Workplace diversity is a prime focus for HR professionals, people teams, and hiring managers. Building and maintaining an inclusive LGBTQ+ work environment is not only the morally right thing to do, but it also boosts the profitability and productivity of the organization.
Multiple studies have shown that creating a diverse and inclusive workforce leads to higher revenue generation and enhanced employee performance. For instance, a survey reveals that companies with diverse workforces have been found to yield 2.5 times more cash flow per employee. Additionally, 3 in every 4 job applicants prefer companies that embrace diversity.
This brings us to strategies and practices companies can implement to embrace LGBTQ+ diversity effectively while driving organizational growth and success.
LGBTQ+ Community in the Modern Workplace
LGBTQ+ is an acronym representing “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning.” The letter Q denotes both “questioning,” highlighting ongoing exploration of gender identity, and “queer” in some contexts.
According to a global survey by IPSOS, nearly 1 in 10 adults across 30 countries identify as LGBTQ+. In fact, over the past few years, LGBTQ+ visibility has significantly increased in workplaces. Having comprehensive inclusion efforts in place for LGBTQ+ personnel is, thus, a good move from both a business and an ethical stance. This is because when employees are respected and accepted, they feel less stressed and more engaged, leading to a cohesive team at the workplace.
7 Strategies for Successful LGBTQ+ Inclusion in the Workplace
Create LGBTQ+-Specific Policies
It’s foremost important for employers to be responsible for having an LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace. One way to showcase responsibility is to draft LGBTQ+-specific policies safeguarding employees against harassment and discrimination by their co-workers.
Employers should display anti-harassment policies in common workplace areas to make people aware. Another step should be to review whether the current policies meet the workforce requirements or whether modifications are required.
Some other initiatives that can be taken under the LGBTQ+-specific policies include:
Gender-neutral/Unisex Restroom Facility:
Ensure employees can access unisex or gender-neutral bathrooms and toilets. It may not be practical for smaller enterprises to change the setup of their facilities. However, they should consider having at least one restroom/toilet facility designated as gender-neutral.
Advocate for a gender-neutral dress code:
According to a survey, 35% of respondents said they had hidden or disguised their LGBTQ+ identities at work out of fear of discrimination. Since gender identity cannot be described as binary, enforcing gender-specific dress codes at the workplace should be avoided. Gender stereotyping through gender-specific dress can lead to misunderstandings and dissatisfied talent.
Use of pronouns:
Many social media platforms, including LinkedIn, have enabled users to display their pronoun choice in their profile – she/her, he/him, they/them etc. Organizations must ensure the correct name and pronoun when speaking to or referring to an LGBTQ+ employee. This also includes having workplace forms and software with gender neutrality options.
Promote the Use of Inclusive Language
Employers should recognize offensive terms and address them. The use of gender-neutral language must be promoted to avoid bias towards a particular gender.
Modern HCM software enables managers to select from a set of default gender possibilities or enter gender information for an employee. Of course, asking employees before confirming the setting is the right step. For more information about how to make the workplace gender-neutral, refer to this guide on building diversity and inclusion in your workplace.
Take Supportive Measures
Companies can encourage the workplace inclusion of LGBTQ+ workers by forming what is often known as PRIDE ERGs (employee resource groups). Additionally, companies can appoint LGBTQ+ Allies as support or mentors to raise concerns when the employee culture needs updating or modification to become more inclusive.
To ensure that all the supportive measures are effective, companies can conduct diversity surveys and take regular feedback from the employees.
Also read: How To Motivate Employees In The Workplace
Include LGBTQ+ Inclusive Benefits
According to a survey by Remote, 47% of employees feel that an inclusive parental leave policy should take a gender-neutral approach. Over half of the survey participants remarked that the policy should give same-sex couples the same number of leaves as different-sex couples. 53% of respondents feel an effective policy must give adoptive couples the same length of leave as birth parents.
