There are 29 ‘International Days (United Nations International Observances) this month alone.
No business can effectively support everything without losing sight of their own mission and purpose.
So how can leaders:
Navigate the pressure to support certain causes over other equally legitimate ones;
Ensure any support shown doesn’t just represent virtue signalling; and
Drive a sense of inclusivity rather than ending up being controversial and divisive.
I’m proud to say we’ve managed to attract a wonderful mix of incredible people to join the team at Learn Amp.
The ‘Who Am I’ presentations all new joiners do show just how varied people’s backgrounds and journeys have been.
And with such a broad range of people comes a broad range of traits and interests.
When we became a B Corp in 2021, one of the things we introduced to support our team was the ability to take two days a year paid leave for volunteering to support the causes that matter to them.
But, how can businesses express support whilst avoiding virtue signalling?
The big difference between virtue signalling and being virtuous is in being authentic.
We want to ensure we are inspiring and informing, not preaching and patronising.
That means choosing issues that are consistent with our purpose as a business, ones that our team can feel proud of, and ones we are committed to supporting through action as well as words.
1. Align the issues you support with your mission and purpose.
We are a ‘Software with a Service’ (SwaS) business that helps employers better deliver the 'Employee Journey' through learning, development and performance management.
Our mission is 'making work life, work better'.
It feels appropriate that any causes we publicly show support for should be relevant to this mission.
According to Stonewall, over a third of LGBTQ+ employees hide who they are at work.
"Not being able to be authentic around colleagues can have a disastrous effect on LGBTQ+ people’s wellbeing and confidence. But we also know that when LGBTQ+ people can be themselves at work, they blossom." Stonewall.
We believe that those who are out are happier with their careers, view their companies more favourably, and perform better compared with their closeted peers.
So, making it psychologically safe for employees to be their authentic selves at work should be a top priority for companies wanting all employees to thrive.
2. Create channels to capture and listen to diverse perspectives.
We are setting up a Culture Committee to determine the causes we’ll support, and the actions we'll take - internally and externally.
For example, this Pride Month, we have decided that we should publicly show support in the last week so that we can balance our support there with other issues that are equally important to the team.
3. Be inclusive, not divisive.
Managing the nuance and sensitivity of issues means we need to be considerate around those that may cause controversy amongst our team and our broader stakeholders.
Supporting Pride and the rights of LGBTQ+ people, and our LGBTQ+ teammates specifically, makes sense.
We are proud to publicly support matters of importance to our teammates. For example, Pride.
In showing support for different causes, we’re sure to get things wrong despite our best efforts, but that’s ok.
We expect to make mistakes. But we will be honest when we do, learn from them and evolve.
In the end we're all about ‘making work life, work better’, for everyone.