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Pride Month 2022

As we come towards the end of June, and the end of Pride Month 2022, lets take a look at how employers can be LQBTQ inclusive all year round. Pride month is dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating LGBTQ+ communities around the world.

To show solidarity and support for the LGBTQ+ community and their LGBTQ+ employees, many businesses will change their logos and branding to include the rainbow flag. This support, however, must extend beyond the month of June. Employers must encourage diversity and inclusion year-round, not just during Pride Month, and empower their LGBTQ+ staff.

While there has been progress over the years, the workplace is not always as diverse and inclusive as one might imagine. According to a report released last year by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), more than 40% of LGB employees face workplace conflict, compared to only 29% of heterosexual employees, with the figure jumping to 55% for transgender and non-binary employees.

This conflict manifests itself in the form of co-workers undermining, humiliating, or discriminating against individuals, and the research claims that these concerns are frequently left unsolved. More has to be done in the workplace to protect and support LGBTQ+ persons, particularly trans people, where there is a substantial gap in inclusion and knowledge of the problems associated with gender identity.

Understand where you already are with your diversity and inclusion

To better understand what you need to do to become a more diverse and inclusive workplace, you must first assess your present diversity and inclusion status. The easiest way to do this is to speak with your employees and learn about their perspectives on workplace diversity and inclusion.

This can be accomplished through an anonymous survey using online forms, which will encourage your employees to be more truthful in their responses. If you’re a small business, however, the poll may not be as anonymous as you’d like. Keep this in mind when you consider the questions you want and need to ask in order to get the most useful replies.

We also recommend allowing for written input rather than just checkbox responses. This allows your staff to go into further detail and submit responses in their own words rather than the standard “agree” or “disagree” responses. You might also discover something surprising in their comments.

Self-education

You can’t only rely on your LGBTQ+ employees to teach you how to be a diverse and inclusive workplace; you must also engage in your own education.

There are numerous free resources available from a number of organisations on how to be LGBTQ+ inclusive. Stonewall has information expressly for employers on how to establish inclusive workplaces, which we endorse.

There are also numerous documentaries, videos, podcasts, and social media campaigns that explore LGBTQ+ experiences in depth. Most are developed by LGBTQ+ people themselves, and they’re a terrific opportunity to hear about different LGBTQ+ people’s lived experiences. Although not all of them will be work-related, you, like any other employee, must be able to comprehend your LGBTQ+ colleague’s entire life experience rather than just what is pertinent to the job.

You may also use Pride Month to encourage your staff to educate themselves on the subject. Using preferred pronouns in email signatures and using language that doesn’t presuppose sexuality or gender could have a long-term impact on everyday language and behaviour, making LGBTQ+ employees feel included rather than excluded.

Providing staff policies and training

Make sure your diversity and inclusion policies include a clear purpose statement that emphasises your support for LGBTQ+ employees, as well as measurable outcomes that hold you accountable as an employer.

After discussing with your employees, you may find that you need to make some policy adjustments to reflect what they’ve said they need for a more diverse and inclusive workplace. You should make sure that any policy changes are communicated to all employees so that they are aware of what is expected of them and the consequences of not following the policies.

Provide diversity and inclusion in the workplace training to all of your staff. This can be done through e-learning, in-person training, or a combination of the two, and it can be done for all employees from underrepresented backgrounds, not only LGBTQ+ employees. This training can address, prevent, and educate employees about workplace microaggressions and demeaning behaviour, as well as encourage employees to report such behaviour when they observe it in order to support their LGBTQ+ co-workers.

Provide structural support for LGBTQ+ employees

Ensure that any employee support services or programmes you provide are also inclusive of LGBTQ+ people. Making your health coverage inclusive, for example, by allowing transferring staff to take time off.

All employees can be affected by mental health difficulties, but LGBTQ+ employees are disproportionately affected. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, LGB adults are approximately four times more likely than transgender persons to develop mental health problems. When developing an employee mental health and wellbeing programme, it’s critical to consider your LGBTQ+ staff.

Creating an LGBTQ+ staff network can also be advantageous because it provides a comfortable environment for your LGBTQ+ employees. The network can also plan activities for all employees, not just those in the community, where they can learn from and support one another.

Ensure your diversity is throughout the entire employee experience

While it’s critical to ensure that your current LGBTQ+ employees feel welcome in the workplace, you should also pay attention to diversity and inclusion during the recruiting and onboarding process.

According to Anglia Ruskin University, LGBTQ+ applicants are 5% less likely than heterosexual applicants with equal abilities and experience to be awarded a job interview, implying that certain organisations’ recruiting practises are still biassed.

Blind resume screening (removing names, gender signifiers, and other identifying information) can help minimise unconscious biases during the employment process, which benefits all applicants, not only LGBTQ+ people. You can ensure that unconscious bias is addressed, diversity is sought, and the progressive working culture you have strived for is preserved by delivering training on inclusive hiring practises to your recruitment staff.

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