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Pride 2020: In it together

By Simon Winfield, Managing Director, Hays UK & Ireland

Like everything else about this year, Pride 2020 will be different.

Typically, in cities across the UK and Ireland, millions of people use Pride to congregate and show their support and solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic will move 2020’s celebrations online, it’s vital that we continue in our commitment to making progressive strides forward.

No lockdown on equality, diversity and inclusion

Alongside many other organisations, as soon as lockdown measures were announced, many of our employees became remote workers overnight.

The immediate challenges were technical, logistical and business-led. For example, could we all access the systems and were we able to communicate with each other and our customers? How should we adapt our service offerings to better meet our customers’ needs?

But, that doesn’t mean you can forget your core principles or even put them to one side during this time. We’ve worked hard to establish communities within Hays and if anything, lockdown has strengthened the need for these communities and led them to play an even bigger role.

Understanding people’s unique experiences of the pandemic

Whilst any time of uncertainty and turbulent upheaval inevitably causes stress and anxiousness for most people, the social distancing and lockdown measures enforced across the UK and Ireland in the last few months have also caused or exacerbated feelings of isolation and loneliness. Further, people have experienced the pandemic and lockdown very differently, which has been an added challenge for all leaders.

One of the ways in which I am trying to be a better ally during this very different Pride month is by being mindful of the unique challenges experienced by our employees, colleagues and customers throughout the pandemic.

For example, leaving their usual accommodation and returning ‘home’ for lockdown may not have been a safe haven for some within the LGBTQ+ community who do not feel accepted, or that they can be their authentic selves, with their families or in their hometowns. Plus, there may be others who live alone and have struggled with lockdown and rely even more on their colleagues.

Why being an ally matters, today more than ever

The theme of this year’s Pride in London is “You, Me, Us, We”. It calls on us to reach out and understand one another, be better allies to those within the LGBTQ+ community and demands us to be better allies within our own community. It asks for us all to call out all forms of racism, islamophobia, biphobia, homophobia and transphobia, and to educate friends and family about marginalised LGBTQ+ communities.

From lockdowns worldwide to the global Black Lives Matter protests, it seems that solidarity, allyship and ‘being in it together’ are words and phrases that truly capture the spirit of this new era. For us at Hays, it means our UK&I Pride Days have taken on even more meaning and I’m looking forward to showing my support when we celebrate.

About this author

Simon joined Hays in 2006, having commenced his recruitment career in 1993. Initially responsible for our businesses in Western Australia and Northern Territory, Simon relocated to the UK in 2014 where he was responsible for our operations in the West & Wales and Ireland, before being appointed Managing Director of the UK & Ireland business in 2018.

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