Equality at work
Authenticity and inclusion in the workplace starts with you
April 30, 2015
More than half of all LGBT workers in the U.S. still hide who they are at work, reports the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). That isn’t just bad for morale—it’s bad for business, says HRC. In fact, employee engagement suffers by up to 30 percent due to unwelcoming work environments.
Slalom's San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices wanted to do their part to encourage openness and authenticity in the workplace. Their GLASS (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Allied Employees Succeeding at Slalom) program hosted a local Pride at Work event to spark dialogue and promote networking.
“After receiving our perfect score from HRC, we really wanted to do something to give back to our local market,” says John Darden, event organizer and retail client service lead at Slalom San Francisco.
Darden, who helped start GLASS in San Francisco and then roll out the program to Slalom nationally, sought out panel speakers who have been instrumental to the fight for workplace inclusiveness.
Panelists included prominent local figures such as Scott Wiener (San Francisco supervisor, District 8), Stephanie Smith (EVP, Enterprise Marketing, Wells Fargo), Mary Cha-Caswell (VP – International Product Management and Technology, Gap), and Julie Yasko (Sales Manager, The Clorox Company).
“The incredible group of panelists demonstrated that it is possible to bring your authentic self to work each and every day,” says Carl Johnson, general manager of Slalom San Francisco.
Panelists shared their personal stories and discussed topics around building an inclusive organization, networking with the larger community and its resources, and recruiting, promoting, and retention. They also looked ahead to what’s next for diversity and inclusion in their organizations and spheres of influence.
“Supporting diversity and inclusion in our city has long been a cornerstone of what makes San Francisco the great city that it is. From passing the nation's first LGBT protection laws to working with the private sector to ensure equitable rights for everyone who lives and works here, we create a more equitable society and set a clear example for other cities and states to emulate,” said panelist Supervisor Wiener. “Participating in Slalom’s LGBT Diversity and Inclusion speaker series was a great way to educate and inspire our community to get more involved with their local employee resource groups.”
“It is possible to bring your authentic self to work each and every day.”
Get inspired and get involved
“We recognize that diversity—of all kinds—is not just welcome at Slalom, but is critical to our business,” says Johnson. “Establishing a work environment where all have a voice ensures diversity of thought, opinion, and action and, frankly, leads to better decision making as an organization.”
The takeaway from this event, says Darden, is action.
For those at organizations that already have active employee resource groups and communities, he wants them to get inspired to get involved.
And for those who don’t—“start one!” says Darden.
Led by Slalom San Francisco, the local GLASS chapters are already looking ahead to June’s annual Pride month.
“GLASS has done so much to advocate for and improve the lives of many of our employees,” says Johnson. “I am proud to see GLASS now reaching outward to our community to work to make an even greater impact.”