Throughout June we’re proud to be celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Month at PensionBee, and even though we can’t join our local parade this year, there are lots of fun things we’re doing internally.
LGBTQ+ Pride is about appreciating community and diversity, remembering the progress that has been made against discrimination, and celebrating love in all its forms. Pride Month takes place every year in June, and is celebrated across the world in recognition of the LGBTQ+ movement. June was selected as the month to celebrate Pride as it was the month when the Stonewall riots took place in New York in 1969.
A year after the Stonewall riots, Mark Segal, an LGBTQ+ pioneer and witness to the riots, founded the first New York City Pride march in 1970, which has been running ever since. The first Pride festival in the UK took place in 1972 in London, with around 2,000 people in attendance. Now more than a million people turn out in London to celebrate each year.
LGBTQ+ at PensionBee
Whilst Pride Month brings visibility to the LGBTQ+ community and the issues they face in society, promoting diversity and inclusion within our team culture is a key focus at PensionBee all year round. The concept of diversity and inclusivity encompasses acceptance and respect and is central to our five company values of Love, Innovation, Honesty, Simplicity and Quality.
At PensionBee we have two Diversity Champions, Rachael and James, and are planning to expand the team in the coming weeks. Our Diversity Champions are responsible for running internal events that help us to celebrate our differences, highlight our similarities and create a safe space where important discussions can take place.
This month, Pride has provided us with an opportunity to discuss love and identity as a team, sharing experiences and increasing our knowledge about the LGBTQ+ community. James, one of our Diversity Champions, says: “It’s important for us to embrace and celebrate our diversity in all it’s forms, so it’s great that myself and Rachael can bring colleagues together to celebrate Pride.“
At PensionBee, we believe that having a diverse and inclusive team allows us to better understand our diverse customer base, leading to better business decisions. Our CMO, Jasper Martens, says: “We’re stewards of our customers’ hard-earned pension money and can only do our job well if we’ve built a pension product with input from a diverse, inclusive and happy team.“
Our vision is to live in a world where everyone has a happy retirement, and we believe that a happy team will lead to happy customers. That’s why happiness is at the heart of our team culture and so everyone at PensionBee has a ‘Happiness!’ Manager who they meet with every 6-8 weeks. A ‘Happiness!’ meeting focuses solely on how someone’s feeling, and what the company can do to support them. During these meetings conversations cover everything from a colleague’s work and home life to their emotional wellbeing which includes encouraging them to be their full self in all aspects of their life, particularly when it comes to their identity.
Our LGBTQ+ Bar
One event that we’ve set up during Pride Month is our LGBTQ+ Bar which opens every Friday at 5pm. In our virtual bar we have themed discussions as a team, providing an opportunity for colleagues and friends to come together to share stories and learn from each other. Each week has had a different topic of conversation, ranging from gender binary and fluidity, to how people’s experiences have changed within the workplace. While we’ve only had two sessions to date, we believe it’s initiatives like this that help make PensionBee such a fun and inclusive place to work, and speaks to the culture we’ve created where everyone feels valued and supported.
Sam, one of our Nectar Collectors, who joined our first LGBTQ+ Bar said “I have become so comfortable in my identity at work that I recently hosted a Q&A session centred on gender identity and what it means to be non-binary. I never expected to succeed in the financial industry as a queer, transgender person, until I joined PensionBee.“
Pride Slack channel
We have also set up a ‘PensionBee Pride’ Slack channel which allows everyone in the company to share ideas and resources and discuss the ways we can support the LGBTQ+ community. Ari, a member of our marketing teams says: “It’s been great to hear from everyone and learn about the LGBTQ+ history, get recommendations for some podcasts to listen to and just be a part of general chat around the Pride movement.“
Another initiative we have at PensionBee to promote diversity and inclusivity is our Donut program. Two members of staff get randomly paired together and go out for a donut (getting a donut isn’t compulsory though!). This is an opportunity to get to know other members of the company who you may not usually get a chance to interact with in the office. Whilst the topic of conversations vary, lots of recent Donut’s have been centred around the issues that matter most to us from Pride Month to the Black Lives Matter movement.
At PensionBee we know that everyone is unique, from our team members through to our 280,000 registered customers, and we frequently celebrate this both internally and externally. We’re passionate about challenging the outdated pensions industry, and part of that is challenging the traditional outlook of what a workplace should look like. That’s why we think it’s important to champion diversity year-round at PensionBee, not just during Pride Month.