Failure to implement such regulations promotes prejudice against parents in the LGBTQ community. Incorporating adoptive parents into policies eliminates confusion, queries, and awkward conversations regarding their leave entitlement. Legislation ensuring equal rights for adoptive parents may also inspire more LGBTQ+ couples to pursue adoption.
Furthermore, breastfeeding is a vital part of parenting for many people. Clear guidelines for breastfeeding, using inclusive language, will help individuals who wish to breastfeed. Such a policy allows for breastfeeding breaks and provides access to pleasant non-gender nursing facilities for people who need to pump or feed at work.
Employees belonging to the LGBTQ+ community should be empowered to have open and honest conversations with their managers. Similarly, managers must be trained to handle these communications without using or implying offensive terms, nurturing a positive culture. Employees should have a platform to voice their grievances and workplace challenges.
Conduct LGBTQ+ Training
One way of creating awareness, communication, and respect for employees is to conduct LGBTQ+ training in the workplace. This practice not only encourages sexual and lifestyle diversity but also contributes to the growth of organizations and society.
Training also aids line managers in becoming more equipped to deal with diversity-related issues. An effective training management system also helps organizations monitor their progress related to embracing diversity in the workplace.
Adopt an Inclusive Recruitment Strategy
When it comes to recruiting and managing LGBTQ+ talent, consider doing the following:
- Job descriptions should indicate an openness to all gender identities and sexual orientations.
- Educate and train hiring managers and the recruitment team on the LGBTQ+ inclusion policy.
- Source talent beyond your usual networks by posting vacancies on LGBTQ+-friendly job portals to attract diverse candidates for hiring.
- Raise LGBTQ Awareness Among Employees, here are some ways to raise LGBTQ+ awareness among existing employees and new hires:
- Leverage your company’s website to showcase LGBTQ+ community friendliness.
- Highlight current LGBTQ+ practices, talent, and policies.
- Communicate your commitment to the community and celebrate milestones, achievements, community leaders, and their history.
A corporate website can also be a great platform for expressing your views and opinions. Draft a strong content marketing strategy communicating the employer’s commitment to the diverse talent pool. Highlight unique practices followed at the workplace and statistics supporting the company’s efforts and progress.
Also read: The 3 Benefits of Workplace Diversity
In conclusion, while progress has been made in fostering diversity and inclusion, unique challenges persist for LGBTQ+ employees in certain aspects of workplace culture. Research consistently shows that a diverse workforce leads to enhanced business performance. However, true inclusivity goes beyond recruitment; it requires the creation of a supportive culture that empowers individuals.
To support LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion, employers can implement various strategies, such as respecting pronouns, fostering open communication, and providing training. Additionally, leveraging automated HR platforms can offer a transparent avenue for employees to voice their opinions and ensure an unbiased approach throughout their employment life cycle.
Engagedly is a modern cloud-based software dedicated to facilitating the entire employee lifecycle, embracing a comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) approach. Explore our website for effective management of a diverse and inclusive workforce, from onboarding to performance reviews!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What do you understand from the climate survey?
Climate surveys are a type of feedback conducted to gauge participants’ opinions of the climate of an organization. It includes feedback on the quality and amount of interaction between diverse groups and people at the workplace. It also provides information on how people perceive the institution’s support for diversity, equality, and inclusion activities.
Q2. What does ‘allyship at the workplace’ mean?
Allyship is the workplace practice of finding a workplace companion or buddy for an LGBTQ+ individual. An ally assists in creating a safe workplace culture for LGBTQ+ professionals. LGBTQ+ allies help in mitigating bias by:
- Taking a stand for LGBTQ+ co-workers
- Being a part of LGBTQ+ ERGs
- Encouraging gender-neutral greetings
Q3. How does equality differ from equity?
Equality refers to the practice wherein everyone can access the same resources or opportunities. Equity, on the other hand, refers to recognizing that everyone’s circumstances are unique and must be given the precise resources and opportunities required to achieve an equal outcome.
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