9 Ways to Support LGBTQ+ Employees at Work

In this article, we will be sharing our top 9 tips for supporting LGBTQ+ employees at work and creating an inclusive workplace environment.

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We should all feel accepted, supported and safe at work. If you value your employee's happiness, then this needs to be a priority for your organisation. Unfortunately, whilst there has been progress over the recent years, there are still challenges being faced by LGBTQ+ employees across the globe, with shocking statistics revealing that:

46% of LGBTQ+ workers at one point in their professional lives have encountered unjust treatment in the workplace.
36% of LGBTQ+ employees have experienced harassment or discrimination.
10% of LGBTQ+ individuals have left a job due to their workplace not accepting them.

These statistics show that organisations need to be doing more to support their LGBTQ+ employees. In this article, we will be sharing our top 9 tips for supporting LGBTQ+ employees at work and creating an inclusive workplace environment.

1. Educate Yourself

When it comes to supporting LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace, the first step is educating yourself, before educating other employees. So, take the time to research things such as LGBTQ+ terminology, attend events and research the issues faced by these employees. By taking the time to educate yourself, you have a better understanding of the experiences and challenges faced by these individuals, allowing you to put a more effective plan in place to help better support your LGBTQ+ employees and make the workplace more inclusive.

2. Address Discrimination Seriously

If you want to make your employees feel respected and valued in the workplace, then you must take LGBTQ+ discrimination seriously. As an organisation, you need to show your employees that any discrimination will come with consequences. You need to establish a strong discrimination policy and take reports of harassment or bullying seriously if you want employees to not only respect you but feel safe in the workplace. You also need to build a culture where your employees feel they can report incidents, without fear of consequences and when problems arrive, you need to promptly take action to ensure the safety of all individuals.

3. Use Inclusive Language

Language matters, and when you use inclusive language, you’re making all employees feel included and protected in the workplace. To show support and create a supportive culture, you and all employees within an organisation need to make sure that the language used is inclusive for everyone. The wrong words can leave your employees not only feeling hurt but stigmatised, so you need to ensure that no potentially offensive words are being used by any employee. Make sure to have the right resources in place to help your teams use acceptable language. An example of inclusive language in the workplace is including things such as pronouns in bios and name tags.

4. Create LGBTQ+ Resource Groups

As an organisation, you need to be establishing or supporting LGBTQ+ resource groups. Not only do these programmes enable employees to connect and share their experiences, but they offer a more effective level of support. When your employees can connect in a safe space, they can more freely express their concerns and relate to each other's experiences. By having employee networking groups and conferences you’re making the workplace more inclusive for LGBTQ+ individuals. These groups need to have support from top-level leadership and you need to allow these resource groups to have a voice in the overall organisation's decision-making processes.

5. Celebrate LGBTQ+ History and Events

Making your employees feel supported, goes further than advocating for LGBTQ+ individuals in the workplace but also showing your support for the entire community. Celebrating and recognising things such as Pride Month, local LGBTQ+ events and Transgender Day of Visibility, further shows your commitment. Providing information to employees, sponsoring a pride party and encouraging employee volunteering at these events are just a few ways you can display your dedication to diversity and inclusion, which will make your LGBTQ+ employees feel valued and seen. When you involve LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ employees in these celebrations, you're on the right track to building an inclusive culture.

6. Provide Training and Resources

As mentioned, educating yourself on the issues and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community is essential, but it’s also equally important that your employees are provided with effective training and resources. Training employees on things such as recognising discrimination, using inclusive language and the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ employees, will ensure that they have a better understanding. You can also provide things such as literature, articles and websites to further educate employees.

7. Mentoring Programmes

A massive 82% of people surveyed said that they felt mentoring was extremely valuable to tackling diversity and inclusion challenges head-on. Mentoring can play a crucial role in supporting LGBTQ+ employees for several reasons, from having a safe space where they can share their concerns and experiences to gaining better career support. To learn more about how mentoring can be used to support your LGBTQ+ employees, click here.

8. Inclusive Hiring Practices

Inclusion starts from the very first time an individual makes contact with your organisation, not just when they join. When you build an inclusive culture, it’s essential to consider what your organisation displays to the public. If you want LGBTQ+ employees to feel seen and supported within your organisation, then you need to review your recruitment and hiring practices, making sure that they are inclusive and unbiased. A few ways you can do this is by seeking out candidates from LGBQT+ communities, training the recruitment team on inclusive language, and asking candidates for feedback.

9. Get Leadership Support

Finally, you need to gain support from leaders and executives within the organisation. Leaders who actively demonstrate their commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion within the workplace set a positive tone. Employees look up to leadership and if they see they are uninterested in supporting LGBTQ+ employees, they won’t be motivated to do so themselves. As leaders are the primary drivers for change, they must be involved in creating a culture where all employees are welcomed.

Final Thoughts

Supporting your LGBTQ+ employees isn’t something you can do once and expect to see results, it’s an ongoing process that will take time. Having a diverse and inclusive workforce is all about creating a supportive environment for all employees, making all of them feel seen and taking everyone's experiences into account during the decision-making process. If you want to learn more about how mentoring can be used to further support diversity and inclusion within your organisation, then book a free demonstration with PushFar today.

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