6 ways you can make your workplace more LGBTQ+ inclusive
If you didn’t know when pride month is in 2022, it’s taking place now. The month-long celebrations happen worldwide, involving everything from parades to art exhibitions that bring people together in support of LGBTQ+ communities. Whatever the pride month activity, the reason behind it is to celebrate and accept all sexual identities – particularly those that have been treated poorly or discriminated against by society. Prejudice can have a detrimental effect on a person’s work, personal life and overall wellbeing.
While “how to celebrate pride month in the workplace” and “how to talk about pride month at work” are trending topics at the moment, it’s just as important for workplaces to embrace diversity and inclusivity throughout the year. 46% of LGBTQ+ employees choose to conceal their sexual orientation or gender identification at work due to a fear of the consequences. So, if there’s one pride month message to employees worth sending, it should reinforce workplace inclusivity and have the practices in place to back it up.
In this Pacific Prime UK article, we look at how employers can make a workplace more LGBTQ+ inclusive.
1. Be clear about your company’s support
Being straightforward and open about you and your company’s values from the start is a great way to help LGBTQ+ employees feel comfortable and empowered at work. There are endless ways to support and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, whether through the policies you have in place or the products and services you provide. It can look like openly discussing nondiscrimination policies when interviewing candidates and posting content that shows you’re an ally.
Likewise, you can send anonymous employee surveys to learn more and get a discussion going. By working with your workforce and making the necessary changes, everyone will feel that they can safely be their authentic selves at work.
2. Offer LGBTQ+ training
Providing LGBTQ+ training at work can be an instrumental tool to educate employees, managers and more about LGBTQ+ issues. Without proper training, company policies may not be fully understood, or even known to others. Similarly, discuss with your HR team ways to keep staff throughout the company up to date on the latest policies, guidelines and resources that will lead to more acceptance and understanding. Remember that inclusivity has to be part of an entire organisation in order to have a safe workplace.
3. Use inclusive language throughout the workplace
The word choices that you make every day at work can make others feel let out or included. For example, you can choose a gender-neutral greeting like “hello everyone” instead of the common “hey guys”. Or instead of saying, “You can invite your wife/husband”, use inclusive terms like partners and spouses.
If you’re unsure how to use more inclusive language in the way you speak and write, there are plenty of resources available online, such as the Conscious Style Guide. Be especially mindful of using gender-neutral language when posting job descriptions, sending out company emails or posting on social media.
4. Encourage employees to be their true selves at work
Diverse companies are strong companies and having a workforce made up of different backgrounds empowers companies to come up with better products/services and is a more accurate representation of our world. To make employees feel safe to embrace who they really are at work, you could encourage them to share their pronouns. Note that not everyone will want to share their pronouns, so it’s best to say that anyone who wants to is encouraged to add it to their email signature, Slack profiles, Zoom name, staff bio, etc.
In addition, you can create unisex dress codes or restrooms. Be sure to review your company’s nondiscrimination policies to see if they’re still relevant.
5. Develop an anti-discrimination policy
Under the Equality Act, employers are legally and ethically responsible for protecting employees against discrimination. It’s advisable to have an updated anti-discrimination clause in place from the second you make your first hire. An anti-discrimination policy tells your employees that unlawful discrimination against sexual orientation is prohibited. It also makes it possible for you to address this type of wrongdoing accordingly (i.e. a disciplinary or contract termination).
6. Understand that there isn’t a quick solution
You can’t just snap your fingers and have LGBTQ+ inclusion at work. It’s an ongoing journey that will continuously evolve into a more inclusive tomorrow. Keep in mind that there isn’t a perfect example of an LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace that you should strive for. Instead of looking at inclusivity as a quick fix, think of it as both a practice and a goal. Everything from recruiting to training to promotions and more should reflect that LGBTQ+ inclusivity is part of the corporate culture.
Lastly, hire and promote LGBTQ+ community members in key decision-making roles. Listening to your team and getting their input can help you create a better work environment and allow LGBTQ+ employees to feel safe and empowered so pride is ongoing instead of being highlighted just once a year.
Design the ideal employee benefits plan with Pacific Prime UK
If you want a diverse and inclusive workplace, you’re going to have to make sure that your employee benefits are tailored to a diverse workforce. Whether you’re looking for employee benefits or group health insurance in the UK, Pacific Prime UK is here to help. As a global insurance broker and employee benefits specialist, we have over two decades of experience and expert advisors who can help you find the solution you’re looking for.
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