Being an LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace beyond zero tolerance policies

It's all good and well showing support for the LGBTQ+ community over Pride month, but how is your organisation making meaningful inclusive efforts all year-round?
HR Grapevine
HR Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd
Being an LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace beyond zero tolerance policies
LGBTQ+ and ally members of staff at an inclusive company are more likely to say they are proud to work for their employer than those who don't

The research that says having a diverse workforce is good for business is vast. And recent years have seen firms adopt inclusive practices to both make their companies reflect wider society and bolster their growth and competitive edge.

Of course, firms should want to make themselves diverse for the positive ethical and societal consequences it has, but it’s clear that there is also strong business incentive behind investing in cultivating a culture attractive to, and inclusive of, people from diverse backgrounds and marginalised communities.

When it comes to making workplaces more inclusive to those in the LGBTQ+ community specifically, inclusive policies have the power to increase employee commitment, job satisfaction, productivity, and create more altruistic workplace behaviours – which can all be good for business.

However, creating an inclusive LGBTQ+ workplace can sometimes be reduced to having rigid zero tolerance around discrimination policies, or efforts that are only highlighted over Pride month – both of which can have little effect in the long-term.

Going beyond policies

Building an inclusive workplace must be underpinned by rigid zero tolerance policies to bullying and discrimination. Through having these policies, and shouting about them in your workplace, you create an environment where employees understand what is expected of them, and staff from these communities feel safe. However, efforts must go beyond this, and a part of this is opening up channels of communication between yourself and your workforce – this way, policies can be more specific to the needs of your staff.

“Setting robust anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies is the first step,” says Vicky Walker, Group Director of People, Westfield Health. “But this isn’t enough. Businesses must promote inclusive language and spaces to show their commitment.

Being clear about where you stand on LGBTQ+ issues all year round, is essential to being an ally to the community in a way that doesn’t just seem performative

“Employers should also try to find ways to speak to their workers to understand their needs and ways in which they can improve communication and policies. Encouraging open dialogue across the business can go a long way in building inclusivity. Our research has shown that a third (33%) of employees say they feel their culture would improve if management listened more and 30% want more direct support from their leadership team.

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