June 9 2022

LGBTQ+ inclusion at work

Gen z is one of the most diverse generations ever. They’re also the workforce of the future. If business is to remain competitive and attract future talent, then robust inclusion strategies are essential. Read on to find out why LGBTQ+ inclusion at work matters and how to make your workplace more LGBTQ+ inclusive.  

Five reasons why an LGBTQ+ friendly workplace makes ethical and business sense

The past few years have put a spotlight on social justice, equality, and diversity around the world. Our working lives have changed to reflect this. Now there’s even greater focus on wellbeing and inclusion and making this a priority for employees and employers.

The ethical case for diversity, and being an ally to vulnerable groups and communities, is clear. But inclusive policies are good for business as well. 

Not convinced? This study from the US, ‘LGBT Diversity, Show Me The Business Case‘ could change your mind. 

But you don’t have to read the whole report. Instead, we’ve summarised the business case for LGBTQ+ inclusion at work in five simple points below:

1. Become more attractive to top talent

When considering employment opportunities, 67% of millennial and gen Z employees value diversity and inclusion. This means that fostering an inclusive workplace (including for neurodiverse people) is essential for organisations that want to attract the next generation of talented professionals.

2. Get access to a wider talent pool

In an inclusive workplace, HR can focus on finding the candidate with the correct skill set as opposed to whether they will fit in with the rest of the team. 

A diverse workforce not only brings different experiences to the table but is also an asset when dealing with a wider customer base.

3. Improve business performance with better decision making

A recent study found that diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time. This in turn positively impacts productivity. Another report found that decision making effectiveness was 95% correlated with financial performance. So your organisation’s bottom line could benefit too. 

4. Happier employees are more productive

More than a third of LGBT staff (35%) have hidden that their identity at work for fear of discrimination. Building an inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ and improving DEI at work has a positive effect all round. It fosters an environment of belonging, compassion and inclusivity that benefits everyone.

5. Gain a competitive edge

Research has found that inclusive companies are 60% more likely to outperform their peers. In addition, a study in the US found that the economy could save $9 billion annually with more robust inclusion strategies.

Five practical ways to make your workplace more LGBTQ+ friendly

In the UK, more people than ever before are identifying as LGBTQ+. However, a shocking 43% of trans people admit to leaving a job because of an unwelcome environment. 

Follow our actionable tips below to build a more inclusive workplace for our LGBTQ+ employees and colleagues.

1. Review your DEI policies

Review these policies and make sure that LGBTQ+ inclusion at work is a core component. Even better, consider creating a separate policy on LGBTQ+ inclusion. This makes your commitment to target discrimination in this area even clearer.

2. Consider offering LGBTQ+ training to employees

Discussing LGBTQ+ matters in a sensitive and respectful way is essential. Knowing the correct terminology is vital so check out Stonewall for resources like a useful glossary of terms. The UK charity also offers training resources and helps organisations take positive steps forward.

Training ensures that your DEI policies are heard and understood across the organisation. Make sure everyone is on board. One way to do this is to put forward the business case, as well as the moral case, for inclusion policies. 

3. Make your allyship visible

According to a TotalJobs survey, two thirds (65%) of people said they had to hide their trans status at work. 

To create a more welcoming and inclusive culture, companies like YouGov and Accenture have made their allyship publicly visible. Accenture provides employees with rainbow-coloured security lanyards, and both companies offer desk stickers and openly support LGBTQ+ rights on their websites.

4. Be inclusive with your language

It’s not just policies that need to be written carefully. The language used in recruitment adverts and benefits publicity should also be considered. Here are a few ways you can make your language more inclusive: 

  • Use gender-neutral language (for example use partner instead of husband or wife).
  • Add pronouns to your email signatures (she/her for example).

5. Create a network support group at work

Another tip for LGBTQ+ inclusion at work is to set up a network, forum or group. Stonewall suggests a dedicated network can make a big difference to the lives of LGBTQ+ employees. It can have many benefits including:

  • Offering a safe space where members can feel supported and heard. 
  • Support for employees including specific support when coming out at work. 
  • Helping to raise awareness of the cisgender and heterosexual communities.

6. Make your rewards and benefits packages LGBTQ+ inclusive 

Benefits such as adoption leave and same sex partner health care are especially important to LGBTQIA+ employees. Ensure that their needs are met in the same way as your other employees. 

Foster an LGBTQ+ friendly workplace by celebrating together

One way of building an inclusive workplace is by celebrating LBGTQ+ history and events. Why not host a LGBTQ+ focused event with speakers and training opportunities? 

By opening up the conversation about LGBTQ+ matters, you’ll be signalling that your organisation is inclusive and help bring greater awareness to your wider employees. 

Focus on LGBTQ+ inclusion at work every day of the year

June is pride month but remember that the challenges faced by the LBGTQ+ community happen every day of the year. It should be a top business priority to build safe, inclusive workspaces for all, where every employee can thrive and bring their best, productive self to the work.

Creating an LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace is a process

As with everything, there is a learning curve. That’s why education and asking questions is important. There are many great organisations such as Stonewall that organisations can partner with to become a more inclusive workplace. 

Yes, you’ll hit roadblocks and will probably need to tweak your approach. But getting started is vital if we’re to make significant progress in protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ people. 

Key takeaways:

  • Workplaces are becoming more diverse so in response HR teams must increase efforts to be more inclusive. 
  • Employees of the future care about inclusion and diversity – so make your efforts count!
  • The benefits of inclusivity go beyond the LGBTQ+ community and create a more inclusive environment for all employees.
  • Inclusivity is ethical AND good for business.