It’s easy for companies to hang a rainbow flag during Pride month and claim to be inclusive. However, saying you love Pride is not the same thing as making your workplace more LGBTQ+ friendly.
Regarding the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 46% of LGBTQ+ employees are yet to come out at their workplace because they are afraid of being stereotyped, discriminated against, or losing their relationships with fellow workers. According to research, 1 in 5 LGBTQ+ Americans has experienced discrimination when seeking a job, while 22% experienced discrimination regarding equal pay and rights to promotions.
Although the LGBTQ+ community has been receiving massive support from straight people, some steps are yet to be taken to make the LGBTQ+ community feel valued at their workplace.
Everyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, needs to feel a sense of belonging at their workplace to be productive. That’s why in this article, we shall look into some steps to make your workplace more LGBTQ+ friendly.
Making Your Workplace More LGBTQ+ Friendly
Below are the steps you can take to make your workplace friendlier to LGBT People.
Set and Enforce Policies
The first step in ensuring an LGBTQ+ friendly workplace is to set specified policies that outline the company’s stand on LGBTQ+ rights and equality.
If your company is yet to have these policies, you are behind the news. 91% of Fortune 500 companies have policies that include sexual orientation and are against discrimination, and 83% include gender identity.
However, having policies is not enough. As the company leader, you should be clear on what’s acceptable and what’s not. There should also be strict measures for dealing with people who violate these policies. Ensure that you follow up on any allegations of harassment and make sure they are solved amicably.
Employing people is only the beginning. But is the environment conducive enough to accommodate everyone?
A 2018 survey found that a ¼ of the U.S workers would not be comfortable seeing an LGBTQ+ coworker’s wedding photos. The report further shows that 55% of LGBTQ+ Americans faced discrimination in 2017 compared to 44% in 2016.
Although discomfort may not amount to discrimination, it’s evident that some workers need the training to ensure that they are respectful towards their coworkers. Therefore you should provide thorough training to the workers to educate them about sexual orientation and gender identity.
Training will help those who did not understand the drafted policies understand why being LGBTQ+-friendly is essential for the business.
Offer LGBTQ+ Friendly Benefits
For anyone seeking a job, benefits packages are one thing they consider. To add to that, the LGBTQ+ community members also consider non-discrimination policies.
Unfortunately, some employers unintentionally exclude LGBTQ+ workers from these benefits. As an employer, you should ensure equity in offering benefits such as adoption and parental leave to all your employees with no exception.
Make sure you use gender-neutral terms in the benefits package to avoid the exclusion of the minority.
Assert and Ask
If an LGBTQ+ member comes out to you or shares personal information about their sexuality, you must respect and confirm which name or pronoun to use as an employer.
When asking someone about their gender identity or preferred pronouns, you should do so in a respectful manner that is not intrusive. Base the conversation on confidence and friendship.
As an employer, you should ensure the correct use of a person’s preferred pronouns to prevent misgendering among the staff or individuals being put in awkward situations.
Each year, there are events around the globe to celebrate and support the LHBTQ community. Pride parades are the biggest and the most famous. During these events, millions of people stand against discrimination, bullying, and support of the LGBTQ+ community.
By involving yourself in these festivals, you demonstrate your unconditional commitment to supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and you also make your stand clear to your staff and clients.
Communication is the key to having an LGBTQ+ friendly workplace. Find effective ways for the company’s commitment to ensuring inclusivity and embrace healthy communication among workers.
Ensure that all your speeches are LGBTQ+ inclusive and friendly. The examples and images used should also be inclusive and non-stereotypical. Mind the language because a simple mistake can be hurtful for some people.
Adapt and Listen
This may be the most critical point of all. The struggle for LGBTQ+ inclusivity and equality is not coming to an end any time soon; therefore, your company’s policies should change with time.
Most LGBTQ+ friendly companies keep changing their programs and policies to match with the current changes in the LGBTQ+ community. If you want your company to be among the LGBTQ+ allies, you should consider constant evolution in your policies.
How should you know it’s time to make some changes to your policies? It’s simple, listen to your LGBTQ+ worker to understand what works for them. By listening to them, you will know whether the current policies are working towards their advantage or not. You will also see if they are happy with the benefits offered or if they require any other benefits.
Work with Experts
Although you may want your company to be an LGBTQ+ ally, you may not know much about this community to come up with the best policies. However, in the developing world, there is always a solution for everything. You can work with experts in LGBTQ+ matters. They have enough knowledge of the issues that affect this community and are trained to make policies that will benefit both employers and LGBTQ+ workers.
Making Your Workplace More LGBTQ+ Friendly – Final Thoughts
Workplaces may not be as LGBTQ+ friendly as they are supposed to be. Discrimination and bullying are alive and kicking. However, if you want your company to be recognized as an LGBTQ+ ally, you can put some measures to ensure equity and inclusivity. The best thing is that these measures are not expensive to implement, with some requiring less effort, such as acceptance and respect.
Related: LGBTQ and ALL Inclusion Practices