At HireRight, we’ve created a culture of togetherness that is grounded in respect. But the great distancing of the last fifteen months brought on by the pandemic has certainly tested the notion that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
For many of us, this has been one of the most challenging times in our personal and professional lives, in part because we’ve lost the sense of community that we’ve built with our team members as a result of the forced distance imposed on us by COVID-19. Whether it’s catching up with a coworker in the breakroom, dropping by a teammate’s desk, or heading out for after-work activities, it’s nice to know that you always have a support system that will hear you out and have your back. During the pandemic, by and large, we’ve had to temporarily rethink that sense of community and togetherness, as we quickly transitioned to remote work.
Now imagine being without a community on what seems like a permanent basis. Imagine feeling that you are alone. Imagine feeling like an outsider. Creating a sense of belonging is why PRIDE is essential.
I spoke to several of our colleagues from around the world about what PRIDE means for them.
Lindsay is an Account Coordinator at HireRight who was raised in a conservative home. After coming out, Lindsay was pushed back into the closet by her family, who told her she was too young to know who she was.
“When you read statistics about why LGBTQ kids make bad choices – drugs, truancy – I get it. I had a real time of it for two years until I went to college because I was feeling a lot of things, and none of it was support. It was isolating,” said Lindsay.
“It’s important that [at HireRight] we have our PRIDE group; not everyone has a supportive family or friends. Having an environment at work where you are judged on your merit and not who you love is so important.” For Lindsay, “there’s no better way to describe not being ashamed of who you are than being proud.”
Boris spent his formative years in Eastern Europe in a country which he identifies as, “very restrictive of LGBTQ rights.” Boris left his home country to pursue his second master’s degree, where he joined HireRight’s Verifications Team in 2010.
“It was always in my mind that I had to leave my small town. While it was beautiful, in a big city you blend in more easily; at the time, that is what I was looking for because to stand out was seldom accepted.”
What Boris wasn’t looking for in his home country, but fortuitously found, was his husband. Boris helped a lost American tourist with directions to the local cathedral, and the rest is history. It’s the quintessential meet-cute story.
“I never imagined that a relationship with [someone of the same sex] could be an option in my home country. If you’re not married by a certain age, people get suspicious and can make your life uncomfortable if not miserable,” said Boris.
After marrying his now-husband, Boris moved to the U.S. in 2013 where he supports HireRight as an Account Coordinator. Boris describes the PRIDE group at HireRight as a “revelation.”
“I feel like I belong to a community,” Boris shared. “And knowing that there are others like me in the company makes me feel like I belong.”
Morgyn is a Sales Ops Analyst who has been with HireRight for 15 years. Morgyn was raised by two women. One of Morgyn’s earliest memories is her Mother coming out to her when Morgyn was four years old. Even at four, Morgyn knew that “you can’t help who you love.” For Morgyn it was, “a natural feeling – we felt like a family.” But not everyone shared their love.
While Morgyn didn’t judge her Mom’s relationship, others in school did. “As I got older, I noticed my friends not coming over as much.” And after one of Morgyn’s friends came out when she was a teenager, some parents asserted that Morgyn’s mothers were, “a bad influence on the kids.”
Morgyn’s mom explained that some people would never understand their relationship and that people have different beliefs. Morgyn recalls feeling naïve.
“I thought my life was the perfect childhood fantasy – I was loved, and we were a family.” But Morgyn now understands that for some, “judgment never goes away.”
Nonetheless, for Morgyn, PRIDE is about putting the prejudices of others behind her and sharing her perspective; it’s about looking towards a community that “loves and accepts you, and doesn’t want to mold you into their idea of who you should be. You should be yourself, and be happy, and be loved.” And that is what PRIDE at HireRight strives to do.
At HireRight, we celebrate our diversity. We are an organization of more than 2,000 colleagues united across thirteen countries with a common goal to serve our clients and support our colleagues. If we are to “get it right every time, everywhere,” then we are to do so by building and participating in a community where we are all valued and celebrated as our true authentic selves.
Find out more about HireRight’s PRIDE group by reading interviews with our PRIDE Affinity Group’s Co-Presidents, Rob Reid and Lindsay Watts on the HireRight Blog.