According to a report by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 46 per cent of LGBTQ+ employees do not disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace.
The reason for this is a fear of being judged, excluded, or isolated.
So, what can employers do to ensure the workplace is as inclusive and accepting as possible?
Recognise the intricacy of identity
Support your LBGTQ+ staff by understanding that everyone is different, and identity is complex.
Take the time to connect with your team, regularly checking in and creating a safe space for them to share any issues they are facing, if they wish to do so.
It’s important to remember that employees who identify as LGBTQ+ may also belong to other oppressed communities as well.
Some practical actions for employers to take could be:
- Providing extra gender choices such as “other” or “non-binary” on hiring paperwork, and give candidates the option to state their preferred pronouns
- Include preferred pronouns in email signatures
- Introduce gender-neutral restrooms and dress codes.
Mind your language
Using more inclusive language in the workplace will not only create a better environment, but it will also influence others to do the same.
For example, instead of asking about your employee’s “wife” or “husband,” get into the habit of using gender neutral terms such as “partner” or “spouse.”
Review your policies
In order to be more inclusive and avoid discrimination, putting LGBTQ+ policies in place is vital.
This should be a key component of your Equality and Diversity policy as it is, but creating a separate policy for LGBTQ+ inclusion will show your dedication to tackling discrimination in this area.
Additionally, make sure all your existing policies are LGBTQ+ inclusive, for example:
- Parental leave
Everyone should feel safe, equal, and accepted in the workplace. Are you doing all that you can?
Need advice? Let’s chat.