Inside Teamtailor

Meet the Team: Athanasios

Our fantastic Sales Team Lead discusses his role at Teamtailor, PRIDE, hiring more inclusively and creating a supportive workspace for LGBTQIA+ employees!


What do you do at Teamtailor?

I work as a Sales Team Lead. Together with 14 other amazing and beautiful human beings we are leading the international growth and expansion of Teamtailor towards countries and regions like France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Baltics and many more countries. Actually as of today, Teamtailor is present in over 90 countries and we could not be prouder of our work and ourselves. I feel blessed to be part of the team and consider myself lucky to work and share memories with all of them.

 

What are your pronouns and what do you identify as?

My pronouns are he/him/his. I identify as a cisgender gay male and a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community.

 

What is the current status of LGBTQIA+ workers in relation to their workplace?

Despite the progress made towards LGBTQIA+ workplace equality, millions of us today go to work fearing losing our jobs because of who we are or who we love. Most of us have, are or will experience employment discrimination, harassment or mistreatment at some point in our life.

There’s also the fact that LGBTQIA+ workplace discrimination has a real human cost. It leaves people feeling afraid to be who they are, wary of their coworkers, having to tolerate bullying or offensive jokes, and experiencing higher levels of stress and other detrimental effects on their physical and mental health. Regardless of your personal beliefs, I’m sure you don’t want to contribute to such a negative and inhumane situation. Not participating and minding your own business means you have consciously made the decision not to take an action against the discrimination. So everyone and every company should always look at some ways they can be part of the solution.

 

Why should companies make their workplace more inclusive?

Openly gay employees are happier and more productive than those who are forced to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity and the productivity gains also extend to their coworkers. I don’t think people realise how draining it is to pretend to be someone you are not. It takes a toll on you and every aspect of your life.

Inclusive policies help to avoid the negative image that comes with LGBTQIA+ discrimination, which in turn can help to attract customers who are specifically looking for socially responsible businesses to receive their custom. This is particularly true of millennials and younger generations who tend to place higher importance on social responsibility than their older counterparts.

LGBTQIA+ staff who are able to be openly out in front of their colleagues are more likely to remain in their current position than the ones who are not. As a result, more effective implementation of diversity and inclusion policies, would among other things save a significant amount of money spent on new talent recruitment and training. Furthermore, anmore diverse and open workplace will increase creativity, which will lead to innovation and new ideas.

 

What do you think the recruitment industry can do to hire more inclusively?

A diverse team brings a unique set of skills, opinions and perspectives to your company. In fact, companies with diverse workforces typically outperform their competitors and report having happier employees. Unfortunately, bias, even if it is subconscious, can prevent diversity from occurring naturally in some organisations. To create inclusive teams, it’s important for recruiters to have set programs that help encourage more diverse hires. Here are just a few easy actions that can be taken:

Educate your team

The first step in creating a more inclusive recruitment program is to educate your team on what these biases might look like. A lot of the bias we talk about might come down to things like gender, race, behaviour or religion. Diversity and education training should be an ongoing process, not something you complete once to check a box. Create a recurring education program that helps your teams identify and eliminate unconscious bias.

Build a diverse talent pool

When hiring for an open position, you likely have a set of qualifications you’ll want to see in each applicant. While having some guidelines can be helpful, if you’re sticking to them too strictly, you may actually be hurting your chances of finding a great hire. When building your talent pool, if you see that a particular group is not applying to your open positions, you may want to develop a new strategy.

Involve diverse people in the hiring process

In order to create a diverse workplace, it needs to be run by diverse people. When you have a number of different individuals following along in the hiring process, you can get feedback, perspectives, and opinions from people with different needs and expectations. The hiring process should be collaborative. Reaching out to other departments, team members, and company leaders can remove bias by taking different perspectives into account.

 

How can employers create a safe and supportive workspace for their LGBTQ+ employees? 

Set and Enforce Policies

The first step to having a queer friendly workplace is to set up specific policies that outline your company’s position on LGBTQIA+ rights. 90% of Fortune 500 companies now have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, and 83% include gender identity. But having a policy isn’t enough on its own. You also need to make sure that you’re very clear about what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour at your company.

Change Your Hiring Strategies

Even if you haven’t been actively discriminating, you may have been giving the wrong message in your job ads or succumbing to unconscious bias in the recruitment process. So be sure to go over the wording of your ads. Also make an explicit mention of your commitment to equality and diversity, and talk about other company values or LGBTQIA+ friendly benefits that demonstrate that commitment.

Support Events

Every year, there are events in countries around the world to celebrate and show support for the LGBTQIA+community. Pride parades and festivals are the biggest and most well-known, but there are others such as Spirit Day, when millions of people take a stand against bullying and in support of LGBTQIA+ youth. By getting involved in these events, you’re demonstrating a commitment to LGBTQIA+ rights and sending a clear message to your staff and to your customers about where you stand.

Create Networks

LGBT employee networks can be very powerful ways for workers to come together and share experiences. That can lead to positive changes in company policy, as well as opportunities for mentoring, networking, and career progression for individual employees. So set one up in your company, or encourage employees to come together and create a network themselves. As well as a network for LGBTQIA+ employees, you could also set up one for allies (heterosexual and cisgender people who support LGBTQIA+ rights).

Communicate

Communication is at the heart of having an LGBTQIA+ friendly workplace. You need to find effective ways of communicating the firm's commitment to inclusiveness, and you also need to foster respectful communication among employees. You can achieve this by embedding a commitment to LGBTQIA+ equality in all your communications, from presentations and speeches to newsletters and personal conversations.

 

What does PRIDE mean to you?

This is such a powerful question, I might even cry as I think about it. PRIDE is a celebration of diversity and LGBTQIA+.

Pride is about all queer people who suffered, endured discrimination, persecution, violence, the millions of queer people who were abused and killed but with their courage and strength paved the way to a better and safer society for people like me. It is about the ones who still, even today continue to endure these cruelties, the ones who continue to be abused, discriminated, harassed and killed on a daily basis around the world in places where being queer is illegal and can get you the death sentence.

To me, Pride means using my privilege as a white cisgender gay male living in an open and accepting country like Sweden, to empower those whose voices aren’t heard as loudly, and ensure that people of all genders and orientations feel that they can celebrate who they are without fear. To feel safe and supported as a queer-identifying person in the workplace gives us the ability to fight for LGBTQIA+  rights both within and outside the organization.

PRIDE means living a life that is authentic and true to who I am inside — without shame, being fully and entirely myself without feeling the need to turn parts of myself ‘off’ depending on where I am or who I’m around. Pride is YOU and ME saying ‘This is who we are, and we’re proud of it. Love is love. Unity. Support. No judgement. Pride is about providing freedom and safety for us all. So everyone can be their true and full selves. In this way, we are unburdened and unleashed, allowing us to all reach higher and further together.

 

 

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