Many organisations have made huge strides in supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees and creating an inclusive workplace.
However, many LGBT people in the UK still choose not to disclose their sexuality at work. The fear of homophobia, exclusion, missed opportunity for promotions and job interviews are still very real for many LGBT people.
So, what can businesses do to better support LGBT employees, demolish career barriers and reduce workplace discrimination?
We’ve got some tips to help:
1. Develop and communicate a clear mission to your employees, including managers and senior leaders through education and diversity training about your inclusion policies and strategies for supporting LGBT employees.
2. Take discrimination seriously by developing a strong anti-discrimination policy and be sure all employees know what is not tolerated within the workplace, and in cases of homophobic bullying promptly recognise the problem and take action.
3. Provide support and engagement programmesfor LGBT employees such as mentoring and employee networking groups.
4. Promote straight allies of LGBT people, who can act as support networks to LGBT employees and help champion the message that diversity is part of your organisation’s mission.
5. Gain support from senior leaders who can help implement diversity initiatives and act as sponsors of employee network groups.
6. Reward those involved in your LGBT network group by embedding their involvement in their appraisals.
7. Support the local LGBT community by providing information to employees about local events taking place. Encourage volunteering at LGBT events and invite speakers to share their experiences.
8. Offer equal benefits to all employees regardless of their sexual orientation, including parental leave, adoption leave and time off to take care of dependants.
9. Create a gender-neutral environment by making changes such as unisex toilets and using gender-neutral language, like ‘partner’ instead of husband or wife.
10. Celebrate your successes and monitor your progress by tracking the number of employee grievances, completion rates of diversity training, LGBT hires and promotions, and how many new employees have come out.
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