Making Your Workplace More LGBT Inclusive

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June is also the beginning of Pride month! This month we pay tribute to the Stonewall Riots and celebrate everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community.


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Forbes: Here Are 4 Ways Companies Can Make Workplaces More LGBTQ Inclusive


According to Guardian's Workforce 2020 report, nearly 12 million Americans identify as LGBTQ. Yet, while 6 in 10 employers say diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a priority for their company, only 1 in 3 employers have initiatives, policies, or a D&I team in place. The same report found 68% of American workers strongly agree it's essential to work for an employer that creates an inclusive workplace culture.


This initiative should not, and cannot, be led only by human resources. Leaders at all levels need to be on board and change their behaviors and language to engage others. There might be some turnover in the beginning, but that's to be expected with change. Contrary to popular belief, not all turnover is bad turnover. Good turnover helps rid those who aren't aligned with the culture and where the company is heading.


Update Policies And Ensure Inclusive Benefits


Employers should prioritize revisiting and updating their policies to be more inclusive to their LGBTQ+ employees. In addition to their policies, they should consider implementing diversity or pride days dedicated to celebrating employee differences.


Melissa Kepler, a training consultant at LMI and strengths coach at Capital Humans, recommended removing gendered language from policies. For example, if there's a policy centered around children, companies should take out terms like "mother" and "father" and use "parent" instead.


Train On Inclusivity In Language


Regarding language, the current recruiting strategy should be revisited to ensure LGBTQ applicants aren't excluded. Evaluate the current language used in job descriptions and replace any gender-coded terms with neutral language.


Hire An Inclusivity Specialist And Run Workshops To Educate


It's not the job or responsibility of the employee to educate their coworkers. Rex Freiberger, CEO of Discuss Diets, "it's not a terrible idea to hire a consultant who identifies as gay or trans to look over the training materials and make sure the company is promoting the right messages."


Training on LGBTQ inclusion should not be a one-and-done event. At the least, it should be required for all new hires and on an annual basis. When doing yearly discrimination and sexual harassment training, companies should include training on LGBTQ. This keeps it top of mind and reminds employees that they are an inclusive workplace.


Be Aware Of The Do's And Don'ts


Let the employee decide if, when, and how they'll tell their colleagues. The employer needs to respect the employee's decision and shouldn't pressure them to do anything in which they're uncomfortable.


It is the employer's responsibility to create a safe space for all employees. This means being vigilant against discrimination regardless of how subtle it may be and understanding what makes the employee uncomfortable. Daniel Carter, the founder of Zippy Electronics, shared what this might look like:


  • Referring to the employee as their previous name or gender

  • Asking personal questions surrounding their transition, surgical or medical history, or how they came out

  • Excluding them from events, meetings, etc

  • Giving unsolicited advice on how they should dress and keep themselves groomed

Heidi Lynne Kurter wrote this article for Forbes; read the full article here.


 

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