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This article is part of the Reflecting on Pride Month, HRNZ News Special Edition, written by Amy Clarke (she/her) – HRNZ’s Manager, Professional Standards and Development. If you have a story to share or feedback we’d love to hear from you. Please email [email protected].
There are a handful of rainbow-friendly certifications or accreditations now available for organisations and businesses to engage with in New Zealand. The general purpose of these marks or certifications is twofold – one to provide organisations with a way to signal to others outside their organisations that their workplace is rainbow-friendly, and the other is a way for rainbow people to identify organisations that identify themselves as welcoming of rainbow folk.
The different certifications in Aotearoa do have slightly different goals or aims (as well as very different pricing models), and it’s important for organisations to crucially assess which (if any) are the right mark for them to be aiming to – something that must be done with their internal rainbow staff. If you don’t have a rainbow network or out rainbow staff to speak to it might be a good idea to reach out to local community groups or to speak to the certifying organisations about what your aims and goals are for engaging with this work.
The crucial point with any of these marks or certifications is that they are not the end of the journey for organisations. There has been a good deal of criticism around some of the marks about their authenticity and the actual experience of rainbow folk inside of organisations that have the mark which really highlights the importance of understanding why you want to implement/aim for them, and who you are doing this for.
Signalling spaces as safe that may not be totally safe for rainbow staff can set you back on your journey and is harmful for the community so it’s important that foundational aspects of support and understanding are present before promoting your organisation as such.
On this point, it’s a really wonderful idea to do some work yourself to make some change internally to ensure your space is safe before you think about accreditation to signal this internally.
There are a number of not-for-profit organisations that can help you with this to provide training and resources to help improve your internal experience before you even look to seek certification. You may find through this process that certification isn’t necessarily the right thing, and working with community groups helps you to achieve your goals.
InsideOUT are a rainbow charity and offer professional development training and workshops suitable for any organisation, business or workplace that wants to become more inclusive of rainbow communities. They are not a ‘certification’ organisation but instead help start this enduring change.
If you do decide that a certification is the best way forward, be sue of who this is for, i.e. the rainbow community vs for your external perception.
Some of the different options available in NZ now are:
The Pride Pledge is a values-based commitment that organisations and individuals can take to demonstrate their dedication to the safety, visibility and inclusion of the rainbow members of their community and workforce, both internally and externally.
The Rainbow Tick is a certification mark for organisations that complete a Diversity & Inclusion assessment process.
Safe Space Alliance is a LGBTQI+ led non-profit organisation that aims to help people identify, navigate, and create safe spaces for the LGBTQI+ community worldwide. This includes other areas outside of workplaces such as shops or public spaces.
It’s also useful to note that there are other ways to demonstrate your inclusivity outside of these certifications. These might be collaborating or seeking training from rainbow groups, liaising with the rainbow community, that are just as valid as having a mark that can be advertised if they’re done in a genuine way.