“Being your true self at any time will give you so much more energy to start your day – and there it all begins.” In celebration of Pride, employees from across the Adecco Group share their thoughts on what companies can do to make their workplaces more diverse and inclusive, and what meaningful progress would mean.

Every year, during the month of June, the LGBTQ+ community celebrates Pride Month. At the Adecco Group, we want to hear your stories and your experiences. How can companies, including the Adecco Group, make the world of work more inclusive? What meaningful progress do you want to see going forward? Below, hear from several employees across the Adecco Group.

 

When Javier Benavides Muñoz, Head of Legal at the Adecco Group Spain, first joined the company, he felt some unease before his first day. As an incoming member of the multi-national team at only 25 years of age, Javier said he felt a bit scared.

 

“Among other things, because I did not know how they would deal with a gay colleague,” Javier said.

 

But it turns out that fear was only in his head. When he joined the team, he found everyone so welcoming that “any attempt of fear was immediately banished.”

Javier Benavides Muñoz

Javier later transferred to Adecco Latin America after four years with the company, a move which he had to weigh carefully given the fact that not all countries are LGBTQ+ friendly.

 

“Nonetheless, not only did I decide to go, but I decided to speak openly about my husband and my personal situation,” Javier said. “I knew my position within the organisation would grant me the opportunity to be open in a place where not everyone had the same opportunity. I don’t know if I managed to make any difference, but just thinking I could have is good enough.”

 

Javier is one of several employees from across the Adecco Group that shared his personal experiences working at the Adecco Group being a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

 

Angelique Hall Bovee, Senior Career Coach for Team USA’s Athlete Career and Education Program at the Adecco Group US Foundation, recalled the day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriage was legal in all 50 states.


Angelique Hall Bovee and her wife

Angelique and her now-wife decided to rush down to the courthouse and get married right away, “as we never thought we would see that change in our lifetime.” When she called her manager, Rachelle, she said she was met with support.

 

“I called my supervisor, Rachelle Chapman, to break the news,” Bovee recalled. “She told me to take the day off and was wonderfully supportive throughout. This is just one small example of many times Rachelle has gone above and beyond to be inclusive and welcoming. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive manager throughout my time with the Adecco Group.”

 

In celebration of Pride Month this June, hear from employees about their challenges, their victories, and their perspectives as members of the LGBTQ+ community and LGBTQ+ allies. Below, their thoughts on the importance of bringing your true self to work – and how companies can institute meaningful and lasting change.

 

 

The Importance of Bringing Your True, Authentic Self to Work

 

 

In the past, there used to be a much more distinct separation between an employee’s personal and professional world, Javier said. But the truth is that work has become an important part of our everyday lives: we invest a lot of our time in work, we build close friendships at work, we grow at work, and some people even find their significant others at work.

 

“If you can’t bring your best self to work, you can’t be your best,” said Bovee, who self-identifies as queer. “Being comfortable to come to work as your authentic self not only sets up an environment of excellence, but also can bring a diversity of thought.”

 

“Because being your true self at any time will give you so much more energy to start your day and there it all begins,” said Bart Bierinckx, who is Payroll and Services Officer at Adecco Belgium and self-identifies as gay.

 

It gives employees the freedom to wake up free of any negative thoughts about what people might think about you, he said. “At the end of each day, I experience a lot of positive feelings: self-confidence, respect and appreciation. I believe that every employee should be able to feel ‘at home’ at work, regardless of their background or their preferences. When you feel good at your workplace, you also perform better which results in satisfied employees but also satisfied customers and associates.”

Bart Bierinckx

What Can Companies Do to Create Meaningful Change?

 

Meaningful change starts at the recruitment level, Bierinckx explained. It’s important to stop labelling each other, whether in recruitment or in day-to-day lives. “Competencies are important, but even more important are the attitude and the mindset of the candidate,” Bierinckx said.

 

Leaders at various companies need to better understand the stories, barriers, and obstacles for people who are not from traditionally represented groups (white, heterosexual, able-bodied, and male), said Dick Reasons, who is SVP & Area Director for LHH, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and self-identifies as gay.

 

That way, everyone can come to work and feel comfortable and understood, Reasons said.

 

“Executive leadership should be willing to invest in listening to the stories of employees and strive to create an inclusive environment. This will make a company an employer of choice,” Reasons said.

 

“As individuals we only have so much energy. As leaders, we need to ensure that as much of this energy as possible goes toward contributing to goals and working on what matters most to both customer and company,” Reasons added. “When the work environment fails to support an individual to be who they truly are, some, and often most, of this limited energy is used to put up ‘a shield’ to hide behind, and those around them can never know the true person that they are.”

 

When it comes to making changes, it is a step-by-step ongoing process, adds Stuti Bajaj, an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and Group SVP HR, who supports leaders in Corporate Functions in developing their ways of working.

Stuti Bajaj

We can all drive diversity and inclusion with simple things: adapting language to make people feel included, rather than excluded (say “valued colleagues,” instead of “ladies and gentlemen”), or rewriting job descriptions to make them gender neutral. We also need ongoing feedback from our people so we can continually adapt our approach, whether that be in the form an informal meeting or through regular surveys.

 

“In my opinion, inclusion is not a one-off training, it is an ongoing effort,” Bajaj said. “When this effort starts coming naturally, instead being a conscious effort to everyone in an organisation, that’s when an organisation has made meaningful progress in this domain.”

 

Bovee said companies looking to be inclusive should include all marginalized communities. For example: introducing pronouns in corporate and client meetings as well as LinkedIn and business cards.

 

For companies, it should be all about people and their talent – and not their gender, their ethnicity, or any labels, said Gordana Landen, an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and the CHRO at the Adecco Group.

 

“We envision a world in which talent matters, not labels, and where everyone has a chance to be part of the world of working," Landen said. “We continuously strive towards a culture of inclusion, belonging and trust where our people feel comfortable to bring their authentic selves to work.”

Gordana Landen

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