As a gay man in the role of CHRO for Randstad, I have thought for a long time about whether I should make a public statement about my experience. Lately I have been inspired by people who have taken a stand and publicly stood proud in who they are. This also was a sign for me to do the same and be there for other members of the LGTBQ+ community.
We live in a constantly changing world with new and old challenges. As we have seen recently, increased attention for the topic of non-discrimination is still required in our society. In particular, Pride month and Amsterdam Pride have made me think about my personal role in creating an environment in which members from the LGTBQ+ community can be who they truly are.
I am privileged to work for a company where non-discrimination has been embraced for a long time. Through my (almost) 20 years of tenure at Randstad I never felt disadvantaged and have been empowered. I have always been supported by leaders and colleagues who treated me with respect for who I am as a person, who valued my performance and my contribution to the business, and who gave me opportunities to grow.
Yet, in all honesty, it has not always been an easy journey. I’ve often felt a need to handle certain situations differently because I am gay. As a gay person you have to constantly "come out" again, whenever you move into a new environment, a new team, or meet new people. There are times when you have to respond to questions that straight people will never have to answer or correct assumptions made about what you do and do not like, whether that has to do with sports, entertainment or some other facet of your life.
At the same time, we have come so far.
Today we live in a world where people who are openly members of the LGBTQ+ community can lead nations (Luxembourg and Serbia and previously Belgium, Iceland, and Ireland) and be leaders of global corporations (Apple and Dow Chemicals). Or — like me — work for Randstad, a company that lives up to its values and one which has always allowed me to be myself and supported me in realizing my potential. During some of the most challenging situations, Randstad and my colleagues have been an unfaltering source of support.
This year, Randstad has created a video statement supporting equality for everyone, including members of the LGTBQ+ community. With this personal statement, I also want to confirm this message and offer my support to any individual struggling with being who they know they are. Be proud -- you are unique and that should be celebrated!!