It's Pride Month, and while we've certainly come a long way in terms of supporting and celebrating the LGBT community across the UK, there is still more that needs to be done. In fact, recent statistics from *Stonewall have revealed that more than a third of LGBT employees have hidden their sexual orientation at work.
In addition to robust research, the Stonewall charity has published the following guidelines employers should follow in order to cultivate and develop LGBT-inclusive workplaces. Here is how you can take action now!
Five tips to support LGBT employees
1. Develop comprehensive policies which include and protect LGBT employees
Whether it's pensions, family and leave policies, health insurance and relocation allowances, make sure your policies explicitly mention LGBT employees. In line with your anti discrimination policies, you should also actively communicate your equality policy to employees across the board to ensure that the avenue for reporting discrimination, harassment or bullying in the workplace is clear.
2. Provide training on LGBT inclusion
Although many individuals many not intentionally discriminate, they may be unaware that flippant remarks and office banter could be what's preventing LGBT colleagues from being their most authentic self in the workplace. As an employer, you should implement diversity and inclusion training which explains what discrimination or harassment might look like, why it’s bad for business and how to challenge anti-LGBT attitudes or remarks. Training should be comprehensive, providing employees with a clear understanding of multiple identities and inequality.
3. Support and engage LGBT employees
This could be achieved through providing mentoring, employee networking groups, seminars and conferences. You could also set up a network group specifically for LGBT employees; to help you know where you’re doing well and which areas may need a new approach. Embed their involvement in their appraisals; make being part of the network a desirable thing to be.
4. Appoint allies to advocate for LGBT inclusiveness in the workplace
Allies, as we call them, are a crucial element of ensuring inclusion for all. They can help spread the message that diversity is celebrated by your organisation. For this reason, you should promote straight allies of LGBT people, who can act as support networks to LGBT employees and help champion the message that diversity is part of your organisation’s mission.
5. Map out your strategy for LGBT inclusiveness and celebrate successes along the way
Whether you want to increase the number of employees who are open about being LGBT, or revise your policies to make them fully inclusive, it’s crucial to know where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. Celebrate your successes and monitor your progress by tracking things such as number of employee grievances, completion rates of diversity training, LGBT hires and promotions, and how many new employees have come out.
What are you doing to promote LGBT inclusion in the workplace?
As a company that's committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we're always keen to hear from other businesses how they tackle these issues across their organisations. In the same token, we also strive to raise awareness and support businesses as they endeavour to make their workplaces more diverse and inclusive. Contact us today to share your thoughts or to find out how we can support you.