With Pride Month 2023 in full swing, it’s a great time to reaffirm the importance of creating safe, accommodating, and validating work environments for LGBTQ+ members.
It’s well documented that creating and supporting diverse work environments leads to improved productivity, better problem solving, and improved team retention. For many businesses, they go as far as their diversity and inclusivity takes them.
By creating a safe and comfortable work environment for people across the LGBTQ+ community businesses actively improve their processes and teams, while also offering minorities greater opportunities and experiences.
As a team dedicated to diversity and inclusion, we wanted to highlight some of the keyways that businesses can help LGBTQ+ members to feel vital to a business and validated by their team.
Champion LGBTQ+ Charities
By championing and supporting LGBTQ+ charities and movements, such as Stonewall and ATK, businesses can be actively involved in the struggle for LGBTQ+ equality and acceptance.
There are countless ways that businesses can support these charities. By helping them, businesses ensure these charities continue delivering vital services to members of the LGBTQ+ community. This support can be in the form of monetary donations, volunteering hours and resource support to name just a few.
Supporting these charities and organisations also helps a business to reaffirm their commitment to diversity and inclusion, something that is becoming more and more vital to shareholders and clients.
LGBQT+ Members in Senior Leadership Roles
Representation is a key factor when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This is especially the case with senior leadership roles.
It can be difficult for LGBTQ+ members to feel valued in a workplace where they aren’t represented in the higher levels of management. This is because traditionally business transformation is driven by those at the top and if certain groups are excluded from these transformation conversations, their needs aren’t always accounted for.
By giving senior leadership opportunities to LGBTQ+ members, businesses not only advocate for equality and tolerance at the top, but by doing so they also take steps in delivering tangible progress in creating more inclusive and validating work environments internally.
LGBTQ+ Awareness and Unconscious Bias
HR teams play a key role in creating work cultures that are accepting and validating to LGBTQ+ members.
The first step any business’ HR team should take in creating this kind of culture is to ensure the hiring process for any position is free from unconscious bias. This should involve blind CVs and applications as well as having LGBTQ+ members involved in the hiring process itself, to ensure assumptions and procedures are reviewed throughout.
Furthermore, LGBTQ+ awareness and unconscious bias workshops should be a consistent occurrence internally. These workshops should go hand-in-hand with other diversity and inclusion measures to ensure no team members are forgotten or excluded.
HR teams serve as a crucial mechanism in ensuring that diversity and inclusion is an integral part of any business’ culture, this is no different when it comes to LGBTQ+ matters and members.
Ask the Difficult Questions in the Right Way
As with any form of inclusion and diversity, sometimes difficult questions have to be asked regarding the experience of LGBTQ+ team members. While they may seem obvious, there are two key factors that companies should consider before starting an internal review and transformation process.
Don’t just focus on the negatives – It can be very easy for organisations to only ask about what isn’t working during these review processes. While this may seem logical, it can create negative connotations regarding work for LGBTQ+ team members. It’s much more effective and empathetic to ask the difficult question amongst a series of lighter and more positive prompts. This not only promotes a more positive work environment, but it also encourages honest and frank responses.
Don’t treat the LGBTQ+ community as a monolith – When unpacking the experience of LGBTQ+ team members it’s crucial that businesses don’t lump them all under one roof. A transwoman’s experience will be drastically different to the experience of someone who is non-binary. Employers that fail to understand this risk ostracising their LGBTQ+ team members and making the whole process feel like a box-ticking exercise. Be inclusive in the process, not restrictive.
Keeping Commitment Consistent
Those who incorporate some or all of these methods of support are taking vital steps in creating a validating and inclusive work environment.
Pride Month is often a fantastic landing pad for businesses to incorporate these methods internally and serves as a great reminder of how far we’ve come, as well as what we have left to do to reach true diversity and inclusivity.
That’s why it’s vital that we remain vocal and active regarding our support for LGBTQ+ team members year-round. Inclusivity and diversity are best achieved through consistent commitment and championing.
If you’re interested in learning more about diversity and inclusion and why we shouldn’t just measure it through numbers, we sat down with Non-executive Director Jocelyn McConnachie to discuss just that.
Head here to find out more.