A lot has changed in our workplaces in the past several months. But the importance of diversity and inclusion hasn’t gone anywhere. And neither has the joy and power of recognizing the full value of everyone on your team. So today, we’re going to talk about how to celebrate your LGBTQIA+ employees in the workplace during Pride Month 2020, even if your office is remote.
What is Pride Month?
So, let’s start with the basics. Around the world, June is recognized as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) Pride Month to commemorate a tipping point in queer history — the Stonewall Uprising, which lasted 6 days in Manhattan in June 1969 as police clashed with LGBTQ protesters.
(As a sidenote: Some people expand the LGBTQ acronym to LGBTQIA+, where the additional letters stand for queer, intersex, and asexual. There are many variations. But — to throw some more letters at you — the tl;dr is that you don’t have to fall into one of these categories to celebrate Pride. Pride can, and should, be celebrated by all, even if you identify as straight or aren’t sure how you identify at all!)
Today, Pride celebrations attract millions of participants each year as queer communities and allies honor the queer identity through parades, workshops, parties, picnics, lectures, concerts, and more.
Create welcoming workplaces year-round:
Why is it important to celebrate Pride in the workplace?
Kazoo Sr. People & Culture Specialist Jandee Speegle put together a totally knockout Pride calendar for Kazoo to celebrate Pride Month in June 2020 — even though our offices are full remote during the COVID-19 pandemic! Here’s what they had to say:
“It’s important to celebrate Pride in the workplace because we must acknowledge and recognize the accomplishments of the gay rights movement and our brave LGBTQ advocates. It’s about the people in the LGBTQ community and our allies who fight and continue to fight for equality.
“As human resources leaders, we have the power to put our people in the spotlight, showcase photos and stories that make us unique, and highlight our efforts around the importance of celebrating our diverse voices.”
Why is it even more important to celebrate Pride now?
Jandee points out, “We must not forget that the first Pride was not a celebration. It was a riot led by queer people of color. Pride was born out of a struggle. And now, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought struggle back to our LGBTQIA+ communities, as we are forced to lock down with families who may not accept us, or face new risks to our health or employment.
“Isolation isn’t new to our queer communities. It’s a challenge we face every day. So it’s even more important to celebrate our resilience, to unite virtually in the face of uncertainty. Just because we can’t be together in the flesh to march alongside each other doesn’t mean Pride is cancelled. It means we have to be innovative in finding ways to reach out to our communities that will keep pride alive! We must embrace the new normal and provide alternative spaces for all to feel connected and be safe.”
Here’s how Jandee did that for the team at Kazoo — and you can do it, too.
Ideas for celebrating Pride Month in the remote workplace
1. Get educated
You can’t be a leader if you don’t don’t know where you’re going — or where you’re coming from. Create educational opportunities for your employees, sure. But first, make sure you’re versed yourself in the history and weight of Pride and the LGBTQIA+ rights movement.
Bonus: Check out our Tips for Building a More Inclusive Workplace in 2020.
2. Use your rewards platform to give to LGBTQIA+ causes
Studies show that workplace rewards have greater impact on engagement when they’re closely aligned with employees’ beliefs and values. (Don’t believe us? Check out our article, the Science of Recognition and Rewards.) If your employee rewards catalog doesn’t already offer a way for employees to contribute to charities, now’s the time to get started!
Workplace rewards can go way beyond gift cards
3. Get fun swag
This one is obvious, Jandee says. “You can’t celebrate Pride without great swag!” So splurge a little on rainbow flags, banners, and pins — and don’t forget to go beyond the rainbow, too. Did you know there are different flags to represent bisexuality, demisexuality, and asexuality, as well as a transgender flag, intersex flag, and many more? (In fact, one organization even made a Pride Flag Bingo card to showcase them all!)
4. Update your company email signatures
Add your pronouns to your email signature, Jandee suggests, and the statement, “I am an ally of the LGBTQ community and a member of [company].”
(Pro tip: Pronouns means how you identify — he/him, she/her, they/them, for instance — and how you’d like other people to refer to you. This is a great, inclusive practice for everyone, even or especially if you’re cisgender!)
5. Switch up your Zoom background
Love it or hate it, we’re all on Zoom. So celebrate with your background! Workplace advocacy group Out & Equal has assembled a great collection you can access here — including Pride parades and affirming messages.
6. Update company social media pictures with Pride frames or filters
And provide your employees with tips and resources for how to do the same. (Though, as always, be respectful of your employees’ work-life divide; never force employees to change their personal social media for work.)
7. Fill up your company calendar
Pandemic? No problem. The Kazoo People & Culture team have knocked it out of the park with digital culture events, and thanks to Jandee, Pride Month 2020 is one for the books.
Here are the Pride culture events Jandee built out for Kazoo:
June 1 – Lunch & Learn webinar: Pride History with CEO Erin Uritis, Out & Equal
Want to get a real handle on LGBTQ issues and identity in the workplace? Out & Equal is a workplace advocacy group working with ERGs (employee resource groups) to raise awareness and bring about change in the workplace. Check out their upcoming virtual offerings as well as their Guide to Celebrating Pride Virtually.
June 4 – Pride-themed Bingo
Jandee used the website My Free Bingo Cards to run a lunchtime Pride Bingo game! It’s easy and free to make your own — just brainstorm a list of at least 25 Pride-related words and you’re good to go.
June 9 – Pride-themed food & beverage creation
We Kazooligans take our home cooking and baking skills seriously — and just because we’re in the office doesn’t mean we can’t show off. Bring this challenge to your own office (and check out our social media in the coming weeks to see what we cook up)!
June 11 – Pride-themed paint and sip
We’re bringing happy hour back! And you can, too. Give your employees advanced notice, plus a list of supplies (go the extra mile by providing a list of links to inexpensive canvases and paints), and find a Pride-themed image or message for everyone to paint. Then, reserve a time after work for a Zoom gathering, and let the fun begin! No artistic ability required.
June 16 – Pride-themed happy hour movie
Netflix’s watch party app makes it easy to watch movies together digitally — or, try streaming them in Twitch. Not sure what to screen? Here’s a recent roundup of 30 Best LGBTQ Movies of All Time.
June 18 – Pride-themed trivia
June 24 – Pride-themed quarantini
Round out Pride with an online mixer! Make time after work for everyone to “share” a beverage and discuss their experiences with Pride. If you’ve got a big crowd, break out into small groups to discuss questions like, “What was the first Pride you attended?” and “What does Pride mean to you?”
Safe spaces for all
It’s always the right time to focus on diversity and inclusion — but this year more than ever. Because the work is far from done.
As Jandee notes, “Pride is the celebration of an uprising against police brutality led by black and brown trans- and queer people. Within our community, LGBTQ people of color continue to be marginalized, and trans women of color in particular face violence at alarming rates. This Pride Month, let us stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the fight against racial injustice.”
As a human resources leader, you have a unique amount of power to make your workplace not just safe, but celebratory for all. Thank you (genuinely!) for seeking out ways to celebrate Pride, and please, in these coming days, weeks, and years, think about how your workplace is also a safe space for everybody, particularly black and marginalized workers.
So keep up the good work! And see how Kazoo can keep your employees aligned and connected, no matter where you’re working.