#etiquette_of_inclusion – a project to develop a culture of Diversity & Inclusion

Our dating app Hily and the world’s largest LGBTQ+ platform Taimi are used by more than 30 million people worldwide. To develop a profitable business, we need to understand our users. We also need to communicate effectively within the team. In addition, we are growing fast and hiring a lot of people, and in practice we understand that many people do not understand how to use LGBTQ+ terminology, how to communicate with a colleague with a disability, how to provide first aid, and so on. 

appflame is 3 years old company, but until this year we did not dare to talk about our products in Ukraine, because we were worried about safety. We were afraid that due to the development of the LGBTQ+ product and the fact that we have LGBTQ+ employees, we could be in danger. 

According to World Values Survey 2020, data of Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine and report of LGBT Human Rights Center “Nash Mir”:

  • 44.8% of Ukrainians “Would not like to live next to homosexual people”;

  • 3.6% of Ukrainians tend to justify violence against other people (in the EU this figure does not exceed 1.5%);

  • 73.8% of Ukrainians with disabilities of working age are unemployed (among more than 2 million);

  • in Ukraine, there are groups that monitor and disrupt LGBTQ+ activities, use hate speech and commit hate crimes. Also, members of the LGBTQ+ community are often condemned by believers, faced with denial of medical and other services. In particular, suppliers sometimes refuse to work with our company when they find out what product we develop.



We decided to come up with a solution of the problem situation by implementing a project to develop a culture of Diversity & Inclusion comprehensively (360°) highlighting 5 key steps:


  1. We stopped being afraid and started talking openly in the Ukrainian market about our product, the culture of Diversity & Inclusion in the company. From the beginning of 2021, we talked about appflame and its products in the media (MC.today, AIN, Highload, KyivPride, MMR, Cases, The Village etc.) and in our social networks. 

  2. In May 2021, appflame passed the Inclusion Audit (conducted by the NGO “Inclusive friendly”) and received the status of “CHECKED”. We also identified our strengths and growth zones.

  3. “To cover the growth zones identified during the Inclusion Audit, we developed and conducted an educational project “Inclusion Month”. Each component of the project included interactivity, employee engagement and gamification. All of this has allowed us to understand more deeply what barriers people with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community face and what we need to do to eliminate them.” – Anna Sokolova, appflame’s HRD. 

“Inclusion Month” was held at the company in July 2021 and consisted of: 

  • training “Inclusive friendly” (use of terminology, rules of communication with people with disabilities, first aid for epilepsy);

  • meetings with inclusive business (Charitable foundation “LIFELOVER”, NGO “Bachyty Sercem”, Creative studio “YES” and Inclusive studio “Lady Di”);

  • “Love, no matter what” meeting about the history and culture of the LGBTQ+ community, using the right terminology and explaining why pride is needed;

  • first aid training;

  • a series of educational posts on our social networks;

  • purchases in inclusive business (regular orders in the bakery Good Bread from Good People, Herbal teas “Dream Workshop”, Horondi, etc.);

  • excursions “Walk in the Dark” at the Museum in the Dark “Third After Midnight” (excursions in complete darkness accompanied by blind guides);

117 out of 214 employees took part in the “Inclusion Month” events.

Photos and videos of the events are in Instagram Highlights “Inclusion“.

  1. In July 2021, we formalized a policy of “Recruitment without discrimination” and began to emphasize in our vacancies the provision of equal employment opportunities.

  2. In the spring of 2021 our iOS Team Lead was trained in digital accessibility, based on it he developed a plan to adapt our products for the visually impaired people, which will be implemented in our apps.

Main target audience of the project – the company’s employees, additional target audience – potential candidates, IT community, Ukrainian society, users of our products.



Thanks to the implemented steps, we were able to influence the following business performance of the company: voice of employee, level of Diversity & Inclusion culture, employee engagement, level of trust in the company, employer branding awareness among the candidates.

  1. Voice of employee.

I like that the HR department is working to make appflame an “Inclusive friendly” company

May 2021

  • Significantly Above Target – 23.5%

  • Above Target – 56.5%

  • On Target – 17.6%

  • Approaching Target – 1.2%

  • Below Target – 1.2%

August 2021

  • Significantly Above Target – 23.3%

  • Above Target – 64.4% (+7.9%)

  • On Target – 11%

  • Approaching Target – 1.3%

  • Below Target – 0%

I understand what is inclusion and why the company develops it

May 2021

  • Significantly Above Target – 16.5%

  • Above Target – 51.8%

  • On Target – 25.9%

  • Approaching Target – 3%

  • Below Target – 2.8%


August 2021

  • Significantly Above Target – 23.3% (+6.8%)

  • Above Target – 61,6% (+9.8%)

  • On Target – 15.1%

  • Approaching Target – 0%

  • Below Target – 0%

  1. Increasing level of Diversity & Inclusion culture

Inclusion Audit results

  • May 2021 – 65.513 

  • July 2021 – 74.025 (+8,5 points)

Employee Engagement: Gallup

  • March 2021 – 89%

  • June 2021 – 92%

  1. Level of trust in the company

I trust my boss 

  • March 2021 – 91%

  • August 2021 – 96% (+5%)

I trust my HR 

  • March 2021 – 69%

  • August 2021 – 96% (+27%)

  1. Employer branding awareness among the candidates

People around me know about         appflame

  • 1 sq 2021 – 46%

  • 2 sq 2021 – 74% (+28%)


Before working in appflame, I knew about the company’s products

  • 1 sq 2021 – 31%

  • 2 sq 2021 – 39% (+8%)

I am subscribed to the appflame social network

  • 1 sq 2021 – 69%

  • 2 sq 2021 – 74% (+5%)


I am ready to recommend appflame as an employer to friends and acquaintances

  • 1 sq 2021 – 77%

  • 2 sq 2021 – 96% (+25%)


More than 1 million people learned about the #etiquette_of_inclusion project in 2021 thanks to the implemented steps. We are proud to promote Diversity & Inclusion, as well as to raise awareness of equality, rights and personal freedom among our employees, candidates, IT community and Ukrainian society. It is a new etiquette of the modern world.

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