Interview of Roshni Hainsworth, the UK Strategy and Planning Leader at Mercer in the UK and working in the UK CEO’s office supporting their UK Leadership Team.
Have you always been out at work? How important is it for you to be out at work?
I haven’t always been out at work, when I started my career at Mercer twelve years ago, I was unaware of our PRIDE networks and the support available. I also was not quite comfortable enough myself to do so. I think it is important to be able to be yourself at work and for me, being able to show this side of myself has really helped.
Please, tell us about your coming(s) out. Have you ever had an especially good/bad experience because of your sexual orientation at home, university or at work? Which one(s)?
At university, I found it difficult as I was originally made fun of by the L and G members for not being gay enough or for being greedy. At work, it was a much better experience. I felt supported by both senior colleagues and peers and I was glad I came out.
Do you feel your coming out can encourage others to come out? Has this happened to you and your colleagues?
Absolutely. One of the reasons I felt comfortable coming out is because one of the senior members of my team was openly out as bisexual at work. I had a good chat with her about this and came to the conclusion that if her being out at work helped me to feel comfortable, I should do the same for others too.
It has been proven that being out at work increases one's productivity. What other advantages do you see in coming out in the workplace?
I think being out at work encourages diversity of thought in business which is a great asset when we want to create the best solutions.
More and more organisations want their employees to bring their whole-self to work. Would you consider working for an organisation that does not? Why? / Why not?
I would not consider working for an organisation where bringing your whole-self is not encouraged. It has taken me time to feel comfortable being out at work, predominantly due to personal reasons. However, a lack of organisational support would create a second barrier which would make me feel less comfortable at work and therefore less happy and productive.
How do you think allies can support their colleagues coming out?
Allies can support their colleagues by signaling that they are supportive of LGBTQ+ colleagues and creating safe spaces to have confidential discussions.