How to support LGBTQ+ diversity in the workplace

Make sure the LGBTQ+ community feels free to be themselves and never feels excluded

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The LGBTQ+ acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning. Studies show openly gay employees are happier and more productive than those forced to hide their sexual orientation. More than a third of LGBT staff have hidden or disguised this, afraid of discrimination which can lead to stress and detrimental health effects. Almost a third of non-binary people, and one in five trans people, feel unable to wear work attire representing their gender expression (LGBT in Britain report, April 2018).

When to use this
When recruiting or engaging with employees. The aim is to ensure members of the LGBTQ+ community feel free to be themselves and never feel excluded

 

Things you can do

  • Understand the ways in which people self-identify. Encourage people to share their preferred pronounces if they are happy to

  • Ensure company hiring policies explicitly mention LGBTQ+ people

  • Appear at LGBTQ+ recruitment events and advertise on specific job boards and websites

  • Engage with and educate non-LGBTQ+ staff members, to help spread the message that is it a diverse and supportive company

  • Encourage the creation of support groups and systems for the LGBTQ+ community

  • Offer a dialogue with Trans employees on gender specific needs, such as toilets

  • Introduce email footers for LGBTQ+ allies, so staff know they are safe to talk to

 

Watch outs

  • If an employee refers to their ‘partner’, don’t assume they are of the opposite sex

  • Don’t stereotype – don’t assume sexuality based on looks or mannerisms

  • Call out discrimination and speak up if you witness something

  • Bear in mind the impact of casual remarks as well as the intent

  • Be sexuality blind – don’t request this information on application forms

 

Longer term ideas

  • Add pride events to the calendar

  • Ensure workplace systems offer titles other than Mr or Mrs / Miss for staff for staff who identify as something different, or remove this completely

  • Design induction processes to include training on diversity and inclusion

  • Create a LGBTQ+ resource with content and articles for members of the community and allies

  • Evidence commitment to supporting the community. Determine a LGBTQ+ charity as a nominated charity for the year

Written by

IAB UK

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