ADVICE

Pride Month: How to champion an LGBTQ-inclusive workplace

SOURCE: JOAQUIN SARMIENTO / AFP
If your company has yet to implement truly inclusive measures, this Pride Month would be the perfect time to start.


By Shekinah 

Read all stories


The workplace has changed drastically in the last year thanks to the pandemic. Offices have downsized, millions are working from home, while technology has made some jobs redundant. Despite these developments, the importance of diversity and inclusion continues to gain traction — no time is this celebrated more than Pride Month. According to Guardian’s Workforce 2020 report, nearly 12 million Americans identify as LGBTQ. 

Pride Month takes place every June across the globe. It was made to commemorate a tipping point in queer history. The Stonewall Uprising, in particular, which lasted for six days in June 1969, as police officers clashed with LGBTQ protestors. 

If you’re managing a workplace that has yet to take the necessary measures to be truly inclusive, now would be a great time to start. 

YOU MIGHT LIKE

The benefits of having LGBT-friendly policies are well documented. According to reports, it’s not only great for a company’s bottom line, but it can also decrease employee turnover.

Companies like EdX, Starbucks, Apple, and Instagram are known for welcoming staff of different sexual orientations and gender identities. 

Tim Cook famously said, “At Apple we believe in equal treatment for everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love.”

If you’re eager to become a truly inclusive leader in honour of Pride Month, here are some tips to get you started: 

Implement and enforce the right policies

Championing an LGBTQ-inclusive workplace starts with having the right policies in place.

According to Catalyst, 91% of Fortune 500 companies now have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, and 83% include gender identity. 

Actions such as implementing diversity or pride days dedicated to celebrating employee differences, to updating medical plans and leave policies to include benefits for transitioning employees, can be a great way to support LGBTQ employees. 

While formulating policies is a great way to start, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re clear on what is and is not acceptable behaviour. This means ensuring staffers know that action will be taken against those who are in violation of your policies. All cases of discrimination or harrassment should never be taken lightly. 

Tweak your hiring strategy

Having LGBTQ- friendly policies in the workplace is great, but you’ll also want to ensure that job seekers are aware of these rights.

One way of doing this is by highlighting that all gender identities and sexual orientations are encouraged to apply in any job ads. This will send talented candidates a clear signal of inclusion in your workplace. 

Train, train, train

A 2018 survey found that around a quarter of American workers would be uncomfortable seeing an LGBT coworker’s wedding picture. The same report stated 55% of LGBT Americans experienced discrimination in 2017, up from 44% the year before.

It’s clear that many companies still have a long way to go when it comes to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Diversity training, however, can offer some respite in helping companies create an LGBTQ-inclusive workplace.

Diversity training can help employees understand what diversity and inclusive thinking means in the workplace, be it in their daily interactions with co-workers to clients. This can help reduce discrimination in the workplace.

YOU MIGHT LIKE

Invest in an expert

Another way of creating an LBGTQ-friendly workplace involves hiring a consultant who specialises in diversity and inclusivity.

Consultants with the right expertise can help analyse a company’s problems regarding racial equity, and create strategies and solutions to eliminate racism in the workplace.

Celebrate!

Recruiting platform RippleMatch sums it up perfectly when they said: “Supporting LGBTQ employees can look different from company to company, but the main goal is making sure employees are uplifted and treated like a valued part of the office community regardless of how they identify.”

Similarly, another way of supporting LBGTQ employees include LBGTQ events or celebrations.

The World Economic Forum notes: “The numbers are clear: there is an economic case for LGBT inclusion, and it’s strong. Companies with strong LGBT policies tend to innovate the most, to have loyal employees, and to experience significantly less cases of discrimination lawsuits. In addition to that, they are also positively perceived by their customers. It’s a win-win.”

Ultimately, championing an inclusive culture allows people to produce their best work within an environment that makes them feel safe and supported.