where you feel you belong, respected and heard, and that opportunities are given with fairness.”

According to Culture Amp research, a sense of belonging within a company has the most impact on employee engagement scores; along with feeling respected, satisfied with how decisions are made and experiencing honest two way conversations.

“It’s a no brainer for companies to support diversity and inclusion”, says Product Advocacy Manager, Suvi. “Employees that can be themselves will be more passionate and motivated about their work, which results in a better work environment for the whole team.”

Take pride

Taking pride in the work we do is hugely important at GoCardless. This means being invested in what we are doing, focusing on the details and caring about what others can’t see, as much as what they can.

For Social Media Manager, Phoebe, taking pride would be difficult in a place where diversity and inclusion isn't supported. “I want to be proud of the company I work for and the work we produce, that would be extremely difficult in a company that isn’t transparent about their efforts to support D&I.”

For Norberto Lopes, Senior Manager, Engineering, supporting diversity and inclusion goes beyond just doing what is right. “It’s about doing what is best for everybody and I believe that supporting diversity and inclusion is one of the best things you can do for people’s growth.”

Act with integrity

Diversity and inclusion is a process rather than a project with an end date. As companies grow and scale, D&I initiatives have to grow and improve with them.

Suvi says: “We’re thankful to have a lot of transparency from management here, who accept that we don’t have all the answers. They are open about the areas in which we can do more to support D&I and engage the company in how we are working to improve them.”

For Product Marketing Manager, Ross Pert, this way of thinking should extend to the wider tech community. “It’s important that the tech community appreciates that supporting the LGBT+ community means more than just being vocal and visible over Pride month.”

“The tech community can provide value by sharing their knowledge and skills with organisations whose core objective it is to support the community. This could mean offering support to technically-challenged charities or not-for-profit organisations, or working with schools to share experiences.”

For Phoebe, keeping the conversation going is crucial – even when the picture is scary. “We need to keep talking about the frightening statistics, as although many of us are lucky enough to not experience discrimination, it is still out there.”

“Companies need to be intentional about inclusion from the start,” adds Gaby. “Go beyond the metrics on percentage of LGBT+ or women in a company and learn about their experiences, so resources and support can be adequate for their needs.”

Be humble

“Our values keep us in check,” explains Gaby. “Be humble makes sure we are surrounded by people who are eager to learn from others.”

Ross adds: “The values we promote and the culture that has been shaped from these values leads to a very open-minded and progressive place to work. Ensuring these values are a critical part of our hiring process as well as our day-to-day work means we can continue to provide a place where people feel that they can be themselves at work.”

For Norberto, it’s about considering how you create a safe space for people to be themselves. “Being deliberate in how you support, incentivise, and structure feedback to team members and how you coach others in doing it is important,” he explains. “This way the team becomes more empathetic, they learn to be more positive in their interactions while allowing space for critique without being personal.”

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