Pride Month is an important time to take stock of how you approach LGBTQ+ issues in your workplace. With everything else happening in the world – a global health crisis, a huge economic crash, protests over race issues – it may be easy to let the issue slip, but in truth it’s now more important than ever. Employees need support in these difficult times, and those companies which give it will undoubtedly earn loyalty and high rates of staff retention.
Of course, supporting staff who identify as LGBTQ+ is also simply the right thing to do. Issues around sexual orientation and gender identity are increasingly out in the open – rightfully so – and although attitudes are changing, a lot of bias and discrimination still exists. So it’s up to employers to get it right.
And “getting it right” will mean that your LGBTQ+ staff will feel happier in the workplace, which countless studies have shown means they will be more productive and less likely to leave the company. The way you approach this issue, then, is a crucial part of your talent recruitment and retention strategy.
Supporting your LGBTQ+ Staff
Without further ado, here are seven steps you can take to make your company a good place for LGBTQ+ staff to work.
Many of the companies that are best at tackling this issue have formalised policies and mission statements laying out their commitment to LGBT equality. Say in these policies exactly the approach you want to take, and then make sure it has visibility in the workplace – everyone needs to know what’s in the policy.
It’s an unfortunate fact that a wide range of societal factors means that a lot of people – even many with the best intentions – say and do things that are discriminatory towards LGBTQ+ staff, or at the very least make them uncomfortable in the workplace. Help to tackle that phenomenon by organising diversity and equality training.
Get recruitment right
The language you use in job adverts is very important. It may be subtle things like the type of attributes you want a person to have. A sales role requires someone who is dynamic, assertive and go-getting – but some of the terms often used to try and find those people are associated with traditional gender stereotypes and heteronormativity. Tools like Textio can be used to ensure your ads send the right message – it is also worth explicitly laying out your commitment to equality and diversity in the ad.
Partnering with LGBTQ+ organisations or recruitment firms with a commitment to LGBTQ+ issues can help you change the demographics you reach, and help you improve things in your workplace. These organisations are experts at identifying and removing bias in work and recruitment processes, and will be invaluable to your efforts.
Get executive buy-in
Like so many other things in the workplace, efforts to improve inclusion and remove bias for LGBTQ+ staff is less likely to succeed without buy-in from senior team members. It can be particularly handy to have an executive ‘champion’ who can communicate ideas for schemes and improvements directly from staff – or perhaps through an LGBTQ+ staff committee – to the board.
Make sure your employee benefits apply equally to LGBTQ+ staff. Benefits packages and non-discrimination clauses are very important to employees, but can exclude LGBTQ+ families and transgender individuals if they’re not appropriately worded. Things like parental leave, adoption leave, time off to care for dependents and health and life insurance must apply equally to all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation. Use gender-neutral terms and be aware of the language you use when creating these benefits.
The most important thing is that you act and adapt to what your LGBTQ+ staff tell you. They will be acutely aware of where your organisation isn’t quite getting things right and they will be able to help you get it right. So listen, adapt and act.
Research by major Swiss bank Credit Suisse has found that companies which embrace LGBTQ+ policies do better than their competitors – and it goes without saying that a happy and respected workforce will be beneficial for your company. So during Pride Month, take the time to look at what you’re doing to help LGBTQ+ staff, and up your game if you need to.
RedCat Digital offers consultancy on diversity and inclusion in recruitment and retention, and has experts on hand to help guide you through the process. Get in touch now.