More organizations than ever are rolling out rainbow flags each June in recognition of Pride Month. And yet, despite the widespread celebration, there is still much to be done to build truly diverse and inclusive workplaces.
According to a 2020 McKinsey study, 76% of LGBTQ+ men and 82% of LGBTQ+ women reported experiencing microaggressions in the workplace because of their sexual orientation.
As an organization built on the creation of meaningful connections, ensuring people are treated with dignity and respect is central to our Values. At Startek®, we celebrate Pride Month as an opportunity to recognize and promote the need for year-long allyship for the LGBTQ+ community, both inside our own organization and within the communities across the globe where our operations are based.
To celebrate Pride Month 2022, we invited team members from across our organization to share their experiences and discuss the role that organizations play in celebrating LGBTQ+ culture and amplifying LGBTQ+ voices.
“Diversity and inclusion education and training is extremely important in the workplace,” said Maia Dehar, Customer Care Consultant. “When diversity and inclusion is encouraged, it not only supports the creation of a safer workplace but a stronger one, both emotionally and mentally. It also helps to eliminate discrimination by helping others to recognize their own biases.”
Startek diversity training ensures associates across the globe have a shared understanding of what is expected and how we work together, while our values champion the benefits of diverse groups. When people are curious about and welcoming of other people’s experiences and perspectives, they become aware of unconscious biases that could be holding them back or having a negative impact on colleagues around them. The Startek commitment to diversity training empowers employees to be champions for inclusivity and call out behavior or processes that could exclude others, ensuring everyone feels welcome and valued.
Senior leaders shape the culture of every organization. Associates reflect the behavior they see and experience, meaning that leaders must role model the behavior they want to see team members’ display. It is the responsibility of every leader to amplify voices from across the organization, including those of the LGBTQ+ community, to create an equitable environment.
“Before I joined Startek, the first thing I inquired about was how open the company, especially the leadership team, was towards the LGBTQ+ community” said Gretchen Ferrer, Talent Acquisition Director. “To my surprise, I have never felt any negative biases towards my gender preference. Everyone, including the leaders, are very supportive and accepting,”
“My leaders and peers have always been very accepting of who I am as a person. We are constantly celebrated and encouraged by our leadership team to be our authentic selves and Startek is a very safe and open organization for my community to work for,” said Joshua Sirek, Senior HR Analyst.
“Employers must encourage their employees to be themselves at work” continued Dehar. “It not only boosts individual engagement but also promotes group morale. When people can be their authentic selves, they are likely to be more productive and enthusiastic which also makes it easier to come to work every day”.
Successful organizations empower their people at all levels to drive improvements and create change. But, to feel able to push the boundaries, associates must feel a sense of belonging and be confident that they can make suggestions or challenge the status quo without fear of humiliation, judgement or exclusion.
The value of psychological safety at work is widely recognized. When organizations create the opportunity for their people to bring their whole selves to work, they also build emotionally strong teams that are more engaged, perform better and stay longer.
“Being able to work in an environment where there is neither judgement nor bias, brings out the best in people, which in turn enables them to work better and at the same time inspires others to do the same. It’s critical for organizations to recognize and acknowledge skills and not gender or sexual orientation when a job needs to be done” commented Ferrer.
Every June, organizations around the globe celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and promote LGBTQ+ rights. Startek is proud to support Pride Month and be a part of a global movement that recognizes the progress made towards inclusivity, while also highlighting the challenges that the LGBTQ+ community still faces every day.
In our own organization we constantly strive to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. And, we recognize that being an ally to our LGBTQ+ community requires commitment that extends beyond Pride Month, because equity is built or eroded in the decisions we make every day of the year.
“While benefits are local to each country, Startek recognizes that benefits that include diverse groups promote belonging and we are glad to include same-sex partners as dependents in healthcare provision in the Philippines and U.S.,” added Ferrer. “As a result, I have been able to enroll my partner as my dependent in my health plan and I’ve been very grateful for this, especially with the ongoing pandemic.”
“To me, Startek is my family. The people here enrich my experience and they are there for me every step of the way," said Tee Toleafoa, Team Leader. “Startek has a special place in my heart, I feel triumphant in the person this place has molded and helped me to become.”