This is a big week for the gay and lesbian community. The primary story is the Supreme Court case if Prop 8 should be kept in law in California. Oral arguments have been made. The secondary story comes from Mike Freeman of CBS that a gay player is thinking of coming out of the closet and be the first openly active gay athlete in the four major sports.
Wait, wasn’t there a perception that athletes are homophobic and general managers ask questions if they’re gay or not? The reality is being gay was an issue pre-social media, but now with people having easier access to tools to use their voice, we are getting a good sampling of what most Americans think. That is why the uproar over Chris Culliver’s rant on gay athletes in the locker room has infuriated many.
In most organizations, people who are in senior positions have most to say about the direction of the organization. The thing is you are only getting opinions and ideas to roughly 10% (just throwing out that number, nilly willy) of the workforce. If you want the real pulse, you have to ask everyone, including interns and janitors who might have the best inside information, for better or worse.
People have access to sound off on their company and/or can say bad things about certain employees. Of course, this is bad practice if you don’t want to get hired down the line, but with many outlets to use their voice, what do they have to lose beyond their job? They lose their job, but they have their dignity if they’re treated poorly.
Times have change. It is up to employers to prevent any major negative perceptions about them. To do that, everyone participates, not the chosen few that creates the assumption.