Embracing Diversity: Thriving as an LGBTQ+ Individual within Recruitment
Advice for employers
This is a guest blog by REC member STR and Insignis
On average, an employee working a full-time job in the UK spends up to 40 hours per week in a working environment. With that vast amount of time spent working, it should be imperative for businesses to ensure that all employees are able to be their true selves.
Below, Consultants and Leaders at STR and Insignis share their perspective and lived experience of being part of a company that actively looks at the skills that individuals can bring to a team dynamic while living their authentic lives.
Victoria Lacey, Associate Director
Embracing Diversity: Supporting LGBTQ+ individuals as a manager in the workplace and creating a culture in which everyone thrives!
Recruitment is simply about finding the best person for the job. So for me, when hiring into our team and recruiting for our clients, I'm always trying to do just that and up until a year ago I always felt like I was. I'd speak to everyone in front of me and actively approach people regardless of characteristics. Then one day, I looked around and realised all of my team were very similar. This was fine in that they’re all great recruiters; it wasn’t until Taylor joined our team that I realised what we were missing. Not only did he very quickly become a great asset to the business, he also brought with him a different dimension, and we wouldn’t be the same without him, which highlights the positive impact having a diverse team can have.
After Taylor joined, it felt as though we started to attract a more diverse candidate pool for the vacancies within our team. Julian joined us last year and then Caitlyn at the beginning of this year. Both are part of the LGBTQ+ community and the energy and enthusiasm they have bought with them has been fantastic – they both clearly have bright futures ahead of them! I believe people are more likely to be interested in a role and a company if they can see someone like them in the team/organisation and this was definitely true for us.
It’s really important at Insignis and STR as a whole that we are constantly striving to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable enough to be their true selves. We believe that by doing that, people feel empowered and that’s when they really flourish. As a manager, I’ve found the most important skill I can have is the ability to listen and understand. This has been key to making sure Taylor, Caitlyn and Julian felt heard and supported when joining our team and has enabled us to create a safe space where people can be themselves. This, coupled with strong HR policies and a zero tolerance approach to any sort of prejudice, has been key to supporting them. The creation of our EDI Board, of which Taylor is a member, really supported these values as it provided a platform for individuals to voice their own experiences and provide the company with insights as to how we can do things better.
I believe that as a company and also as an advisor to the companies we recruit for, EDI is paramount. The inclusion of LGBTQ+ team members has been so beneficial to our team and across the workforce. Having a diverse team can improve efficiency, effectiveness, and inclusivity by bringing together a range of skills, experiences, and emotional intelligence. I am immensely proud of the culture we have created and the support we provide. I look forward to watching our LGBTQ+ team members continue to grow and succeed!
Taylor Lane, Account Executive
Embracing Diversity: Thriving as an LGBTQ+ Individual within Recruitment
Recruitment, much like life, has its ups and downs, but what truly drives us forward is the team we are a part of. Within our team at STR, led by Victoria Lacey, we have made it a priority to create an inclusive environment that embraces individuals from all walks of life, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. This commitment to inclusivity has directly contributed to our team's success, as it has become a safe space where people can collaborate on ideas, openly discuss their mental health and personal struggles, and celebrate individual and collective achievements. Our collective resilience has made us a stronger and more cohesive team.
As an LGBTQ+ individual within the Professional Services team, I have never felt the need to hide my true self or worry about acceptance. From the moment I joined STR, approximately 9 months ago, I could see the supportive nature of the team and the inclusive environment that Victoria had cultivated. This environment has allowed me to thrive, resulting in two promotions since I joined, and has also enabled us to welcome three additional team members, two of whom are also LGBTQ+. Joining the Professional Services team has been the best decision I have made in my recruitment career. It has not only allowed me to reach my full potential as a recruiter but has also provided me with a platform to support my teammates and become a more resilient professional within a nurturing and inclusive environment.
In conclusion, being an LGBTQ+ individual within our team at STR and a member of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Board has been a truly rewarding experience. We have built a culture of acceptance, support, and celebration of diversity. By embracing our differences, we have created an environment where all team members, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can thrive personally and professionally. Together, we continue to foster an inclusive team that encourages collaboration, innovation, and success.
Caitlyn Fisher, Recruitment Consultant
This pride month, I would like to say that being a lesbian at STR Group has been an incredibly positive experience for me. Not only do I feel accepted and valued for who I am, but I also have the pleasure of working alongside other LGBTQ+ colleagues who share similar experiences and perspectives.
One of the most rewarding aspects of working here is being able to share this experience with my partner Abbi. It’s truly a privilege for us to be able to be ourselves at work, without feeling the need to hide our relationship in any way, shape or form. Not only am I proud to be a part of this inclusive environment, but it's also highly rewarding to see just how much Abbi is wholeheartedly accepted and valued by our colleagues and has been able to achieve new heights of success within her 3 years at STR Group.
I feel incredibly lucky to work for a company that not only values diversity and inclusion but actively pursues it and has created an environment where people from all backgrounds are accepted and celebrated for their contributions. It has allowed me to be my full self at work, and to feel supported and respected by my colleagues. This is why Pride Month is so important; to raise awareness and acknowledge the progress that has been made towards total equality. Although I understand that there is still a way to go, I hope that more companies will follow in the footsteps of STR Group and create welcoming and inclusive environments for all employees, regardless of background.
Julian Lewis, Recruitment Consultant
In today's society, the fear of being judged for one's sexuality in a professional setting may seem unwarranted. However, when I joined STR Group in the spring of 2022, I carried with me a genuine concern about being accepted by my new colleagues. Having previously worked in sales-driven environments, my perception of the recruitment industry was that it predominantly consisted of lively, boisterous individuals, and I worried that I wouldn't fit in—especially considering the alarming regression in acceptance of others in recent times. To my surprise, I quickly realised how wrong I was.
During my third week at STR Group, we had the privilege of celebrating Rainbow Day—a day dedicated to honouring the LGBTQ+ colleagues within the company. The event encouraged everyone to wear their most colourful clothing and featured a delicious cake adorned with the Pride flag. It was an experience that made me feel not only comfortable but also valued in my new workplace. In that moment, I realised that Insignis and STR Group was more than just a place to perform my job; it was where I aspired to build my long-term career.
As I mark my one-year anniversary with the company, I am thrilled to be part of a team that includes two other LGBTQ+ colleagues. This aspect holds particular significance for me, as it not only allows me to form new friendships within the community but also provides a platform for open discussions about LGBTQ+ issues within the workplace, industries, and broader culture.
At STR Group, embracing diversity isn't merely a slogan—it is a fundamental part of the company's ethos. From the inclusive events like Rainbow Day to fostering an environment where individuals can openly express their true selves, STR Group has demonstrated its commitment to creating an accepting and supportive workplace. This inclusive culture not only enhances the wellbeing and job satisfaction of its employees but also ensures that diverse perspectives contribute to the company's overall success.
Looking ahead, I’m excited about the future possibilities at STR Group. I’m confident that the company will continue to champion diversity and strive to create an even more inclusive environment for all employees. It is through organisations like STR Group and Insignis that we can drive positive change and inspire other companies to follow suit, fostering a world where everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can thrive both personally and professionally.
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