LGBT+ inclusion | How to create a welcoming workplace

How to create a welcoming workplace

June 2020 marks Pride Month, where the LGBT+ community celebrates in a number of ways, but how exactly should the workplace build an environment that is welcoming for LGBT+ staff?

With the number of new ways of working, from remote working situations to the new technologies many teams are now having to embrace in order to stay connected and to communicate, is HR neglecting the importance of diversity and inclusivity as factors such as the coronavirus crisis take precedent?

According to Advocate, a recent Human Rights Campaign study revealed that 46% of LGBT+ employees say they are closeted at work – down by four per cent over the past ten years. Meanwhile, 53% of those surveyed stated that they had heard jokes about lesbian or gay people at least once in a while, elsewhere 31% claimed they had felt unhappy or depressed at work.

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But it seems that change is starting to happen, for example in the US it was announced this week that the US Supreme Court has ruled that employers who fire workers for being gay or transgender are breaking the country’s civil rights laws.

It ruled that federal law, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, should be understood to include sexual orientation and gender identity – marking a significant win for the LGBT+ community.

With this in mind, HR Grapevine has highlighted Advocate’s five key factors all HR professionals and teams should consider in order to build a more welcoming workplace for LGBT+ employees.

1. The leadership

It has long been said that for change to happen it must come from the top-down, therefore it’s crucial that HR professionals take a look at what an organisation’s leadership looks like and how that is impacting the culture.

2. HR policies

When looking at better inclusivity, it’s important to take a look at the corporate policies and whether they mention things such as same-sex couples, health care for trans employees or whether the business’ non-discrimination policy includes sexual orientation or gender identity.

3. Structural support

Within the company, it is worth noting if there is a specific leader dedicated to driving better D&I. For example, if there isn’t a D&I head, how can the business truly champion better inclusivity for its LGBT+ employees? Therefore, hiring an individual who can take the lead on this matter will help to build a more welcoming workforce.

4. Company values

In order to get the message across that a company is inclusive, it has to be visible in its values. For example, is it clear that the organisation does what it says it believes? If this isn’t the case, it’s crucial for HR to implement changes so that LGBT+ staff feel that their values are recognised and supported by the business.

5. Outside of work

To signify how much a business supports its LGBT+ staff, it’s worth taking a look at what measures it puts in place to communicate the efforts made outside work. For example, does it actively support Pride Month by offering LGBT+ staff a day off to celebrate? Alternatively, does it shout about new achievements made to support the community?

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