February is a big month for the LGBT community with two major events taking place. February is LGBT history month, a month which celebrates LGBT+ culture, reflects on the history and looks to future. Secondly, the 28th February marks Purple Friday, which is a day to stand against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and show out support.
Over the past year iMultiply have been working towards our LGBT+ charter and to us, this seemed like the perfect time to look back on our journey and reflect on what we’ve learned.
Lesson 1: Intent is invisible
One of the major internal challenges and objections we faced, when setting off down the rainbow brick road, was the idea that we were already a fully inclusive business and this would be apparent to any individual whom wished to be a part of the iMultiply family - on whatever basis that may be.
This feeling was born out of unity and the strong relationships that long-standing members of the business had with one another. There was a feeling that, because we knew one another so well, we understood that things were said in jest and that ‘throw away comments’ were void of any malicious intent.
However, how would someone new to the family know this? They wouldn’t.
We have learned that intent is invisible; which in turn has taught us the importance of visualising our stance and identity as an LGBT+ inclusive workplace and business. Therefore, with some amazing guidance from Jane Griffin (LGBT Youth Scotland), we now have LGBT posters up in all of our offices (including meeting rooms and receptions areas). This means that whenever we have someone new joining the team or a member of the accountancy and finance community visiting us for interview – they know, due to something as simple as an A4 sheet of paper, that they are in a safe place and can be completely authentic, without the feeling that the person sitting across from them may discriminate against them.
Lesson 2: Starting a wider conversation
In September 2019, as part of the LGBT Charter, we hosted a round table discussion with members of the LGBT+ community with the intent of gathering information about what are the greatest challenges faced by the LGBT community members in the workplace. This proved to be a great morning filled with excellent insights and mountains of breakfast rolls.
One of the most interesting insights that came from this discussion, was the suggestion that we as a business should be proactively trying to educate our network on LBGT+ inclusion and more specifically – the traps and pit falls that we have overlooked as a business. This is in order to encourage self-reflection, in our customers on this matter. The point was made that by doing so, the impact of our LGBT Charter journey spreads far wider than simply ensuring that those dealing, in a direct capacity, with iMultiply feel safe to be the most authentic version of themselves. However by being proactive we can help other members of the business community start down the road to becoming more LGBT+ inclusive businesses.
Lesson 3: Maintaining a Growth Mindset
At the end of 2019 before our Christmas party, our senior management team had organised some companywide training to kick-off the day in order to get our reflective juices flowing.
This training was based around improving our abilities, as individuals and teammates, at giving feedback to one another. There were role plays, group discussions and even free t-shirts.
One of the key points that came out of this training was the idea of a ‘growth mindset’ – which was defined as constantly striving to improve on oneself. In the context of the training, this was important as it meant that someone was more open to feedback and therefore would be far more approachable to anyone who may have some. This is very applicable when looking at our LGBT charter.
We have learned that we must constantly maintain a ‘growth mindset’ when it comes to LGBT+ inclusion and that it is a journey, not a destination. Therefore, although we hope that in 2020 iMultiply will become a LGBT Chartered business, this does not mean that we are now rubberstamped as a ‘perfectly LGBT+ inclusive business’. Not by any stretch of the imagination…but we will continue to work hard to be so.
Throughout the month of February, we will be sharing our key findings from our round table as part of our campaign to promote a more inclusive workplace. As part of Purple Friday (28th February) we will be sending out postcards to our network asking them to stand with us for a more inclusive workplace.
Will you stand with us?