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Pride Month insights: Discussing LGBTQ+ inclusivity in the workplace and payments industry

Continuing our celebration of Pride Month this year, we had the privilege of speaking with Shaun Lavelle, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Direct Marketing at Paysafe and the executive sponsor of our LGBTQ+ employee network, about his experiences of LGBTQ+ inclusivity in the workplace and the changes being made in the payments industry today.

With a professional career spanning 25 years and two continents, Shaun explains his perspective on the evolution of inclusive workplace policies and their impact on businesses and consumers. Here’s what he shared.

The changing landscape of inclusive policies

“Over the years, inclusive policies have made significant strides toward fostering acceptance and equality. In the U.K. specifically, during my early career, the HR policies at the bank and grocery store where I worked prohibited discrimination against sexuality, yet cases of targeted incidents were often handled with less severity than they would be today. While I personally didn’t encounter direct discrimination in the workplace, significant challenges faced by individuals who didn't conform to mainstream perceptions of masculinity or femininity made it evermore difficult for individuals to be their authentic selves in the workplace.

“However, in recent times, I’ve observed remarkable progress being made to support LGBTQ+ employees. Here at Paysafe, we’ve established a dedicated employee resource network, where members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community can connect and work together to drive positive change and celebrate Pride across the organization. We’ve also hosted a range of educational webinars for our global team aimed at promoting tolerance and encouraging allyship. The advancements made in the last few decades have been truly transformative.”

Bridging the gaps that remain in the payments industry

“The payments industry has made commendable progress in promoting inclusivity over the years, but there’s still work to be done. To truly provide a safe and inclusive workplace environment that fosters respect and understanding, companies need to continue educating employees about the unique challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community. This includes implementing anti-discrimination policies, regularly offering diversity and inclusion training, promoting allyship, encouraging volunteer efforts, and organizing charitable initiatives that provide support to community members and local advocacy groups.”

The impact of inclusive policies on business and consumers

“The evolution of internal policies has brought broader protection against discrimination and acceptance into the workplace for LGBTQ+ employees. From an organizational perspective, fostering an inclusive workplace not only attracts top talent but also helps retain and engage employees. This helps people feel valued, respected, and more comfortable expressing their authentic selves, which will ultimately lead to increased productivity, innovation, and collaboration among teams.

“On the consumer side, actively demonstrating a company's commitment to diversity and social responsibility in a meaningful way can positively influence consumer perceptions. Many consumers today are increasingly conscious of supporting businesses that align with their core values. By prioritizing inclusivity, companies can cultivate a positive brand image, strengthen loyalty, and tap into new and growing consumer markets that weren’t previously obtainable.”

Transforming customer service and product lines

“By fostering an inclusive workplace culture, companies are nurturing a diverse workforce that brings varied perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table. This diversity enhances the ability to understand and meet the needs of a larger customer base. Employees who feel accepted and supported in their workplace are more likely to provide empathetic and inclusive customer service, ensuring that all customers feel respected, valued, and understood.

“These organizations are also better positioned to develop product offerings that meet the diverse needs of LGBTQ+ individuals. For example, companies may offer gender-neutral clothing lines, beauty products, or advertising campaigns that celebrate and represent our diverse communities. These efforts contribute to building a more welcoming society by challenging biases and promoting products that reflect a range of identities and experiences.”

To close

Embracing inclusivity in the workplace not only cultivates a more accepting society where diverse needs are met but also benefits businesses by attracting talent and enhancing brand reputation. As we move forward, it’s essential that we continue to advocate for policies that empower people to bring their full selves to work during Pride Month and beyond.