PRIDE Month Ends, Continues through Employer Inclusivity Journey



Inclusive Leadership


Today, June 28th, 2022, marks the 52nd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that took place on June 28, 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a New York club that catered to the LGBTQ+ community. After decades of assault and demoralization, the LGBTQ+ community stood up for itself and did not flee. And one year later, in June of 1970, they marched, commemorating that day they held their ground which kicked off an annual celebration of what is now known as PRIDE month.

Throughout the past five decades, communities have made great strides in acceptance and inclusion, to varying degrees. While there is still much judgment to dissolve, specifically within our industry, employers are of the most influential leaders who can promote allyship and inclusion within their cultures, and across their communities.


Employer Allyship


Allyship in the workplace means employees feel safe and accepted for who they are, are not subjugated in any way, nor put in a position in which they must advocate for themselves, but rather, can trust they will be held up by employers who are committed to living out equity and inclusion.

 Joe Shaker Jr., President of Shaker Recruitment Marketing, shares, “As a recruitment marketing firm, we see firsthand the impact employers make in ensuring equal opportunity and equitable treatment for all. We understand that every institution is stronger when a broad range of identities, experiences, and perspectives are represented and supported.”



“Since being founded in 1951, our business has been focused on treating our employees like family, which means treating all employees equally and respectfully,” Shaker continued. “We strive to create an even playing field for everyone, fostering equality, inclusion, and respect within our company and for our clients.”


Employee Trust


Today it is imperative for companies to earn and maintain employee trust, and to build trust with target talent pools, and to achieve this, they need to ‘show up’ authentically. In other words, the employer brand story must be truthful. And, of course, to deliver on a truthful employer brand story, the actual Lived Experience must align with the Employee Value Proposition (EVP), which from a best practices standpoint grows out of the data.

 John Graham Jr., VP, Employer Brand, DEI and Culture at Shaker shares,



“We then leverage those insights to develop an employer brand that speaks to who they are, whom they desire to be aspirationally, and how they are working to bridge the gaps between reality and aspiration for all of their employees,” Graham Jr. continues. “This approach helps our clients to develop more specific DEI strategies, as well as a more authentic employer brand expression.”


Authenticity and Gen Z


Candidates are demanding transparency and authenticity. Gone are the days when talking the talk fits the bill. Job seekers at all levels are savvy, and it’s no secret that this is a candidate market – the tightest labor market in history. And taking this another step further, it is necessary to critically evaluate what you’re communicating to your target talent audiences, because they are not evaluating all things equally. This is especially true with Gen Z, a critical talent group to nurture as boomers leave the world of work and we cycle through  “R” waves (Resignation, Reshuffle, Reset, Return). There is not a single talent pool more astutely discerning than Zoomers, who very heavily weigh employment decisions based on organizational character, ethics, philanthropy, and advocacy. If Gen Z talent is part of your attraction strategy, DEI should be among your top organizational priorities.

Gen Z Shaker Creative Department Intern Megan Emery feels that the action and efforts of embracing the LGBTQ community is essential in the workplace.

“As a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, I absolutely believe it is essential for employers (and everyone else for that matter) to embrace pride and inclusion. By practicing allyship and maintaining a supportive attitude, an employer communicates to their employees that they value them not only as workers but as real, complex human beings. Validating and supporting someone’s identity plays an indispensable role in respecting their humanity.” Emery says, “Simply put, people want to work for employers who respect and uplift them. The celebration of Pride is just one avenue through which that respect can be exhibited.”


Ongoing Commitment


It will take another year around the sun for PRIDE month celebrations to ensue, but there are 365 days between now and then to make meaningful progress within your organizations to demonstrate your allyship, build employee and candidate trust, and communicate these truths in ways that resonate with your target talent groups.

Some thought starters, and actionable steps:

  • Create and strengthen programs of DEI advocacy (not sure where to start? We are happy to lend some insight:
  • Communicate these efforts internally to keep employees in the know
  • Invite employees to become a part of your DEI advocacy programming
  • Celebrate employee participation
  • Build on employee advocacy momentum with consistent internal communications
  • Integrate these stories into your talent brand communications (you know…where your candidates are collecting information about you during their search)
  • Explore awards or community involvement initiatives to participate in

This is just food for thought. The point is, continue to get this part of your employer brand story out there, authentically, efficiently, and with your candidate’s experience in mind. As talent attraction professionals you know all too well, this market requires you to actualize all you can to stand out among the competitive landscape.

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Keegan Ocepek

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