At the end of last month we posted on Twitter that ‘Pride is for life, not just for June’. Pride and diversity are topics that most companies make prominent during the month of June, as it is Pride Month. We thought about how we wanted to show our support and honor the history of Pride Month in an authentic way rather than use it as a marketing tool.
As a company we recognise and appreciate diversity in all its forms and see the support thereof as an ever-evolving journey. This is a journey that we wish to do in the correct way and are therefore open to learning on every step of it. This is why we say that pride is for life, and not just for June.
To coincide with Munich’s Christopher Street Day parade on 16 July, we wanted to write about the ways in which we at Sono strive to make our company a safe and inclusive workplace through various initiatives.
There are numerous ways in which we are moving our organization towards inclusivity. You may notice that on our website, we forgo the use of gendered words in both German and English, an initiative that is clearly stated in our company writing style guidelines. Instead of gendered pronouns such as ‘he’ and ‘she’, we use ‘they’/ ‘them’ unless we know the pronouns a specific person uses. Employees are also encouraged to put their preferred pronouns in their company Slack profile and within their email signature.
Another initiative that is coming to our office-buildings very soon is the introduction of all-gender bathrooms. We believe that an office with gender-neutral bathrooms fosters an inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable. Therefore we made the conscious decision to change the signage for the bathrooms in our HQ from the traditional ‘male’/ ‘female’ symbols to symbols of what is behind the door. That is to say, for example, one bathroom has a toilet and one has a urinal. This will be on the sign instead of a symbol based on gender.
These initiatives come from our employee-led Diversity Circle, who have also started the LGBTQ+ network. This currently consists of two different slack channels, one that is open for people who identify as LGBTQ+ and allies, and another that is private for people who identify as LGBTQ+ as a safe space where members can connect and discuss topics that they don’t necessarily feel comfortable discussing in a public channel.
The Diversity Circle is also working on guidelines for inclusive behavior that are not only based on gender and sexual orientation, but also background and ethnicity. This will become an official part of the company guidelines and will be approved by our Normative Circle, who ensure that all decisions made within the company adhere to our ethics and principles, and all employees will have to adhere to them. We have many other initiatives planned such as a meetup for LGBTQ+ employees and allies, diversity and inclusion training for leadership roles and workshops to educate and bring awareness to LGBTQ+ topics.
At Sono the environment around us and its inhabitants' welfare are of special importance to us. These values are therefore the foundation of all the work we do, not only to create a safer and healthier environment but also a safer and healthier workplace for our team. We want to enable a world and workplace in which all people feel free and safe to be themselves.