How Nulab is supporting LGBTQ+ staff (this month and all year round)

As we celebrate Pride Month at Nulab, we’re reflecting on how we can support LGBT colleagues — not just during this month but every day of the year. 

Did you know there are over 8 million LGBTQ workers in the US? Sadly, many still face discrimination and harassment, which affects health, well-being, and job satisfaction. In May 2021, a survey examining the challenges LGBTQ adults face in the workplace found that over 40% of LGBTQ workers experienced unfair treatment at work — like being fired, not hired, or harassed simply because of who they are. 

Despite these hurdles, many LGBTQ+ employees show incredible resilience, often hiding their identity or changing their appearance to avoid discrimination. But no one should have to hide who they are to feel safe at work. 

Pride Month is all about joy and visibility, but it’s also a reminder that the fight for equality and inclusion continues in our workplaces and communities. As we celebrate Pride, let’s reflect on these milestones and renew our commitment to creating a workplace where everyone — no matter who they are or who they love — feels valued and respected.

What challenges do LGBTQ+ people face in the workplace?

As we celebrate the four-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which affirmed that Title VII protects against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, it’s essential to reflect on the ongoing struggles faced by LGBTQ+ employees. 

This ruling, spurred by a case where an employee was fired simply for wanting to join a gay baseball league, was a monumental step forward in safeguarding the rights of LGBTQ+ workers in the US. However, the fight for true workplace equality is far from over.

Imagine being in a workplace where nearly one-third of your peers have experienced discrimination or harassment simply because of who they are. This is the reality for many LGBTQ+ workers today. In the past five years alone, 8.9% of LGBTQ+ employees have been fired or not hired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Now, consider the additional layer of difficulty faced by LGBTQ+ employees of color. For them, the figure rises to a staggering 11.3%. It’s heartbreaking to learn that over half of these individuals attribute their mistreatment to religious beliefs. This issue is even more pronounced among LGBTQ+ employees of color, with nearly two-thirds indicating that religion played a significant role in the discrimination they faced.

These statistics paint a troubling picture of the workplace environment for many LGBTQ+ individuals. It underscores the importance of continuing to advocate for inclusive policies and practices. We need to ensure that everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, feels safe and supported at work. By acknowledging these challenges and working together to address them, we can create a more inclusive and equitable workplace for all.

How does Nulab support LGBTQ employees?

At Nulab, we genuinely care about creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all our employees, including our LGBTQ colleagues. Here’s how we’re making it happen:

Creating a safe space

By fostering an open and supportive environment, actively listening to our LGBTQ employees, and ensuring their voices are heard, we aim to create a workplace where everyone feels safe and valued.

“As a HR leader, it is our responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy workspace for all employees. We must therefore ensure we inform ourselves of any potential issues or concerns people from the LGBTQ+ community may be experiencing. This information can be obtained through various sources, such as blogs, talks, and events organized and written by people from the LGBTQ+ community,” explains Ayasha Jabarkheel, Nulab’s HR Generalist in our Amsterdam office.

Bianca Reyes, Nulab’s HR Coordinator in New York, shares this sentiment: “Nulab supports LGBTQ and all employees by creating and maintaining safe spaces. We pride ourselves in having a tight knit team who supports each other in the workplace. Having an outlet, such as Nulab’s website, gives us a platform to express our company’s values, events, as well as happenings and how we maintain a positive work culture for our employees.”

Participating in Out in Tech events

Both our Amsterdam and New York teams are excited to attend Out in Tech events in 2024. It’s a fantastic way for us to connect with the LGBTQ tech community and show our support.

Embracing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

While our teams in New York and Amsterdam might be small, that doesn’t stop us from prioritizing diversity. Our Netherlands and New York offices both hold Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training to ensure everyone feels valued and respected.

Fair recruitment and hiring practices

We’re constantly refining our recruitment and hiring methodologies to eliminate biases and ensure fairness. For every role, we involve at least two hiring managers, one HR professional, and our CMO. This diverse panel helps us get various perspectives before making any decisions. Plus, we keep everyone in the loop with shared backlog tasks so that all hiring managers can see our notes on candidates.

At Nulab, we’re committed to supporting our LGBTQ employees not just during Pride Month but every single day. We believe in fostering a workplace where everyone can thrive, no matter who they are or who they love.

Who are Nulabers’ queer icons, and why?

At Nulab, we love celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and recognizing those who inspire us. We asked a couple of our team members about their queer icons, and here’s what they had to say:

Bianca Reyes, HR Coordinator at Nulab New York

“I have so many! For me, queer icons are anyone in the community who fosters safe and inclusive environments. It’s the individuals who create spaces where people who identify as LGBTQ+ can feel they belong and can be their authentic selves proudly.”

Ayasha Jabarkheel, HR Generalist at Nulab Amsterdam 

“Alan Turing is a huge inspiration to me. He played a crucial role in the victory against the Nazis during WWII. Tragically, in the 1950s, he was imprisoned in Britain because being homosexual was illegal back then. Turing was ‘pardoned’ in 2013, and in 2017, an official pardon was issued for all men who were imprisoned for similar reasons, known as the Alan Turing Law. Today, you can see his face on a 50 GBP note! Great people like him paved the way for the democracy and freedoms we enjoy today across Europe.”

