Proud Together – Why Diversity Needs to be Celebrated
by Barbara Schöfl, HR Manager
One thing I enjoyed right from the start about working at Runtastic is that everyone can be who they are. I love how diverse our team is, that we have more than 40 different nationalities and don’t get tired of celebrating our internationality. However, diversity is so much more than this. And it’s high time to talk about it.
During our last DONI, I joined a project aimed at creating a concept to show support for the LGBTQ+ community. Only then did I find out how limited my way of thinking was: I took it for granted that everyone at Runtastic is open to other people’s sexual orientation, just like we are about our nationalities or religions. Silly me, I didn’t think of the need to foster awareness internally and share our openness with the outside world.
Being open and aware is not enough
When Laureen, one of our interns, said that at the beginning she wasn’t so sure about how open Runtastic would be about her sexual orientation, I was shocked. We want everyone to feel welcomed, and obviously we failed. Big time.
“Most of my colleagues are very young and open-minded – but still, you can’t be sure whether or not their religion/education/family (or whatever) has taught them to reject people like me. And honestly? I kind of expected Runtastic to have ‘something’ for LGBTQ+ people so that they know that they are welcome and supported here.” (Laureen, Intern)
What I first thought was: not only do we not have a little “something,” we have nothing. But after my initial panic faded, I realized that this is not true. We actually have an important basis: an open-minded and strong team that embraces its different religions, genders, nationalities, sexual orientations, and identities without discrimination. Or, as Connor, one of our CRM Managers, put it:
“So far, Runtastic has done an excellent job with hiring and openness. Now, I just want to help make people more aware of the environment here, so we can keep growing.“ (Connor, CRM Manager)
Taking steps toward equality
During our DONI we came up with numerous ideas on how to support the LGBTQ+ community. The first thing we did was add a rainbow flag to our showcase, which until then had ‘only’ presented our different nationalities. Now it also shows our pride. This blog post was also on our list; we hope it encourages people to feel more comfortable, because as Lacko, one of our Video Editors, put it:
“I still have the feeling that people maybe don’t want to talk about it”. (Lacko, Video Editor)
Also, he added that it’s the little things that can make a difference. Step by step, we will hopefully be able to increase awareness and support for the LGBTQ+ community.
“I expect to be treated the same as everyone else.” (Emily, English Language Specialist)
Doesn’t sound difficult, right? But sadly, in Austria, not everyone is treated equally. Sonia is aware of the implications:
“I think no one should hide who they really are: hiding the real ‘you’ constantly can be quite stressful and affect your health. The working environment should make you feel EQUAL to all your colleagues. If someone is talking about their ‘husband’ and ‘kids’, why wouldn’t you talk openly about your partner, too?” (Sonia, Spanish Language Specialist)
Still work to do, but we’re on it
The feedback we got after our DONI pitch was amazing, making Connor and the rest of our DONI team feel empowered: “We had an outpouring of support from the entire company after our presentation and we are starting to set in motion a plan to make people more aware of the inclusiveness of Runtastic.” I’ve learned that it’s not enough to have the right mindset – we also need to spread the word. In this spirit: We offer a supportive environment where you can allow your true colors to shine. For us, team spirit and inclusion is everything, and we want our employees to be able to embrace their religion, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, and identity without discrimination. Join us today and find out how Runtastic is more than just a company, it’s a family.