With Pride celebrations starting this week all around the world, it’s important to start thinking about the true meaning of Pride and how to embrace this within your business. Building a LGBTQ+ friendly workplace can have many benefits for your business. Not only can it help LGBTQ+ employees feel included, but it can also reduce stress, increase job satisfaction and improve mental health.
Nurturing and promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace is so important for business owners today. Through the month we will see the world come together to support Pride and that’s exactly what we should be doing in the workplace to build positive relationships and business environments.
There are a variety of ways you can introduce diversity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace which in turn will have a profound impact on your business. Below, you’ll find out more about the importance of an inclusive workplace, including our top actions for you to start implementing within your business.
So first, let’s talk about what diversity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace means?
An inclusive workplace means that all employees feel included within the business and can come to work each day not having to worry about feeling welcome. By adapting your business to become an inclusive workplace, each employee will receive equal opportunities, be treated fairly, and be fully respected within the business. Developing an inclusive workplace means that your business employs a diverse range of employees, who should not only be respected, but be celebrated for their individual qualities that they bring to the workplace. It’s your duty as an employer to ensure that all LGBTQ+ employees within the business feel completely welcome, are encouraged to express their personalities, and overall feel comfortable coming to work each day.
Why is an inclusive workplace important?
Embracing an inclusive and diverse workplace is so important to build a positive atmosphere where your employees can bring their own selves to work each day. This will not only build an inclusive environment, but it will also improve employee performance because everyone will feel contented working with each other, sharing opinions and giving their input. Harnessing this environment will encourage innovation, productivity, and confidence among LGBTQ+ employees, so that everyone feels heard and included no matter of their gender, sexuality, or appearance.
How can your business take action?
As an employer, you may already have some steps in place, or you may need to start from scratch. Regardless of where your business is with being inclusive, most importantly you’re willing to start making changes and adapting your business to work towards building inclusive workplace environment.
We have pulled together a few actions to kickstart LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace:
Update Company Policy and Employee Contracts
Both your Company Policy and Employee Contracts should be updated to state that all colleagues should treat LGBTQ+ the same as anyone else, with respect, understanding and dignity and to refer to the policies the business has in place to support this.
Update Job Applications
Ensure that job applications include the choice to include pronouns so that the employee can state how they wish to be referred to. You should also revisit the titles listed on your job applications to see if these are inclusive and include titles such as Mx for those who identify as non-binary.
Introduce Zero Tolerance and LQBTQ+ Inclusion Policies
Look at introducing and creating new policies such as Zero Tolerance and LGBTQ+ Inclusion policies to outline exactly what diversity means within your business and how you expect your employees to act when working for you. Our HR Consultants can assist you with writing policies if you need the support.
Reference Policies in Employee Handbooks
Revisit your Employee Handbook and add in references to all the policies that you implement, such as the ones mentioned above. By doing this you can ensure the policies are known to all employees within the business from the day they start and throughout their employment.
Refer to Employees by their Preferred Pronouns
Check during the job application what employees preferred pronouns are and ensure these are used as stated by the employee. You may wish to encourage employees to also add these to their email signatures if they wish so that colleagues are aware of each other’s pronouns.
Internal Communications to Employees
Regular communications to employees pointing them in the direction of useful articles, training, internal LGBTQ+ groups and the relevant policies is a great way to keep employees up to date with what the business is doing to encourage diversity and inclusion.
Equality and Diversity Training for Managers and Employees
It’s so important for all employees, especially managers to have Equality and Diversity Training to understand how they may need to adapt their management style to support LGBTQ+ employees and what they can do in their day-to-day management to ensure that employees feel supported. We offer Equality and Diversity training, get in touch below to find out more.
Communicate with LGBTQ+ Employees
If LGTBQ+ employees feel comfortable, it can be useful for managers to have a meeting with employees to discuss any concerns or thoughts about how the business can support them. This could be toilet use, meetings, pronoun use and more. It’s a chance for LGBTQ+ employees to express how they may be feeling and if there is anything the business can do to ensure they always feel included.