In recent years, the importance of creating LGBTQ+ friendly organisations of all kinds has gained significant recognition and increased momentum – this extends to and well beyond just social enterprises. Organisations that actively embrace diversity and foster an inclusive environment not only attract and retain top talent but also contribute to a more equitable society – guided by the principles of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). They increasingly appeal to a broader and broader market place as well.
By taking steps to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer + individuals feel safe, valued, and supported, organisations can make a positive impact on both their employees and the broader community. In this blog post, we will explore some key strategies for creating LGBTQ+ friendly organisations.
The foundation of an LGBTQ+ friendly organisation lies in the development and implementation of inclusive policies. These policies should explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. They should also address issues such as dress code, pronoun usage, and restroom accessibility, ensuring that transgender and non-binary employees are respected and supported.
Organisations can run workshops, training sessions, and awareness campaigns to educate employees about LGBTQ+ issues and foster a culture of acceptance. This can help eliminate bias and stereotypes while creating empathy and understanding. Training programs can cover topics such as LGBTQ+ terminology, allyship, unconscious bias, and the challenges faced by the community as a whole.
Employee Resource Groups specifically dedicated to LGBTQ+ employees and their allies can serve as a vital support system. These groups provide a platform for networking, mentoring, and sharing experiences. ERGs also help in raising awareness and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights within the organisation and the wider community.
To create an LGBTQ+ friendly environment, organisations should review their benefits and health policies to ensure they are inclusive. This may include offering comprehensive healthcare coverage that includes gender-affirming procedures, mental health support, and family planning benefits that are inclusive of same-sex couples.
Another essential step towards LGBTQ+ inclusivity is the implementation of gender-neutral facilities. These facilities, including restrooms and changing areas, create a safe and comfortable environment for transgender and non-binary individuals. Clearly marking these spaces and educating employees about their purpose is crucial.
Creating a culture of respect and inclusion should be a top priority for all organisations. This can be achieved by promoting LGBTQ+ role models, celebrating Pride Month, and recognising significant LGBTQ+ milestones. Encouraging open communication, embracing diversity, and addressing any instances of discrimination swiftly and effectively are key aspects of fostering an inclusive workplace culture.
Embracing LGBTQ+ inclusion not only benefits individuals within the organisation but also contributes to a more equitable society at large and requires a deliberate and ongoing commitment to EDI principles. We all need to strive together to build a future where everyone can thrive, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Human Rights Campaign. (n.d.). Corporate Equality Index. Retrieved from https://www.hrc.org/
Society for Human Resource Management. (n.d.). LGBTQ+ Diversity and Inclusion. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/
Workplace Pride Foundation. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved from https://workplacepride.org/
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. (n.d.). About Us. Retrieved from https://outandequal.org/
Stonewall. (n.d.). Workplace. Retrieved from https://www.stonewall.org.uk/
McKinsey & Company. (n.d.). LGBTQ+ People in the Workplace: The Next Frontier of Inclusion. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/lgbtq-people-in-the-workplace-the-next-frontier-of-inclusion