No one should have to hide a fundamental and integral part of their identity—their sexual orientation or gender identity—in the workplace. The onus is on employers to create an environment for their employees where people feel not only “accepted without exception” but just as likely to be considered for promotion.
How can we create truly LGBT+ inclusive tech companies?
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive at Stonewall, an organization working toward empowering LGBT+ people at work, has found that over the past decade, "Leading employers across all sectors have shown a real commitment to inclusion and have taken positive steps towards LGBT+ equality. Unfortunately, the findings of our Work Report show there’s still lots to do. The fact that more than a third (35 percent) of LGBT+ staff have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination shows that change is still very much needed.”
In order to do this we realize that engaging only with the LGBT+ minority at Signavio will never be sufficient: we need to engage the majority with our values and behaviors. This goes beyond our Code of Conduct (a compulsory document containing our ethos, read by all employees) and People of Trust scheme (non-leadership employees who can be approached anonymously, for support and assistance) and extends to a cultural shift across all teams and locations. To make this happen we need engaging and accessible role models who act as visible points of contact within Signavio so that employees have someone to talk and relate to.
Role models at Signavio
LGBT+ inclusive tech companies support individual employees as role models who can bring individual authenticity to LGBT+ issues, promote an inclusive agenda, and monitor the company’s tone of voice on that agenda. Role models can also help challenge existing observed behaviors which do not promote an inclusive atmosphere at work.
At Signavio, we know we need more role models. We are lucky to have a few, but to ensure visibility and engagement across all locations—for the whole team, not just for those in our main offices—we want to drive LGBT+ recruitment and show our staff internally and our future employees externally, that we mean business.
Christopher Street Day
That’s why you’ll find us at Berlin’s Christopher Street Day Parade this year, on the 28th of July.
I’m looking forward to walking alongside my colleagues during Signavio’s first Pride event. Christopher Street Day isn’t about our products—there are plenty of other events for that. Instead, it’s about showing an appreciation for and solidary with the LGBT movement and it acts as a reminder of what we can do to make Signavio a more inclusive place to work. Nicolas Peters, Co-Founder & Co-CTO
It's also why we attended Europe’s largest LGBT job and careers fair, Sticks & Stones, earlier this month. We fully intend to have a presence at similar events in the future, too.
The tech industry is challenging one. On the one side, it positively challenges employees to think, problem-solve, and create, in an engaging and cross-disciplinary way. On the other, it is an often monocultural space which can seem exclusive and threatening. We realize this and we are rising to this challenge. The events that took place on Christopher Street sparked a revolution, a loud and important one, but the work is not over.
We want to empower individuals to shift the scales at work. We want to see more and more LGBT+ inclusive tech companies, and we want to make ratios more balanced within them. But most of all, we want to help open hearts and minds, and ensure employees feel supported, empowered and proud, no matter who they are.