Stonewall, Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, published a recent report revealing worrying trends in discrimination throughout the workplaces of Britain. The research, which was made public in April 2018, showed that “more than a third of LGBT staff (35 per cent) have hidden that they are LGBT at work for fear of discrimination.” Additionally, Stonewall found that “nearly two in five bi people (38 per cent) aren’t out to anyone at work.”
Inclusivity should be a priority in all workplaces. Ensuring that each and every member of the team feels valued, appreciated and understood is of paramount importance, and there’s so much that businesses can do to make improvements in this area. Here are three key changes which you could make today to ensure that LGBT staff feel supported at work.
Put LGBT Support Strategies on the Agenda
Discrimination in the workplace comes in many forms, none of which should be tolerated. The first step in supporting LGBT staff is recognising the improvements that can be made.
Begin to develop a mission focused solely on the eradication of workplace discrimination, and communicate it clearly to all employees. Take the time to evaluate existing inclusion policies and pay particular attention to the strategies which your company could use to make work life better for LGBT staff members.
Think about new training methods which you could use to explore diversity at work, and better educate all members of your workforce on how to assist LGBT colleagues. It’s a great idea to invite existing LGBT team members to get involved in this practice if they are happy to do so. Let them give their views on what changes could be made, and how new training might improve their work life.
Make sure that rules and regulations surrounding discrimination are crystal clear, and let all staff know that any discriminatory behaviour will never be permitted within your company.
Create Allies for LGBT Employees
One of the most commonly raised issues surrounding LGBT discrimination at work is a feeling of isolation. Combat this by creating welcoming support networks and engagement programmes specifically for LGBT employees. Make sure that they know that they are not alone.
If you have a smaller workplace, you can also think about creating an ally or buddy system for LGBT team members, where other employees will support LGBT staff and make the elimination of discrimination their mission. These buddies will also be responsible for keeping an eye out for any issues and ensuring that they are dealt with in the appropriate way, according to your company’s discrimination policies.
Take Pride in Your Support for The LGBT Community
Taking part in big LGBT events is a clear way of communicating your message and letting everyone know that you are an inclusive workplace that welcomes all. It’s enormous fun for employees, too. A great way of showing your support for LGBT staff is by getting involved in the local LGBT community.
You might want to invite your employees to take part in local LGBT groups, or you could provide corporate sponsorship for LGBT events such as Pride parties. LGBT and straight employees alike could gain a lot from volunteering at LGBT events within the community, so encourage them to do so and let them know that they have the full support of your company.
We all know that a happy workforce is a more productive one. And a feeling of inclusivity is so powerful when it comes to creating that contented working environment. Showing support for LGBT staff is crucial, as is a zero tolerance policy to discrimination. These initiatives are just a few examples of how you can help LGBT staff feel welcome and included at work. Try them today and see how you could better support LGBT staff in your workplace.