Not Just 30 Days: Supporting the LGBTQIA+ Community Year-Long
Rainbow Wings is an affinity group at Corvus with a mission to foster a safe environment within Corvus that accepts, supports, and celebrates Corvids belonging to LGBTQIA+ communities. We wanted to take the time this month to celebrate and acknowledge the LGBTQIA+ community, as millions do the same in Pride events across the world. Join us in looking back over the past year of activity and advocacy in Rainbow Wings and Corvus.
- Rainbow Wings co-chairs
As June rolls around, rainbow flags unravel across storefronts, lawns, and overhead — a universal statement of support for the LGBTQIA+ community. And across the country, celebrations take to the street. Marches, block parties, and outdoor performances welcome a sense of kinship and acceptance that hasn’t always been found among acquaintances, family, or in the media. Since the Stonewall Uprising began in the early hours of June 28th, 1969, community organizers have taken significant strides to build on the spirit of resistance and boost LGBTQIA+ rights across the country.
Of course, Pride looks a lot different now than it did when it began — for one, it’s been nationally recognized — but that doesn’t take away from its origins: a political movement, not just a celebration. So when companies take to rainbow-ifying their products for a month, we hope there’s more behind the aesthetics.
What specifically is Corvus doing to embrace LGBTQIA+ employees so they feel supported in the workplace?
Most companies (Corvus included!) want to declare that they have an accepting, inclusive culture — but it can be hard to know for certain what the culture is like without first-hand experience. When we were certified as a Great Place to Work it was because 97% of employees shared their real experiences, with a vast majority of employees agreeing with the following:
- “This is a psychologically and emotionally healthy place to work” — 97%
- “I am treated as a full member here regardless of my position” — 98%
- “I can be myself around here.” — 97%
Phil Edumundson, founder and CEO, said: “There is no better time than today to demonstrate the commitment at Corvus to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our nest aspires to welcome Corvids of every community that wish to help us to build a #SaferWorld.”
Pronouns — No Assumptions, Please
One of our Employee Resource Groups, All Wings, is dedicated to recognizing, understanding and celebrating diversity. They spearheaded an effort to encourage more widespread use of pronouns across the organization, in both email signatures and Slack. Now, all new employees are provided with the option to include their pronouns in their email signature upon joining the company. Our goals are to reduce the burden on our trans and non-binary employees when it comes to explaining their identity, as well as to normalize the idea to not assume someone’s pronouns when meeting them.
Deep-rooted gender norms and traditional societal expectations have contributed heavily to discrimination and stigmatization towards trans individuals. We want to do our part to counteract the pressure to “manage” one’s identity. In a workplace where we all have enough to worry about, feeling comfortable to be one’s authentic self should not be a daily stressor. All of our offices follow a trans-inclusive restroom and facilities policy, as well as a gender-neutral dress code to protect and promote the rights of all employees. Our employer-sponsored healthcare offers coverage for gender-affirming surgery and hormone therapy.
Prioritizing Mental Health
In 2020, 76% of US adults surveyed reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition, and nearly two-thirds of employees talked about their mental health to someone at work. NAMI reports that lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults are more than twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a mental health condition, and the percentage is even higher for transgender individuals.
We shouldn’t ignore the impact workplace stress has on mental health (and that it’s just as important as physical wellness). While one key component is feeling comfortable at work — like trusting your manager and coworkers — another major factor is burnout. We offer unlimited PTO and encourage employees to take advantage of it, sometimes with a gentle nudge. Our Fly the Coop days are company-wide days off (so no FOMO) to encourage a mental health break. We also offer an assortment of mental health resources through our benefits, including TalkSpace, Ginger, and Happify.
We recognize that none of that is a perfect, singular solution to managing mental health while working a full-time job. We continue to have conversations on how to best support our employee's wellness and destigmatize mental health conversations in the workplace.
We Can (And Should) Keep Improving
None of this means that we are done with our work to make Corvus a welcoming place for all future employees. What’s coming?
Leadership will provide more tools so that Employee Resource Groups feel empowered to not just walk away with strong action items after meetings but to also put those plans into action.
- Most recently, Rainbow Wings and All Wings was able to bring in an outside speaker on Resilience in the LGBTQIA+ Community. Moving forward, all ERGs will be encouraged and supported to develop initiatives like these on a regular basis.
Continue to build on our diversity initiatives.
- We're working on a Learning & Development portfolio that helps all employees grow their Diversity & Inclusion skills over time. In 2022, we'll roll out programming that will support foundational skill development related to the themes of growth, safety, and belonging. We recognize that D&I growth and self-discovery is never done, and this foundation will be critical as we continue to grow our collective skills in the future.
Beyond that, we will continue to work directly with more local community organizations, build-out on our current programs supporting LGBTQIA+ employees, and more. The work never really ends, does it?
For organizations dedicated to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community or other mental health initiatives, we’re offering free cybersecurity scans. Look at it like paying it forward. We want to help guarantee your organization and clients are safe from cyber threats. Request a free scan.
For those who are interested in ways to support the mental health of the LGBTQIA+ community in the US, please refer to Mental Health America’s trusted partners.