LGBTQIA+ Inclusion in the workplacePosted on 22nd February 2023
Everyone should feel safe, supported, and comfortable in the workplace. An inclusive environment, which allows all employees to be themselves, helps staff to feel valued and respected, and can offer great advantages to your organisation. And yet the stats when it comes to LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the workplace are still, sadly, painting a different picture.
Research shows that a staggering 40% of LGBT+ employees have experienced conflict in the workplace, and 55% of Trans employees report the same, plus more than 60% of LGBT graduates say they felt unable to be ‘out’ at work, despite experiencing this freedom at university.
So, as we celebrate LGBTQIA+ History Month, we’re looking at ways your business can be a supportive place of work for your people.
LGBTQIA+ is an umbrella term that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. The plus symbol denotes the fact that more sexualities can feature under this umbrella, making space for any who may be pansexual, asexual or just unsure, and questioning their sexuality/ gender identity.
As the LGBTQIA+ umbrella is so inclusive, your business should be able to adapt to that inclusivity as well to ensure harmony in the workplace.
Understand how inclusion can benefit your business!
The benefits of being inclusive are vast. It’s not just about ticking the right boxes to give the right impression. And it’s not even just about ensuring employees of all genders and sexualities feel supported, safe and respected - although this is the first and most important reason to be an inclusive employer.
The benefits to having a solid LGBTQIA+ inclusion policy include:
Retaining staff - a study done by the US Chamber of Commerce reported that 80% of employees were more likely to apply to work for a company with an inclusion policy, and 72% said that they’d be more likely to leave their job if their employee did not have a policy in place. The bottom line? If you want the best, diverse team for your business, you need to ensure your policies are up to date.
Financial growth - the same report found that company stock performance increased by an average of 6.5% after implementation of an LGBTQIA+ inclusion policy. This stat can be backed up by the fact that 91% of Fortune 500 companies have incorporated sexual orientation into their policies against discrimination, with 85% also including gender identity.
Productivity and staff wellbeing - Research suggests that businesses could potentially avoid financial losses each year due to staff absences caused by stress and ill-health. LGBTQIA+ staff who feel the need to hide their identity, or who have experienced discrimination in the workplace find they struggle to stay motivated at work and look after their mental health, so require more sick days to cope. An effective inclusion strategy could reduce this issue, increase productivity and improve staff wellbeing - leading to more creative thinking and problem solving amongst the team.
Make the change to include LGBTQIA+ in your workplace.
Here are some suggestions, to implement a good LGBTQIA+ inclusion strategy:
Analyse your current policies.
What do you already have in place that encourages inclusion in the workplace, and what improvements could you make? Ensure your policies are clearly communicated and well researched on how to best support your employees. Talking with your current employees on how this can be addressed, is an open and honest way to start, ensuring engagement from all.
Prioritise LGBTQIA+ training.
Developing a clear mission for supporting LGBTQIA+ in the workplace is crucial; your policy needs to take discrimination seriously, and all staff should be aware of the importance of respect and equality in the workplace.
Currently, more than a third of LGBT workers say that they hide that their true selves at work, for fear of discrimination. Again, highlighting the fact that training and education for non-LGBTQIA+ is essential to turn this around.
Investing in training allows you to not only measure your progress, but to ensure your policies are heard and understood by all, including senior staff.
Consider setting up an LGBTQIA+ network.
A network group can offer support for staff to allow LGBTQIA+ employees to have a safe space. As well as this, focus groups can offer employees the opportunity to provide feedback on how they feel policies should be improved or implemented.
With one in five believing that being LGBTQIA+ limits their progress at work, it’s clear that support programmes for these employees can help ensure the workplace allows everyone to thrive.
Promote allies of LGBTQIA+ people.
Your workplace may have non-LGBTQIA+ people who are passionate about equality, and who are happy and willing to champion inclusion. Get them on board, use their passion as an ally and create an extra channel of support for LGBTQIA+ staff.
Foster a gender-neutral environment.
A gender-neutral environment is one which avoids bias towards a particular gender, such as work wear policies encouraging women to wear skirts. Its more inclusive to allow everyone to dress appropriately, in whichever style of clothes they prefer. This will allow employees to feel comfortable whilst at work.
Support the LGBTQIA+ community.
Show your support for LGBTQIA+ History Month, Pride, or Trans Day of Visibility- all these events are important days in your workplace calendar and should be acknowledged and celebrated.
These are also great opportunities for teaching and learning and spreading awareness of your policies in the workplace too.
It’s a good idea to support the local LGBTQIA+ community too. Give your staff information about local events and groups, perhaps support these events with sponsorship or encourage volunteering at bigger events.
Implementing an LGBTQIA+ inclusion policy is an on-going process. You need to be open to continuously learning and adapting the way you work, and to encourage all staff to be involved with this journey too. Get in touch with The Maine Group today to find out how we can guide you towards creating your own inclusion policies and how we can help you to incorporate more diverse and inclusive hiring into your recruitment strategies.
We have a variety of EDIB training courses available to help with this as well as company audit packages which will help determine what support you may need. Contact Carly.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.