Continuing our focus on LGBT+ month, highlighting the continuous journey towards full equality, we spoke to Drishdey Caullychurn (Weekend MBA 2019) Founder and CEO of TEXpert AI - an AI-powered hiring solution to achieving workforce diversity. Drishdey is passionate about promoting equal opportunity for diverse talent. Her business was based on the premise that diversity fosters higher and more sustainable performance for teams and organisations. Drishdey shared with us her thoughts on why organisations need to specifically champion LGBTQ+ rights and why it’s now more important than ever for companies to hire diverse teams.
What do you think organisations can do to support their LGBTQ+ staff and create an inclusive atmosphere?
First off, we are all different, it's about time for organisations to move the dial away from equality of opportunities to providing more equitable solutions to promote diversity. We don't eat, talk, walk or live the same way, so treating everyone the same is not the solution.
Diversity is valuable in many aspects from a revenue, productivity and innovation perspective and it's increasingly important for organisations to recognise and value the difference in people as an asset of their company.
As far as the LGBTQ+ community is concerned, they need access to a network of supporters and mentors to help them navigate the complexity and inevitable discrimination in the workplace as we cannot neurologically change people's inherent biases and behaviour.
Championing the LGBTQ+ community is compensating them for the unjust treatment that they have experienced at various stages.
Representation is key. For this to happen, it's important to have enough representation at all levels with an emphasis on seniority levels in workforces. Organisations should create a safe environment to encourage self-disclosure of candidates and employees, and establish strong policies that ensure fair hiring and promoting practice.
I believe there is a need for special support to deal with homophobic, biphobic and transphobic attacks, with a high level of trust to encourage the community to flag such instances. Companies should also provide the right infrastructure, psychological support, plans and benefits that cater to the needs of people going through discrimination, harassment, bullying and gender reassignment.
It is important that progress is measured - keep taking the pulse of diversity, equity and inclusion in the company. Collect DE&I information to understand the status and take data-driven approaches to make the workplace more diverse and inclusive. Measure the success or failure of a chosen strategy and adjust until the company gets it right.
Why is it so important to continue to champion the LGBTQ+ community?
One in five people of the LGBTQ+ community said they were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation while trying to get a job and it only goes downhill from here for minority groups. Championing the LGBTQ+ community is compensating them for the unjust treatment that they have experienced at various stages. For companies, it's a winning situation, as focusing on the LGTBQ+ community opens a pool of talent that could’ve been hidden under layers of algorithmic or human biases.
And finally what is the best advice you have ever been given?
To make a difference, dare to be different.