For most of us the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have impacted every aspect of our professional and personal lives. Many of us have been forced to replace boardrooms with kitchen tables and coworkers with children, spouses, or parents. Employees have had to adjust to juggling work, school, healthcare, essential shopping, childcare – the list goes on and on – all while confined to their homes. Many businesses have also had to adjust to a new definition of ‘operational’ while trying to keep their head above water in these very uncharted seas. We are all doing our best to survive a perfect pandemic storm.
As with any other troubling time in human history, this too shall pass. But what remains when the skies clear will depend very much upon our stewardship amid the storm. One area in danger of collapse, if ignored for other priorities, is a company’s culture – that shared set of values, goals, and practices that your organization embodies.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are an integral part of that culture. But, with the lack of physical proximity between workers, and given the fact that likely most of our efforts have been focused on keeping our businesses functioning, for some, diversity, equity, and inclusion may not have been a priority. However, there are ways to help ensure your company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts survive the storm and remain a priority.
June is international Pride month, a month in which LGBTQ+ people from around the world celebrate and honour a rich and meaningful history, advocate for the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ people globally, and pay tribute to those who have helped pave progress. Throughout the month of June, Pride marches and activities draw millions of LGBTQ+ participants, activists, and allies alike. This year’s attendance, despite COVID-19, is slated to be no different. But how?
International Pride organizations mobilized quickly and adapted early. In certain countries homosexual rights and freedoms are still painfully lagging, and even in areas where gay rights have made substantial progress, people often remain closeted to the public, to their families, and to their coworkers. Pride organizers understood that these celebrations are the only interactivity the LGBTQ+ community is afforded. They knew that Pride must go on.
Countries, provinces, and states around the world will leverage technology to conduct online celebrations, live stream concerts, and broadcast prerecorded messages in what may become the world’s largest Pride event in history. Yes, it will be different this year since most events will not be in-person. Yes, we will all miss our fabulously rainbow strung parades, but not for a moment will the culture, diversity, equity, or inclusiveness of the LGBTQ+ community succumb to the likes of a pandemic.
Like many of the Pride organizations around the world, Ceridian also believes Pride must go on. And like many of those Pride organizations, we too will leverage our technology to help ensure our culture continues to thrive when we return to smooth sailing.
Here are some of the ways Ceridian’s senior leadership, allies, and LGBTQ+ coworkers are doing their part to celebrate with pride.
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of how we do business, but it is important to note that it has also changed how we, as Ceridian employees, connect to, and with, each other. As a part of that connection effort, throughout the month of June, Ceridian leadership, in partnership with the CeridianPRIDE Employee Resource Group, will hold weekly virtual Pride connection activities. These will culminate with an event on June 26, right before the first ever virtual global Pride celebration on June 27. These events are open to all our global employees and cover a wide range of educational and informative topics. They also create a safe environment for those employees living in countries with less or different freedoms and protections than the rest of us. Often these types of events are the only opportunity for these LGBTQ+ coworkers to be open, honest, and their authentic self.
Tip: Be sure to leverage technology to close the gap when proximity to your colleagues is an issue. The use of webcams during meetings or individual conversations may help your employees feel connected – even from a distance. The benefit of technology is that it also provides more opportunities to stay connected – whether it’s creating a forum for employees to come together and share their stories, a virtual celebration, a note, or even a pulse survey.
Ceridian and its employees see our diversity, equity, and inclusion as an asset to be cultivated and respected by all Ceridianites. For us, these principles are unwavering and represented in what is known to Ceridianites as Our Way, the values which guide how we act, and how we deliver on our brand promise. Our Way is also about our stories and how our employees live our values in their daily lives.
Tip: Strive to honour the diversity, equity, and inclusion of each of your employees – out of sight should not be out of mind. If your company does not already have one, consider the formation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) employee resource group with a blend of leaders and employees to begin the journey. There are plenty of online resources available. Read the blog, Six ways to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace to get started.
In the longer-term, it’s critical to live your company values and bring them to life at every stage of the employee experience. Your workforce data can tell a story, whether it’s uncovering insights related to fair pay, or revealing potential engagement and retention challenges with your LGBTQ+ employees. And technology can support your plan of action – from reducing bias in hiring practices in this new world of remote working to reaching an even more diverse talent pool.
While the pandemic seems oddly capable of giving us a feeling that we are all in this together, for many, the senseless death of George Floyd could not have offered anything further from that truth. And while many of us in the LGBTQ+ community have experienced communities intolerant to our orientation, been turned out of housing, passed over for promotions, disowned by family, or even cast from our places of worship simply for being who we are – watching the events of continued systematic racism and intolerance is painful and cannot be ignored.
Ceridianites throughout the organization are taking a stand and facing this storm head-on by creating focus groups designed to continue cultivating a workplace that is inclusive and equitable for all employees. The goal of our effort is to hear from our colleagues who are Black or BIPOC about fairness and equity at Ceridian and to hear from allies who want to make sure the workplace is fair and equitable for everyone.
Tip: Continually educate yourself, your leaders, and your employees on the importance of recognizing bias – whether unconscious or implicit. Here is an article from Ceridian’s Chairman and CEO, David Ossip and Ceridian President and COO Leagh Turner on what this entails.
I hope that you are fortunate enough to work in an environment that allows you to proudly be your authentic self at all times, one that is willing to see your connection to the larger team as an invaluable part of its sum, one that is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion not only in policy but in action. But above all these, I hope you are fortunate enough to work in an environment willing to take honest inventory and critical steps toward making work life better for everyone.
I am proud to work at Ceridian. Taking the time to address any or all of the tips and action items I shared above is certainly a step in the right direction. While Ceridian’s brand promise is to make work life better, I encourage you as a leader in your organization to make it your goal as well.
From all Ceridian employees, and LGBTQ+ members and allies that make up CeridianPRIDE, we hope that if you are celebrating Pride as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, an activist, or an ally you continue to do so safely.