As we progress through June, which is traditionally pride month for the lesbian, gay, transgender and bi-sexual (LGBT+) community, I want to take a moment to reflect on Protiviti’s commitment to the LGBT+ community and our employees, and share my thoughts on the value of diversity, and my experience as an out and proud executive within our firm.
At Protiviti, we know that diversity of ideas and experiences is essential to fulfilling our promises to our people and developing and maintaining a truly global, collaborative and diverse workforce. We strive to deliver an exceptional experience to our people, our clients and our communities. We know that we are stronger because of our inclusive work environment, where employees see one another’s uniqueness as assets and strengths. Stephen Covey, in his best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, noted that valuing and respecting differences is “the essence of synergy,” because diverse individuals working together can bring their individual experience to the table, build on each other’s strengths, and produce far better results than they could individually. Diversity of thought is critical to the professional development of our people, the creativity, innovation and value we bring to our clients in the marketplace, and the way we engage with our communities as a responsible corporate citizen.
We work hard every day to be an inclusive organization, and so we are very proud that our parent company, Robert Half International, received a perfect score of 100 on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The CEI is a national benchmarking survey and reports on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT+ workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation. The CEI criteria reflect leading policies, benefits and practices for the LGBT+ workforce and their families. These criteria are based on the notion of parity rather than prescription, and the CEI helps us know if we are achieving our goals to address the needs of the LGBT+ communities.
From an organizational standpoint, support is key to building a community. By promoting an environment of inclusion, all employees are respected and valued as demonstrated by equal access to opportunity and advancement reflected in our policies and programs. Our ProPride employee network group began in 2014 in the U.S., and now includes nearly 200 employees globally. This group, under the leadership of Philip Maziarz, Patrick Luong and Belton Flournoy, has made a tangible difference in promoting awareness within our organization and providing support to our LGBT+ employees and allies in their professional development through networking and mentoring. This outreach extends to Protiviti’s recruiting efforts, our community service through participation in AIDS Walks, and so much more.
Organizations that embrace inclusivity and diversity realize positive economic impacts. This should be common sense – people who feel comfortable within their companies tend to stay longer (reducing attrition rates), demonstrate increased productivity, and have less difficulty finding valuable mentorship and social networks. Research bears out this truth; these factors stimulate growth within organizations while reinforcing the fundamental principle – treat people the way you would want to be treated.
As a new Managing Director, I look back on my career with Protiviti and am thankful for all of the support that I have received over the years. I have grown in this organization “in my own skin,” as my authentic self, within my project teams and management teams, at my clients’ locations, social events, holiday parties, baseball games and in my day-to-day interactions with my leadership team and colleagues. I was recently engaged and married and am taking steps to form my own family, and the continued outpouring of congratulations and support has been and continues to be humbling. I am closer to my coworkers and clients because of this, and have not once felt anything other than a strong sense of belonging.
However, it isn’t enough that I am grateful for the support I’ve received. I believe it is important that I give back – that we give back. That we support others and truly listen to them and encourage them to be authentic in all aspects of their lives. That we work to promote awareness and understanding that we are all different, yet equally worthy of opportunities. That we actively recognize and value differences and diversity. That we communicate to the broader LGBT+ community, including among our peers, employees and clients, how we can support them, and why earning the CEI recognition is valuable to us and to them.
In other words, we must continue to be agents of change.
I am proud that Protiviti’s core values and vision embrace diversity and inclusion, and am proud to be a part of the firm.
From all of my LGBT+ colleagues and allies at Protiviti, happy pride month!