Creating an inclusive workplace is of high priority for many businesses this year – enabling employees to bring their whole selves to work and feel that they belong. Supporting your LGBTQ+ workforce is once piece of this puzzle.
What is LGBTQ+?
LGBTQ+ is a commonly used acronym which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. The plus sign denotes the inclusion of other sexualities and gender identities such as pansexual, or non-binary. This term is used as an umbrella term to describe the many different ways in which people identify their sexuality and/or gender outside of heterosexuality and typical binary notions of male and female, and also includes those who might not want to identify themselves with any existing category.
Why is it important to be inclusive
There’s a strong business case for diversity in the workplace. It has been proven many times that businesses with more diverse leadership teams are more profitable and it is likely that those companies with diverse leadership teams are likely to be more inclusive at all levels. Inclusivity is linked to higher employee engagement, creates a sense of belonging and improves the employee experience. This sense of belonging leads employees to feel safe at work to use their different experiences and outlooks to solve problems in different ways, increasing innovation.
How to support LGBTQ+ team members
The first thing to remember is that the LGBTQ+ umbrella covers a vast array of different identities and therefore a one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to be successful. Ideally, when putting in place these policies and tools, you should consult those within your organisation from the LGBTQ+ community as they can provide genuine insight from their lived experiences. Below are a few ways in which you can support inclusion:
- Have an Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) policy. This is a general policy that sets out your businesses commitment to EDI, what actions you take to support this, and the behaviour you expect of team members in support of this commitment
- Review your policies for LGBTQ+ inclusion. For example, are your family friendly policies written so as to be inclusive of same-sex couples?
- Add additional specific policies relevant to LGBTQ+ employees, such as a transgender equality policy
- Include education on LGBTQ+ in your diversity and inclusion training for all employees.
- Use gender-neutral language where possible and encourage employees to list the pronouns that they prefer to use in communications, such as in their email signatures.
- Consider creating a gender-neutral toilet option – singular, unisex toilets are more inclusive, particularly for trans and non-binary employees
- Celebrate LGBTQ+ history and events, such as Pride, in the same way you would other important calendar events. These can be great learning opportunities for your team and can raise awareness of your policies and the diversity and inclusion work you’re doing.
- If your business is large enough then you could create LGBTQ+ employee network groups and forums, creating a safe space within your organisation and a way to raise awareness of issues effecting your LGBTQ+ team members.
Here at HR Overload, we’re passionate about supporting businesses to succeed, and we can you help to build and maintain your diversity, equality, and inclusion strategy to support this success. Get in touch on email@example.com.