Is Your Company LGBTQ+ Inclusive?
Published December 13, 2021
Last updated December 13, 2021
Stonewell, a group fighting for LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace, conducted an extensive research in 2018, with some worrying results. They found that 18% of LGBTQ employees have been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues' in 2018 because they're LGBTQ+.
They also revealed that one in eight trans people have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues. The report continues, providing more data that paints a grim picture of the state of Britain’s (and the global) diverse workforce.
What an inclusive workplace would look like
LGBTQ+ rights at work (which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and questioning),are in most firms discussed within equality and diversity in the workplace. Companies that strive to have an inclusive culture, work to improve gender equality, as well as eliminate unconscious bias against race, age, disability and sexual orientation.
A truly inclusive work environment, according to Stonewell, is one where all employees feel welcome, respected and represented. It is an environment where no one is being held back because of protected characteristics. But more than that, it’s a place where people from all marginalised groups can equally thrive.
The benefits of diversity in the workplace
Why is diversity important in the workplace? Above all, there are human and, ethical (and legal reasons) that support diversity in this setting. However, there are also multiple benefits for having diverse employees and an inclusive environment.
Foster creativity and innovation
People from different backgrounds and those who have different life experiences bring new perspectives to the table. Meaning, by hiring diverse talent, your company can become more innovative and offer creative ways to improve services.
For instance, a queer staff member may identify the need to include pronouns in a customer profile, so customers don’t get misgendered by the support team. This can lead to better service and increased consumer loyalty.
Better strategic planning and product development
A big part of a company’s success lies in the way it operates and plans its long-term projects. Having employees from different backgrounds and those who possess a variety of skill sets can help streamline processes and improve communications.
For instance, an East-Asian team member may recognise that a fair share of the company’s freelancers speak Mandarin, but the company’s internal communication app doesn’t support messaging in non-Latin characters. Realising that can encourage an upgrade, and improve future collaborations.
Better problem-solving and decision-making
Harvard Business Review found that diverse teams solve problems faster. The research states that “tackling new challenges requires a balance between applying what we know and discovering what we don’t know that might be useful.” Since diverse teams possess a wide range of perspectives and expertise, they can look at a problem from multiple angels and reach a conclusion faster.
As most companies care about their bottom line, it’s important to understand that having diverse teams equals higher profits. McKinsey & Company conducted research with 366 companies, and found a correlation between the two factors. This comes as no surprise, as better problem-solving, decision-making and innovation, all help promote sales and better performance against the competition.
Improving the company brand
Fostering inclusion and promoting it in your company can help attract new talent. Younger people especially, whether LGBTQ people or otherwise, are looking for an employer that supports their world views and values. Customers are also increasingly looking to support companies that do good in the world. Therefore, a culture of inclusion can greatly improve the company’s brand.
How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Now that we’ve convinced you of the importance of inclusivity, here are a few ways you can improve LGBTQ+ employee experience in your company, and make everyone feel included.
1. Make an effort to hire a diverse team
Inclusion starts with representation. If your employees see others like them in the workplace, as well as in senior positions, it will make them feel like they belong. That’s why you should implement inclusivity into your recruiting process.
Use gender-neutral language in your job posts, to appeal to all genders and sexualities. Post your job ads in specific LGBTQ+ message boards and Facebook groups. Use a diverse panel in job interviews to eliminate bias. Make sure to state that you support and encourage diverse hiring, to make your company more inviting.
2. Create policies to protect and support LGBTQ+ staff
Some offices have dress codes, which may not correlate with everyone’s gender identity. This is one example of a policy that you can change to support LGBTQ+ team members. You can also ensure there are rules against discrimination and those that promote the use of inclusive language with your staff.
3. Implement LGBTQ+ training
The natural continuance to policies is training. Providing your employees with all the rules to be inclusive won’t teach them about sensitivity. Training is where they learn why being inclusive is so important, and different methods to approach issues regarding inclusion with compassion and understanding.
4. Create an employee-based committee
The best way to support your LGBTQ+ employees is to ask them what they need. A committee made out of volunteers in the community can provide you with suggestions for events and workshops to support the inclusion efforts. It’s important to ensure that you provide this committee with all the support they need to execute their plans, both financially, and with access to HR and decision-makers within the company.
If you truly want to create a workplace where everyone feels safe and included, make sure you listen more than you talk. Try to understand what your employees need to feel like they belong, and celebrate their diversity. One of the ways you can do that, is with Pride Month. Read more about how celebrating Pride promotes the inclusion of all employees.