How can you support LGBTQ+ employees at your workplace?

1. Educate yourself and others

One of the best ways to support your fellow LGBTQ+ staff members is to educate yourself about the community. It’s on us to take the initiative rather than expecting our LGBTQ+ friends and coworkers to educate us. A great place to start is by understanding the significance of Pride Month, which celebrates the Stonewall Rebellion from June 28, 1969. Also, try diving into books, podcasts, movies, and TV shows from LGBTQ+ perspectives. It’s an awesome way to build empathy and become a better ally.

2. Build a supportive culture

Creating a supportive culture is easier than you think. It’s all about being affirming, respectful, and really listening. You don’t need to go overboard with constant reassurances. Instead, show genuine interest and care for your LGBTQ+ coworkers by simply being there for them. Just listen and be a friend — that’s what really counts.

3. Implement inclusive policies and hiring practices

Make sure your company’s policies are crystal clear about protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This is key to creating a workplace where everyone feels safe and respected.

When you’re trying to build a culture of well-being, consider the signals your company is sending out. If you’re hiring for a new position, actively seek out LGBTQ professionals through LGBTQ hiring boards and recruitment events. Research shows that diverse companies are more innovative and tend to outperform their competitors. 

4. Support employee resource groups

Encourage the formation of LGBTQ+ employee resource groups (ERGs). These groups are amazing because they give LGBTQ+ employees a safe space to connect, share experiences, and advocate for their needs within the company.

5. Celebrate Pride month

When it comes to Pride Month, go beyond just putting up a rainbow flag. Host events, panels, and discussions that celebrate LGBTQ+ history and culture. Get everyone involved and excited to learn more about the community.

Creating a workplace where everyone feels valued and respected is an ongoing journey. By actively supporting your LGBTQ+ employees, you’re not just fostering a positive work environment — you’re contributing to a more just and equitable world. 

6. Think about your public presence

Authentic representation is key to building a more inclusive work environment. Don’t just spotlight LGBTQ+ community members during Pride Month — extend that visibility all year round. Make sure your representation is genuine and steers clear of tokenism or stereotypes. 

Tokenism happens when a company makes superficial gestures to appear supportive of underrepresented groups without truly backing those values. For more inclusive advertising, focus on normalizing these interactions and giving LGBTQ individuals a voice. This non-verbal show of support sends a strong message to both current and prospective team members that your company supports LGBTQ employees, clients, and community members.

7. Be an active and vocal LGBTQ+ ally

Supporting the well-being of your LGBTQ team members means being an active ally. Be vocal and participate in public shows of support. This could mean volunteering at organizations that support LGBTQ causes or participating in your local Pride events. Actively supporting the LGBTQ community shows you’re willing to turn words into action and helps foster a greater sense of acceptance among LGBTQ employees. 

8. Be careful of language

Pay attention to the language you and others use daily. Using more inclusive and respectful language is an easy way to support a healthier, more inclusive work environment. For example, share your pronouns and don’t assume someone else’s based on their appearance. It’s also important to address potentially offensive language from others. Derogatory comments often get passed off as jokes in casual conversations. If this happens, make it clear that such language can be hurtful and is not welcome. While these conversations can be tough, they are crucial for building a culture of mutual respect.

9. Provide comprehensive benefits

Make sure your company’s benefits package is inclusive. This means offering health coverage for same-sex partners and providing transgender-inclusive healthcare. Comprehensive benefits are essential for the well-being of LGBTQ+ employees and show that your company truly cares about their needs.

10. Regularly review and update policies

Regularly review your company’s policies to ensure they are inclusive and up-to-date. Policies should explicitly protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Keeping these policies current demonstrates your ongoing commitment to inclusivity.

11. Celebrate and acknowledge milestones

Recognize important milestones and events for the LGBTQ+ community throughout the year. This could include celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month, National Coming Out Day, and Transgender Day of Visibility. These celebrations show continuous support and acknowledgment beyond just Pride Month.

12. Seek feedback and act on it

Create channels for LGBTQ+ employees to provide feedback on your inclusivity efforts. Actively seek out their opinions and use this feedback to make meaningful changes. This ongoing dialogue helps ensure that your inclusivity initiatives are effective and truly meet the needs of your employees.

Final thoughts

Celebrating Pride Month is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our progress and renew our dedication to creating a workplace where everyone feels valued and respected. By making these efforts an everyday priority, we can build a more inclusive, supportive, and vibrant work environment for all.

Let’s remember that Pride Month is not just a celebration — it’s also a reminder that the fight for equality and inclusion is ongoing, and we all have a role to play. Supporting LGBTQ colleagues in the workplace is a year-round commitment that goes beyond celebrating Pride Month. It involves educating ourselves, fostering inclusive cultures, implementing fair policies, and actively advocating for equality. 

At Nulab, we’re committed to making this vision a reality every single day. Together, let’s continue to create a space where everyone feels valued and respected, no matter who they are or who they love. Here’s to a future where inclusivity isn’t just an aspiration but a daily practice. Happy Pride!

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