How important is it for members of the LGBTQ+ community to have visible role models in the workplace? And what are the responsibilities of those in the LGBTQ+ community in positions of leadership?
Those were some of the topics discussed by Impellam Group colleagues Andrew Turner (Director of Workforce Solutions at Medacs Global Group, Australia), Farren Congress (Account Manager, Salesforce) and Mick Whitley (Commercial Director, Medacs Global Group UK) at our Pride panel event, which was hosted by Claire Marsh, CEO, Impellam North America, and facilitated by Russell Norton from employee engagement consultancy scarlettabbott.
Mick and Andrew acknowledged their responsibilities as leaders and members of the community to create inclusive workplaces. Mick added: “We’re comfortable with who we are and ready to speak, so that’s what we should be doing as champions of this group. We have to create that space for other people to be their authentic selves.”
Farren agreed: “Sometimes, there is someone who needs to see a successful gay person in leadership. We have to be an example, so that those who are coming behind us don’t have to go through what we went through. I’m willing to do that and to be visible.”
The panellists shared their experience of working at Impellam Group. The diversity of thought and characteristics that Farren saw during her interview process encouraged her to join our business. She said: “It made me feel that this is a place where I can be my authentic self. They accept me for who I am and that allows me to be the best version of myself.”
Mick said our induction helped to create a more inclusive workplace. He explained: “Diversity is one of the key topics. We talk about what it means to feel included, and we share some of these personal stories, so that people know they are welcome, that we will do everything to support them and that we will not stand by and allow inappropriate behaviour.”
Mick recognised the ‘protection’ that came with joining a workplace as a leader and at this stage of his identity journey with ‘a loving husband and family and friends who support me’. He said: “I’ve never felt I’ve had to hide any details about myself; we need to make sure that experience is shared for every employee.”
Farren added: “I’m a bisexual woman. This is the first company I’ve ever shared that with because, as a black woman in corporate America, there’s all of these other things I have to navigate and so I kept my personal side to myself. This is the first place I feel I can be my full authentic self.”