Blog - Company
Jun 1, 2023 | Read time 3 min

Workplace Diversity Without Direction Is Rudderless

In celebration of Pride month, we’re looking at an issue close to our hearts – workplace diversity. In our quest to understand every voice, read why it’s so important to us.
David FieldDirector, Talent

As we enter June's Pride celebrations, it’s the perfect time to look at workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion. While diversity is a vast spectrum, we're focused on LGBTQ+ this Pride month.

Despite the LGBTQ+ community growing every year, the statistics don't make for great reading. Over half of LGBTQ+ employees are not open to their manager about being LGBTQ+. 67.5% of LGBTQ+ employees reported hearing negative slurs, jokes, or comments about LGBTQ+ people at work. So, as we'll explain in this article, even though diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace have meaningful and apparent advantages for employees and employers alike, the human need for Pride awareness is there for all to see. 

The term ‘diversity’ is banded around quite a lot, with companies flying the rainbow flag without ever really affecting change. Unfortunately, when implemented without direction and unaligned with organizational goals, diversity in the workplace can often hinder LGBTQ+ progress.

Rainbow Washing Can Be Detrimental to a Global Workforce

Rainbow washing is when a company profits from the iconic rainbow flag that symbolizes Pride month without implementing a strategy to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion.

A global workforce consists of many diverse cultures and identities, representing a breadth of perspective. But if they aren't heard, understood, and connected to a business once they are through the front door, it slips into tokenism territory. 

When you start prioritizing diversity and inclusion before the hiring process begins, the benefits of an LGBQT+ workforce are laid bare for all to see. Forbes further addresses the issue: "Maintaining diversity in the workplace is an ongoing process that requires dedication and commitment from employers. However, the benefits of a diverse workplace are numerous, and businesses that embrace diversity can reap the rewards in terms of productivity, innovation and profitability."

A failure to align diversity practices with organizational goals will undermine good intentions. Nice ideas don't often translate as initially thought as companies and management can get wrapped up in more present, short-term issues – day-to-day work and customer satisfaction, for example. Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion require sustained meaningful change, built into the fabric of business growth.

Stonewall and the Value of Inclusive Hiring Principles

The Stonewall Global Diversity Champions program is a partnership to facilitate the continued development of a positive LGBTQ+ accepting/ inclusive environment. Stonewall is a global charity that fights for the freedom, equity, and potential of LGBTQ+ people. Speechmatics launched our Stonewall Global Diversity Champion partnership last June, facilitating part of the journey towards understanding what we need to do to be truly inclusive – a goal we are continually working towards.

In Talent, we are supporting an important part of an organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. At Speechmatics, we build our hiring processes based on desired results from candidates instead of the potential for success to ensure we’re considering everyone from every background, regardless of their upbringing or elitist, private education, for example. We ask candidates to share their pronouns, how to pronounce their names correctly, and are building inclusive language into our interview training; all part of helping our candidates to present their true self in the hiring process.

In line with what we've been discussing, the hiring principles we've created are all set under our organizational aim of understanding every voice. 

Understanding Every Voice Starts Before Day One

Implementing a diverse, inclusive work environment requires more than merely meeting a quota. A workforce energized by one organizational directive can utilize its LGBTQ+ employees to their full potential – when they're accepted, appreciated, and rewarded accordingly. 

At Speechmatics, inclusivity is a vital component of the speech recognition product. Our Autonomous Speech Recognition (ASR) engine currently powers a market-leading 50 languages. To achieve that, we need a genuine interest in different voice cohorts, no matter their identity. 

That starts before the hiring process. It begins with the job description, the hiring manager, and the company's culture, values, and goals. With this directive and our Stonewall partnership, we’ll continue our quest to truly understand every voice.