How To Make Your Workplace More LGBTQ+ Inclusive

June 9, 2021

Pride Month is a worldwide celebration of the LGBTQ+ community to commemorate the Stonewall riots against the police raid that occurred in New York City, June 28, 1969. Pride Month is a great opportunity to focus on raising awareness, educating/ learning, and fighting for LGBTQ+ rights. So what better time to shed a light on the LBGTQ+ experience in the workplace?

Diversity and inclusion genuinely matter to jobseekers. In a study by McKinsey & Company, nearly 40% of all survey respondents, both LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ, admitted to rejecting a job offer or not pursuing a position because they felt that the hiring company was not inclusive. ​

​Every company/ organization can benefit from implementing more inclusive practices in the workplace. Here are some ways to get started:​

  1. Use Inclusive Language

Almost half (46%) of LGBTQ workers in the United States and 35% of workers in the UK conceal their sexual orientation in fear of discrimination. Using more inclusive language in the workplace will create a safe space for LGBTQ workers to be themselves. For example, instead of asking about your colleague’s “wife” or “husband,” try using terms like “partner” or “spouse.” 

When you make assumptions about sexual orientation, members of the LGBTQ+ community have to go through the trouble of coming out in the workplace multiple times - sometimes even daily. According to a study from the Human Rights Campaign,  31% of LGBTQ workers said they have felt unhappy or depressed at work. The more you understand the LGBTQ+ challenges/ experiences in the workplace, the more mindful you can be about your language and communication.

  1. Acknowledge Gender-Identity

Don’t continue to misgender someone just because you believe it to be “too hard” or “inconvenient.” If you still don’t understand what pronouns are all about, there are resources online that will explain it for you. This article from LGBT Life Center does a great job explaining the significance of pronouns, the common terms to understand, and what to do if you mess up. 

Here are some practices to implement:

  • Rethink your application and hiring paperwork. Provide more gender choices such as “other” or “non-binary” and give candidates the option to state their preferred pronouns

  • Offer gender-neutral restrooms & dress codes​

  1. Walk The Talk + Be Proactive

Employee training, including during onboarding, will help uphold corporate commitment and accountability. According to a study by BCG, 75% of LGBTQ+ workers reported experiencing at least one negative interaction related to their identity at work in the past year, with 41% experiencing more than ten types of such interactions. Training within the HR department will address unconscious biases in the hiring process. It’s also important for your HR team to be educated on how to support transitioning employees. ​

Does your company have trouble attracting talent from the LGBTQ+ community? Consider making your job listings more inclusive. Emphasize your commitment to creating a diverse workplace. You can also connect with LGBTQ+ organizations to put your company on the radar as an ally of community. If your company supports LGBTQ+ rights, make it clear - utilize inclusive language and imagery in marketing efforts and on social platforms. Offer equal benefits to all employees regardless of their sexual orientation including parental leave, adoption leave, etc. 

Pride spans the month of June. This is a great time to dive into the initiative. Here are some ways to show your support:

  • Volunteer or donate to LGBTQ+ foundations/ organizations

  • Create or promote educational opportunities for your employees

  • Alter your company logo on social media for the month by incorporating pride colors, frames or filters

  • Update your email signatures to include your pronouns

  • Choose one day out of the month for a company-wide celebration

Although Pride only lasts a month, it's important to continue the conversation and support the LGBTQ+ community year-round!!

Would you consider your company diverse? Do you need help creating a diverse workforce? Get in touch.

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