June is LGBT Pride Month and, on this occasion, we want to celebrate everyone within SThree who goes above and beyond to create an inclusive environment where everyone’s voice is heard and people can be themselves.
Someone who’s hugely committed to this cause is Nicole Nikou, Sales Team Manager at SThree brand Huxley in Frankfurt and LGBT champion for the DACH region. Recently, we sat down with Nicole to talk about her role and what needs to be done to create a truly inclusive work environment.
What does your role as a LGBT champion involve?
“Diversity stands for everything that makes people unique, no matter if it’s something visible or hidden."
"The role of a LGBT champion at SThree is to raise awareness of the challenges some of our LGBT colleagues face at work. It’s also about encouraging more tolerance and acceptance through various initiatives.”
Why did you get involved?
“In Germany in general, there’s been a worrying gap between the official diversity goals and the reality of diversity in the workplace for years. However, diversity in the workplace has become an inevitable challenge companies have to live up to as diversity is becoming more and more visible and expectations have changed.”
“I’ve been working for 15 years now, and SThree is the first company I believe really embraces, supports and encourages diversity. On a daily basis I notice that there’s a true commitment to more acceptance and collaboration.”
“Through our diversity groups, including LGBT, we not only want to raise awareness within the business but also outside of the office.”
“Philosopher Karl Popper once said, ‘Strength lies in differences, not in similarities’; this is something I believe in and makes me proud of supporting this great cause!”
What does it mean to you personally to be a LGBT champion?
“I myself came out at a time where being gay was even more about breaking a taboo than it is nowadays. I lost friends because of it and my family didn’t have much sympathy either. At work it was even worse. That’s why I’m passionate about supporting an inclusive work environment and clearing the way for others.”
Can you name a few of the initiatives launched at SThree in support of LGBT?
“On the occasion of ‘International Day Against Homophobia’ which took place on the 17th of May, we organised a Bake Sale in our Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf and Zürich offices.”
“Thanks to this event and the enthusiasm of our colleagues, we raised almost €600 for an organisation in Berlin which raises awareness of violence against LGBT communities.”
“We’ve also planned to take part in the Christopher Street Day celebrating LGBT in Munich, Frankfurt and Cologne in July. 130 of my SThree colleagues have already registered for this event, that’s every 5th employee across our DACH region.”
“By supporting the LGBT community outside of working hours, we’re setting a strong example which makes SThree a more attractive place to work too.”
“Finally, we’ll be attending the Sticks & Stones, Europe’s largest LGBT Career Event in September; I can’t wait!”
Why is it important that SThree as an employer supports LGBT?
“LGBT employees are feeling a lot more comfortable at work. They can be themselves and don’t have to pretend they are someone they‘re not. They’re more engaged and motivated because they feel accepted and respected, something which is also beneficial for SThree.”
“All in all, I believe companies that support diversity are more successful and the level of satisfaction amongst employees is higher.”
What are the future plans regarding LGBT in the DACH region?
“Every year, we’ll organise and take part in initiatives such as Bake Sales Days and bigger events such as the Christopher Street Day."
"What’s also going to be more of a focus is supporting ‘rainbow families’ which are, to my great joy, becoming more and more common at SThree.”
If you want to find out more about our inclusion and diversity initiatives at SThree, take a look at the following brochure.