Serve Our Society: Mossier
Minneapolis-based nonprofit ensures LGBTQ individuals feel empowered at work
A 2018 Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation survey of employees across the nation found that 46% of LGBTQ workers remain closeted on the job. That number is actually down four percent from a 2008 report.
The same 2018 survey found that the top reason LGBTQ workers do not report negative stereotypes, jokes or harassment about LGBTQ people to a supervisor or human resources is because they didn’t think anything would be done about it.
Mossier, a Minneapolis nonprofit, is enabling employment equity for the entire LGBTQ community.
“Mossier helps Minnesota’s LGBTQ community by ensuring we all have a variety of employment options with organizations that do more than just wave the pride flag,” says Nick Alm, CEO of Mossier. “Mossier actively challenges Minnesota companies to raise the floor and ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is not a check-the-box initiative. Rather, it’s a way of existing and a long-term commitment to justice and designing workplace systems where our community can really thrive.”
An employer who makes the commitment to LGBTQ inclusion partners with Mossier for trainings and education to build a more comfortable workplace. Together, they’ll meet two to four times before they can implement an action plan that has shared objectives.
The list of businesses who have walked side-by-side with Alm and their program is impressive. General Mills, Land O’ Lakes, the Minnesota Twins, Target, and Ecolab are friends and allies.
So is Minneapolis-based Sleep Number. “We met Nick through networking and knew we would benefit from their expertise as we advanced our commitment to individuality at Sleep Number,” says Alixandra Colehour, Sleep Number’s VP for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “They have done a fair amount of consulting with us as we shaped our overarching DE&I strategy.”
“They were especially helpful as we formed our DE&I Council,” Colehour continues. ”We brought them on as a partner to help us define a process that was fair and equitable for all applicants interested in joining our team member-driven Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council.”
Colehour adds: “In partnership with Mossier, we created a blind application approach to remove any potential bias from the selection process, and in the end we have a council that broadly represents all dimensions of diversity, and it’s a wonderfully eclectic mix of team members from across the company who are making a difference.”
Mossier asked the tough questions that needed to be asked.
“Mossier met us where we are, without judgement, in our journey of inclusion,” Colehour says.
“Nick became a member of our team and guided, taught, listened, understood and helped us define the most important areas of focus for us,” Colehour explains. “Nick has an innate way of making you comfortable being uncomfortable, having tough conversations and helping us all to want to do better every day. This work is not just my responsibility or the person next to me, it is the work of our entire company.”
No matter where a company is on their inclusion journey, Alm is ready to help.
“What makes Mossier unique is our ability to meet people and organizations where they are at,” Alm says. “As long as an organization has opened themselves up to doing the work, we can support a full spectrum of needs, whether that organization is just learning about the LGBTQ acronym or whether they are working to build and implement full-scale inclusion strategies.”
Not forcing individuals to come out at work
Mossier’s intention is not to force LGBTQ individuals to come out at work.
“We tend to focus less on LGBTQ individuals needing to be out, and more about how organizations create spaces where LGBTQ people have the option to be out on their own terms,” Alm adds. “Mossier focuses on overall inclusion, psychological safety, empathy, and designing workplace systems that are actively working against homophobia and transphobia. When LGBTQ individuals experience workplace equalities, they can work without fear and unlock greater levels of creativity and innovation.”
Giving back to all
In addition to working with companies, Mossier hosts Queer Career Fairs throughout the year to connect LGBTQ job seekers with organizations who have already committed to LGBTQ equity.
They also have quarterly meet-ups for those looking to network.
“These events include leaders of all backgrounds, titles and years of experience,” Alm says.
Profits Mossier receives are distributed as grants to LGBTQ entrepreneurs in Kenya and Uganda. To date, Mossier has provided $160,000 to 10 businesses focused on agriculture and tourism.
Those who identify as workplace advocates are encouraged to sign up to receive updates on Mossier’s website, www.mossier.org.
If you feel your company could benefit from Mossier’s services, reach out to Nick Alm and Mossier. Colehour and the Sleep Number team are glad they did.
“Identify the spaces that need work and commit to that work—do not turn a blind eye,” Colehour says. “Even if you feel you’re behind other companies in this work, finding the right partner will give you the momentum you need to be a stronger workplace for all. The foundation Nick has created for us as a company has been influential in setting us up for the long-term journey.”
Mike Marcotte is a television executive producer. See more of his work at www.givemethemike.com.