It has long been said there are three elements that make up a productive workplace: management, money, and the ability to succeed. But this is simply not true. You see, I have been there, I have had amazing managers, earnt great money and been given the tools and training to be successful. But I would stay awake at night on a Sunday dreading going into work the next day. Each day I would wake up, put on my uniform, and like drag artist I became someone else. But unlike a drag artist, it was the least authentic version of myself.
This experience was not restrict to one employer, in 20 years I have:
- Been let go on the last day of my probation, because “it was agreed with a few of our customers that someone like you isn’t the right fit for our company.”
- Had a university lecturer tell me they didn’t believe a gay man has any role to play in early childhood education.
- Had customers refuse to work with me.
- Been asked by my new manager, (who I had worked alongside since I started with the company) to be “less myself,” as it is “distracting’ and “off-putting” to other staff.
- Had countless opportunities taken away, turned down at interview, and instead given to someone less qualified because I am gay.
These experiences are not specific to location or industry: I have worked in a range of industries in the city, suburbs and in rural communities and I wish I could put this down to poor luck on my behalf, but that would be incorrect. You see, this is the experience of millions of people each day, especially for those in the LGBTQI+ community.
This was a patten I wanted to break, especially when I moved into recruitment in 2018. But I quickly learnt that my role was primarily a facilitator and had little to no impact on how those I helped into work were integrated into their new teams. That was, until I started at Talentplicity.
On my first day at Talentplicity, Nic, our MD, asked me to meet him on site with one of our most important consulting clients. There we meet one of our new team members (Mo), starting that day on site with that client. We spent around half an hour, during which Nic asked him about his weekend, his family, and congratulated him on the role. We discussed how he had been successful, and we then took him into his new office and were present when he was welcomed into his new team.
Nic then told me that to any other recruiter out there, Mo would be seen as another contractor, on site for another company. But not with us. He is employed by Talentplicity, and though we may not see him in our offices physically, he is still a member of our team, and every team member deserves to be included, have successes celebrated, and their work equally valued like every other team. Being present and facilitating a genuine introduction gave us the opportunity to take a step towards ensuring he feels valued, safe and included from his very first day.
And yes, it is that simple.
Cast your mind back to a first round interview. You walk into an office block; you are met by a receptionist; you sit and wait, trying to look professional; strangers come and go, and from that point you try and become the person you think they want you to be.
Now, imagine if your interviewer asked where you would like to meet: a local café? a restaurant? a park? Or even on a lunch time walk around the opera house. From that moment you have entered a space where you are both equal; your guard is dropped and you have an opportunity for the real you to come out.
Now fast-forward to your first day, being asked to meet at the same coffee shop, where the conversation would start with just a check in before letting you know what is going to happen for the rest of the day. Maybe the rest of our team meets you there soon after, then as a team you head to your new office. Now instead of a stranger entering someone’s space, you are a team member being welcomed to your new home.
So what do these ideas have to do with being gay? NOTHING. And that’s my point.
When we create workplaces of equality, where each person feels accepted, welcomed, and supported we create a sense of harmony between our staff through which success naturally occurs.
So, to summarize:
- Be WELCOMING of all members of your team
- PROACTIVLY bring in new members from diverse backgrounds
- Provide an environment where they can be SAFE
- Be PROUD of the things that make them different
- INCLUDE that diversity in your work culture
- Your team’s differences become your business’s POINT OF DIFFERENCE
- ENSURE these values are upheld by ALL (no exceptions)
Oh, and remember:
- Acceptance is more than having a token gay guy in your office, who you go to for when you need fashion tips or feel like having an office gossip.
- Pride is more than adding a rainbow flag over your logo on social media for Mardi Gras week.
These may not be listed on our website, but they are the underpinning morals behind every decision we make at Talentplicity. I could not be prouder of the difference we make to others lives and more importantly could not be more passionate about what we do.
We all deserve the right to be given a legitimate chance to be successful at our workplaces. And no one have right to take away someone else’s rights because they are “different” to what you are used to.