Diversity and inclusion in the workplace has become a focus for businesses in recent years. Studies show that younger generations are more concerned with diversity, equal opportunity and discrimination than their predecessors. And with millennials projected to comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025, companies must make D&I a priority if they want to attract and retain tomorrow’s top employees.

Recently, we covered how to champion diversity in the workplace by empowering young people and how to build an inclusive recruitment process. With Wear it Purple Day being marked on 27 August, we look at how to celebrate the day safely and positively in the workplace.

What is Wear it Purple Day all about?

Not-for-profit organisation Wear it Purple was co-founded in 2010 by students Katherine Hudson and Scott Williams in response to stories of young people experiencing bullying and harassment that resulted from a lack of acceptance regarding their sexuality or gender identity.

Since its inception, Wear it Purple Day has grown to be a global movement fostering supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments. Participants in workplaces and communities around the globe are encouraged to wear purple and shine a light on the NFP’s mission:

  • Raising awareness: Providing support and resources for workplaces, schools, universities, gender and sexuality alliances (GSAs) and youth organisations in creating diverse and inclusive environments.
  • Providing opportunities: Enabling young people to develop their skills, network and contribute to the inclusivity of their workplaces and communities.
  • Creating supportive and safe spaces: Providing digital and physical environments where young people from all walks of life feel comfortable.

Claire Stuart, Partner at PageGroup and Executive Sponsor of the [email protected] Committee highlights the importance of workplaces getting involved on Friday 27 August by encouraging all leaders and employees to wear purple as a show of support.

“We acknowledge and celebrate Wear it Purple Day with our teams – both virtually and in our offices where it's safe to do so – to remind each other about the importance of providing supportive, safe and empowering environments for young LGBTQIA+ people,” Stuart says.

“Our [email protected] slogan is ‘Acceptance without exception’ and we believe in allowing each one of our staff to bring their whole selves to work.”

How to celebrate Wear it Purple Day 2021 in the workplace

Like most events this year, Wear it Purple Day will be looking a bit different for many businesses in 2021. With many of us still working remotely, celebrating may be more of a challenge. But there are still plenty of ways to show your support and champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Host a virtual event

  • Host a casual virtual morning tea or afternoon drinks to discuss what Wear it Purple stands for and why diversity and inclusion are so important
  • Share the event with your team and/or ask your corporate communications team to advertise Wear it Purple Day across your organisation
  • Encourage people to get dressed up and wear purple to show their support
  • Set up fun activities such as purple-themed trivia games and best-dressed competitions

Raise funds for the cause

  • Encourage people to donate what they can to help Wear it Purple continue working to create diverse and inclusive environments for young people
  • If possible, match employees’ donations to encourage contributions to the cause
  • Buy merchandise for you and your team to wear on the day

Spread awareness virtually

  • Invite internal or external speakers to share their stories and relay the importance of inclusivity in the workplace
  • Encourage a dialogue about diversity and inclusion on your internal communication channels
  • Include ‘how-to’ tips on supporting and championing colleagues from a variety of backgrounds
  • Take advantage of Wear it Purple digital resources in the lead up to the day

Diversity in the workplace is ongoing

The theme for Wear it Purple Day in 2021 is Start the Conversation… Keep it Going. This theme is focused on the important conversations around sexual orientation and gender identity that must be had in all areas of life.

It aims to remind people that these issues should not only be considered on one day of the year, but every day.

Wear it Purple Day is an opportunity for rainbow community members and allies to share their stories, provide thoughtful education on LGBTQA+ issues, and to start conversations that can become an open dialogue 365 days of the year.

While Wear it Purple Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness and celebrate the LGBTIQ+ community, the reality is diversity and inclusion is part of a much broader, ongoing conversation.

Creating a truly diverse and inclusive workplace comes down to continually reviewing your organisation’s D&I initiatives and measuring your progress through staff surveys and other metrics. The result will be a dynamic and engaged workforce where every employee is supported in achieving their best and committed to leading your organisation to success.

Michael Page is an LGBTI-inclusive employer and workplace. Learn more about how PageGroup achieved Gold Tier (Small Employer) status at the 2020 Australian LGBTQ Inclusion Awards, the country’s leading annual celebration of LGBTQ workplace inclusion.

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