Whether you’re LGBTQ+ or an ally, whether you head up your organisation or you’re in an entry-level role, everybody should feel able to make their workplace a little more inclusive. Here, we’ll share five top tips for kickstarting LGBTQ+ inclusion at your organisation, no matter its shape or size.
Workplaces should be inclusive for every employee. For LGBTQ+ people, that means more than simply being protected from discrimination while at work – it’s about the ability to be fully themselves. It means not needing to omit information when talking about their relationships and living situations, not having to formulate excuses if they need transition-related medical leave, being able to take advantage of the same family leave policies as their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts without having a tricky conversation first.
You might want all of this to be the case in your own organisation, but know that it’s not quite there yet. So, what can you do to help? We’ve gathered some great tips from our Workplace team on how to take your first steps towards LGBTQ+ inclusion. Whether you take on one or all of them, with these pointers you’ll start to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ employees in concrete ways. And if you really end up on a roll, implementing some of these changes will set you in good stead for entering Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index, where you can win Bronze, Silver and Gold awards to recognise your inclusion efforts.
1. Improve your policies.
Policies might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to making LGBTQ+ people happier at work, but they’re crucial to creating a truly inclusive environment.
As a starter, ensure you have policies that include explicit bans on discrimination, bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Take it one step further by introducing a transitioning at work policy. This will work best if it includes guidance for employees who are transitioning, and for managers and HR supporting a transitioning employee.
2. Let prospective LGBTQ+ employees know they’ll be accepted at work.
One of the best ways of doing this is to write a strong statement about how your organisation values diversity, making sure to explicitly mention LGBTQ+ people. If you ensure that statement is visible across your job packs and recruitment pages, you’re sure to attract a wider range of applications.
3. Keep inclusion high on the agenda when training new staff.
When new employees are being inducted, make sure they receive an explicit message about your organisation’s commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion. Take this one step further by providing training to all staff about your discrimination, bullying and harassment policies, and how they help create a supportive atmosphere for everyone.
4. Diversify your internal comms.
Once staff have been inducted and trained, they’ll understand that your organisation is committed to creating a supportive environment for everyone. But keep these messages going for all employees – new or not. You can do this by celebrating awareness days, highlighting information about LGBTQ+ identities and experiences, or platforming LGBTQ+ trailblazers in your sector.
5. Set up an employee network group.
Creating a dedicated space for LGBTQ+ colleagues from across the business to connect and share peer support can make an enormous difference to the experiences of your LGBTQ+ staff. We’ve created a whole range of free resources to help you get started with establishing a network.