Supporting your LGBTQ+ Employees

5 June 2024 | Blog

You can show commitment to your LGBTQ+ employees by supporting them during Pride Month. Let’s take a look at three simple ways you can ensure diversity and inclusion within the workplace. This is a powerful and meaningful way to create a diverse working environment for all of your employees. Respect and equality can go a long way to making your organisation the best it can be.

Let’s take a look at some simple and straightforward yet impactful strategies that you can implement within the workplace.

Education and Awareness

Education is key to creating an inclusive workplace. If employees have a solid foundation of knowledge on the topic, they will be able to deal with and overcomes any LGBTQ+ issues in the workplace. We offer training sessions on topics like this, which may be useful. Get in touch with us if this is something you would be interested in.

An effective educational plan all starts with training sessions, covering all sections of LGBTQ+ inclusion. Topics such as Understanding Terminology will helps familiarise employees with the important terms relevant to the LGBTQ+ community. This can be crucial when interacting with others in the workplace and demonstrates a level of understanding and respect.

It is vital that employees understand the legal aspects and rights on LGBTQ+ individuals in the workplace. Anti – discrimination laws, equal employment opportunities and your own policies will help support these rights, so it is important to understand these as well.

Strategies for creating an inclusive culture are imperative and one that all workplaces should consider implementing. Make recognition of unconscious biases, encourage open dialogue amongst all. Whilst it is also important that employees know how to handle any discrimination in the workplace. Make sure this is a clear process that all employees are aware of, and that employees know who to report these incidents to.

Here, at The HR Booth, we offer specialised training sessions on these topics and more. We have a discrimination policy and process easily accessible in our employee handbook, and we encourage all employees to be actively aware of what discrimination is and how to prevent / report on this.

We offer training sessions as part of our ongoing commitment to improving workplace environments for all. If this is something you and / or your business may be interested in, then please contact us using the form at the bottom of this page.

Lead By Example

It is crucial that you demonstrate your organisations commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion. The message can be as clear or subtle, but it has to be there. You will want to ensure your colleagues feel comfortable at all times and operate with an open-door policy. Regular communication from leadership can reinforce this.

Communication on this topic can come in many forms. Visible support and leadership on this topic is essential to actively encouraging participation and inclusion in LGBTQ+ in the workplace. By showcasing commitment to this, you can see the tone for your workplace.

Clear policies are key to this. Employees are likely to be guided by the management and may refer to policies to keep them right. These policies must be clear – cut, leaving employees in no doubt what is expected of them. These policies should be reviewed on a regular basis, and this is something we can help you with.

One initiative that we have found beneficial for our clients is to have regular intranet communication, often in the form of newsletters. This helps to be a regular reminder to employees on what is expected of them, and can be on a range of topics, whatever you feel is most necessary and beneficial for your workplace. This is something we help our clients with. Feel free to contact us (via the form at the bottom of the page) and we can discuss how we can help you. We recommend making training (particularly on topics like this) mandatory for employees.

Review and Update Policies

It is essential to ensure that your policies are up to date. Again, this is something we can assist with for all policies, but particularly for Diversity and Inclusion. Policies are in place to protect LGBTQ+ employees from discrimination and this can act as a selling point when welcoming new employees into the business.

We have often found that our clients benefit from a comprehensive review of all policies. Especially on policies surrounding LGBTQ+ and discrimination in the workplace. This process involves working through all the policies, identifying any areas that need improvement or updated. Our aim here is to ensure that all policies are compliant with current laws, but also demonstrate your company ethos correctly and effectively.

We also offer customised solutions to suit your business needs. From small businesses to larger organisations, the solutions we aim to offer are tailored to suit the needs of your situation. You should seek to regularly review and update your policies, ensuring you are committed to improving your workplace on all fronts. It is vital that these policies are not just generic tick – box exercises, but ones that suit your organisational culture.

If / when policies have been updated, you must ensure that your workforce are actively aware of these changes and how the new policies look. This not only seeks to improve their knowledge on workplace matters, but also provides a sense of inclusion in business activities. Always be open to hearing feedback from your employees. At the end of the day, it will be them who are following these policies and it must be something they buy in to for it to work. This helps generate open dialogue in the workplace, making sure your employees feel included, listened to, valued and also influential to making positive workplace changes.

Monitor your Progress

It is impossible to create an inclusive workplace without listening to your employees. Ensure you get regular feedback from your employees, and act accordingly based off their feedback. Employees can drive positive change in the workplace, and it is important to always respect and recognise this.

There are several strategies you can implement to develop consistent employee feedback.

One of which is to have regular surveys with your employee. These can be anonymous (which often will bring out more honest feedback) and ask employees about their experience regarding workplace inclusion. These surveys should be easily accessible and be operating on multiple feedback channels. Ensure that employees concerns are heard and acted upon.

If you feel your employees would be comfortable being open in a group setting, then you may wish to hold focus groups, featuring small groups of employees and management. This providing a platform to voice their opinion (both positive and negative) on LGBTQ+ issues, and any other workplace issues they feel are relevant and necessary to discuss.

Something else some of our clients have implemented, that they have found beneficial, is Employee Resource Groups. These groups focus directly upon one singular workplace element or issue. For example, you could set up a LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group that focuses solely on improving the workplace experience and environment for all. This can also act as a middle man, between employees and management for any issues that they encounter. In addition, this also demonstrates commitment to bettering the workplace environment and also making it a more inclusive and diverse culture too.

Lastly, you must always aim to act on the feedback provided to you by your employees. There is no point going through all the work of setting up employee support groups / listening groups, to not then act upon the feedback. Ensure your employees’ voices are heard and that they feel valued.

Creating a welcoming and inclusive workplace is a commitment that requires effort from all within the workplace. By supporting your employees during Pride Month, you are demonstrating your dedication to diversity and inclusion within the workplace.

It is important that your staff are educated on these matters, including LGBTQ+ terminology, legal rights and how to create an inclusive working environment. Training sessions on a regular basis can help provide your employees with the knowledge they need.

Leading by example is essential to showcasing your commitment to this topic. Clear – cut policies, open – door practice and regular communication helps to reinforce this within your organisation. Employee Resource Groups can act as the voice of your employees, provide support to employees and act as a driver for change in the workplace.

Policies must be up – to – date in your employee handbook. If you are unsure on this, we can take a look for you. By having these policies in place, it can act as a selling point to potential new employees.

Acting on feedback demonstrates to employees that their input is valued and will also help to create a dynamic and inclusive workplace culture. This will also encourage employees to speak out on matters in the future. Employees can be at the epicentre of positive change within your business.

For further assistance or information on any of these topics, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the ‘contact us’ form below.

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