National Coming Out Day is a chance to celebrate and honor those who come out as LGBTQ+ as well as those who declare their support as allies. By coming out, LGBTQ+ individuals are empowered to bring their full selves to work, which has been shown to have an impact on productivity and job satisfaction. Coming out also has a powerful impact on the people around you: those who have friends, family members or colleagues who are gay are much more likely to support equality. Every person who speaks up changes more hearts and minds and creates new allies.
That said, it takes a lot of courage to come out, and it’s not a one-time thing. Coming out is a lifelong journey. It’s also something that those of us in consulting may have to face more frequently than others—after all, every time we join a new project team or work with a new client, we have to evaluate whether it’s worth the risks to be open about our personal lives. These constant mental negotiations can be exhausting!
With that in mind, I wanted to share the resources, support, and services available for LGBTQ+ employees at West Monroe. As one of the co-leaders of WMPride, our LGBTQ+ employee resource group, I’ve learned that many people don’t know the extent of the resources that exist here. And while some of the resources I highlight are specific to LGBTQ+ individuals, many can be utilized by all employees. Finally, if you are considering a role in consulting, I hope this illustrates that while consulting may seemingly have some inherent challenges for LGBTQ+ employees, you will also find a tremendous amount of support to help you bring your full self to work.
WMPride is open to both LGBTQ+ employees and allies, and is designed to support and encourage the ongoing growth and success of our LGBTQ+ employees and community at WMP. We host quarterly town halls to keep LGBTQ+ issues and individuals visible within the firm, and act as a sounding board and liaison for those who want to discuss specific concerns.
In support of our strategic initiative to build a more inclusive workplace, our Inclusion and Diversity Council leads key initiatives throughout the year to provide us opportunities to engage, including hosted discussion groups, video, trainings, and a quarterly newsletter.
West Monroe introduced a new unconscious bias training this year—while we’ve hosted educational workshops in the past, this training is intended to combat unconscious bias through connections and courageous actions. We also require workplace harassment training.
We offer equal benefits to both same-sex and different-sex domestic partners. Included in our healthcare coverage is pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention; robust mental health coverage; and coverage of medically-necessarily health care services for transgendered employees.
West Monroe strives to create a culture of openness and transparency to provide a positive work environment. There are a number of people we can turn to in the firm if we need advice, to report concerns, or to navigate specific challenges—from our HR Business Partners to practice or office leaders, to your own career advisor.
Our EAP offers support for a broad range of concerns including stress management, depression and anxiety, relationship or family conflicts, or workplace issues. Services are completely confidential and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all West Monroe employees and their family members.
This platform allows employees to voice or report concerns anonymously, or ask questions about specific policies or issues. Questions about what it’s like to be out in consulting? Please let me know in the comments below.