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Pride Month: Building Up Inclusive Workplaces

LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace is fast becoming a priority for many businesses across the country. Yet, 23% of those who identify as LGBTQ+ have experienced negative or mixed reactions from those within their organisation.

According to a report published by the Government Equalities Office, trans-people are less likely to be in paid employment, with many reporting that they have struggled to secure job opportunities only since transitioning. Illustrating this, national statistics indicate that only 65% of trans-women and 57% of trans-men are currently in paid employment.

 As evidence by recent research carried out in the US, the national economy could save upwards of US$9bn per annum if organisations were to implement more inclusive strategies for those who identify as being LGBTQ+, with this being partially attributed to avoiding costs associated with absence caused by stress, anxiety and mental ill-health. Moreover, as the number of LGBTQ+ individuals in the UK is almost at 1m, and will only rise further in the future, there is a significant opportunity for us to service this area of the market and potentially benefit from first-mover advantage.

 So, how can employers create a more inclusive space for members of the LGBTQ+ community? To answer this question, Gurpreet Smith – our LGBTQ+ Champion – has a few suggestions…

Avoid Making Assumptions

There are only so many times someone can hear: “Oh, you don’t look gay”. You can’t say what someone identifies themselves as just by looking at them.

If you would like to get to know more someone don’t assume who their partner is – it is better to go with when did you meet them? How did you meet? You are then not assuming.

 

Create A Safe Environment

Let people tell you when they are ready to what they identify themselves as. Don’t be in a rush to get a ‘label’ on a person. LGBTQ+ can have other factors going on with their identity and will let you know in their own time who they identify themselves as. The person might be ‘out’ to you, but still might not have the confidence to share that with others.

 

Be Sensitive To Pronouns

The LGBTQ+ community who are transgender and gender fluid deal with a lot of confusion and misunderstanding on a daily basis. Being non-binary is slightly more difficult for people to wrap their heads around because they don’t identify as either man or woman. If you’re not sure what pronouns someone uses just ask them and then ensure you use them.

 

Zero Tolerance Approach

Develop clear zero tolerance policies on transphobic bullying, discrimination and harassment that is supported all-staff training. In addition, you could develop a policy too support employees who are transitioning that considers information on confidentiality and using facilities, which include guidance for line managers.

 

Get Everyone Involved

Train employees on diversity and inclusion that includes all levels of employees from management downwards. Creating workshop activities across the organisation can lead to a greater understanding of issues relating to the LGBTQ+ community. These workshops could cover gender pronouns or gender transition, with it being important to make sure everyone participates equally in the discussion. This will help to harness and develop a strong culture of trust between colleagues.

For more information, be sure to check out resources from LGBT Foundation, Mind Out and Stonewall.

As well as being a Support Manager at Steps To Work, Gurpreet is the LGTBQ+ Champion on our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Group.

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