Monday, June 7, 2021
June is Pride Month, and we’re celebrating, recognizing, and honoring our LGBTQ+ team members for all their incredible contributions. Among those team members is David Trachtenberg, Chief Marketing Officer at Workforce Logiq.
We recently sat down with David for a Q&A where he shared his thoughts on what Pride Month means to him, how organizations can better support the LGBTQ+ community with their hiring strategy, and how to foster an inclusive company culture.
Q. What does LGBTQ+ Pride Month mean to you?
For me, Pride Month is an opportunity to step back and take stock of the state of acceptance within the broader community and reflect on LGBTQ+ progress, while recognizing there’s still more work to be done. It’s a time for people to share stories, learn, and raise visibility within the different communities in which LGBTQ+ members work and live.
Q. What steps can organizations take to better include LGBTQ+ individuals in their hiring strategy?
The best thing organizations can do to be more inclusive of the community during the hiring process is to develop diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies that include all different communities – LGBTQ+, neurodiverse, veterans, individuals with physical disabilities, ethnically diverse folks, women, etc. – and make these policies known.
Also, don’t assume someone you’re speaking to is the same as you. If a man mentions he is married, for example, remember he may not be married to a woman. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that make someone feel comfortable and included. Instead of asking, “how long have you and your wife been married,” consider asking, “how long have you and your spouse been married?”
Prospective talent wants to be part of a community where their differences are acknowledged and valued – where they won’t have to leave parts of themselves at home. Having a level of inclusiveness that makes LGBTQ+ folks feel comfortable sharing different sides of themselves – from the very first interview – is what will help organizations attract diverse talent.
Q. What can be done to ensure long-term success by retaining LGBTQ+ talent?
The key to fostering a culture where LGBTQ+ talent will want to stay long term is to follow through with promises and expectations of inclusivity. For example, if an employee was hired with the promise of opportunities for advancement based on merit, make sure this is actually the case and ensure they won’t hit any kind of ceiling because of who they are.
Organizations should also empower employees to be visible not just during Pride Month but year-round. Promote visibility of senior leaders who identify with or are allies of the LGBTQ+ community, making it clear that their differences are appreciated, and they are welcome. These people can serve as great mentors for other team members, giving them an opportunity to share their stories and having someone to turn to for advice if they run into any challenges.
Ultimately, retention boils down to job satisfaction, and a key element of job satisfaction is employees feeling comfortable in their work environment to be themselves. This means providing all employees with the professional environment to do just that.
Q. What are some things Workforce Logiq has done as an organization that’s made you feel included?
I feel very fortunate to be a part of Workforce Logiq. I have always been able to bring my full self to work. In executive meetings when people are talking about wives and kids, I talk about my husband, our dogs, and horses – and it just flows as part of the normal conversation. It’s a nonissue, which I think is what true acceptance means.
Since I’ve been on the team, Workforce Logiq has also worked hard and proactively to expand its definition of D&I as the world changes and as the definition of LGBTQ+ continues to expand. For example, we updated our official policy to broaden our definition to include gender identity as well as neurodiverse employees, not just focusing on the categories we typically think of when talking about diversity – race, gender, etc. I’m proud to work at an organization that makes everyone feel included and like they have an important role to play in the company’s success.
Q. What is the one piece of advice you can share with other LGBTQ+ individuals for success in their workplace?
I am one of the fortunate ones – having always been in accepting and supportive work environments. I know that others are not as lucky given that there are no explicit statewide sexual orientation and gender identity anti-discrimination laws in 27 states, including where I live. Assuming someone has the option to select an employer with explicit support systems for and commitments to their LGBTQ+ employees, my advice is to take control of their narrative – and own who they are.
Being confident of who you are extends well beyond your sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity. It is a sign of strength, resilience – and integrity. These are all critical qualities for professional and personal success. And, being proud and honest takes power away from those who would try to use your uncertainty to diminish and bully you in the workplace. It’s worked well for me – and I hope that advice can work for others as well.
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