Woman's hand working in office with LGBT decor and accessories. Cultura LGBTQIA
17.6.2022 13:32

Diverse workplaces and inclusion interest businesses, but there is still much to do: taking part in Pride cannot be a one-off thing

Pride Week is being held at the end of June. A diverse and inclusive workplace is important in businesses, but too many people hide their identities at work.

June has begun, which means that Pride, an event which raises the profile of human rights and non-discrimination, is beginning to be visible. Rainbow flags remind us of the rights, inclusion and well-being of sexual and gender minorities. This year, Pride Week is being celebrated from 27 June to 3 July.

In recent years, there has been a growing conversation about the diversity and inclusiveness of workplaces. This is both a part of corporate social responsibility and a factor for commercial success. Studies show that diversity and a corporate culture which considers all employees lead to a better capacity for innovation, higher team outcomes and commercial results.

“Fortunately, there is a lot of information available about the promotion of non-discrimination. I recommend reading, for example, the World Economic Forum’s studies and information on the matter. In Finland, too, there are several bodies which offer their services in these areas, and naturally I’d recommend anyone to be in touch with us on the matter,” Panu Mäenpää, chairperson of the board of Helsinki Pride Community, says.

A large change is taking place in workplace cultures, and young people, in particular, often expect their employers to have values that take account of corporate social responsibility.

There is still work to do: the Helsinki Pride Community says on its website that just 15% of members of sexual and gender minorities in Finland say they can be totally out at work. Twenty-two per cent of members of sexual and gender minorities say they try to hide their orientation or identity entirely.

Silence is a psychological burden, as when the majority can talk openly at work about their families and relationships, members of minorities may fear losing professional networks and withdraw from social situations at work.

Workplaces should invest in open, transparent conversations, language and terminology used in information systems, forms and guidelines.

The greatest challenge is to create an atmosphere in which everyone can be themselves without needing to keep secrets or watch their words. How supervisors and owners communicate and lead is crucial.

A change for the better is under way. That is seen in the increased demand for training from the Pride organization.

“We are getting more and more enquiries, fortunately, because people have woken up to how important this issue is, including for employers. Every year we run dozens of training sessions, including for our corporate partners,” Mäenpää says.

The number of Pride partners has also increased in the past five years. Not even Covid had an effect on these partnerships.

“These issues are seen as extremely important from the perspectives of work well-being and employer perception. In spite of the Covid pandemic, our partners wanted to make progress on the issue both publicly and in-house,” Mäenpää says.

Pride always expects its partners to act first in their own organizations. It is extremely important for work on non-discrimination and equality to have begun and for a clear plan for progress to be in place. Partnership with Pride complements that work.

“In general, we want to clarify the state of non-discrimination and equality work in general as well as talk about how it’s progressing in a given company. We absolutely do not want Pride to be just one action or gimmick; instead, it we’d like to see it as a natural part of the company’s operations,” Mäenpää says.

Elina Hakola