How to Ensure Workplace Inclusion for LGBTQ Employees

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are some of the top priorities in the workplace for 2021. It is so important to create safe and inclusive workplaces for your employees, including your lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) employees. Investing in DEI has been shown to increase productivity, employee satisfaction and retention. When employees can bring their authentic selves to work, more time and energy is spent focusing on their jobs and creating healthy relationships with coworkers. (Gay Alliance)

According to SHRM, here are effective practices to help employers build a culture of inclusion in the workplace:

1. Update policies⁠ and abide by all workplace inclusion laws⁠

Workplace inclusion for LGBTQ+ individuals is not just the right thing to do — it’s the law. Be sure to update your policies that align with state and federal laws for your organization. Employers should ensure that their organization’s non-discrimination policy includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Display policies prominently and proudly in high use areas.

Source: 9Dot Education Solutions places their diversity policy on their office’s front door. Many of these posters are spread throughout the building to show support to their employees.

Non-discrimination policies also include updating your restroom policy. An employee should be permitted to use the restroom consistent with the individual’s gender identity. Employers are encouraged to take action and educate leadership, mid-managers (especially people managers) on unconscious bias and the importance of fair and consistent treatment, as well as stay tuned in with the growing changes in the DEI community and how they may relate to their business.

2. Set expectations⁠ & Communicate with Your Employees

Although written and internal policies are important, it is not enough. A company’s culture may inhibit employees from bringing their whole selves to work. According to Alison Grenier

Head of Culture and Research, Great Place to Work Canada, “Diversity in itself does not create inclusion — an inclusive environment must be intentionally designed, nurtured and supported.” This means setting clear expectations with your employees by reflecting them in your policies, your events, and company meetings.

3. Use preferred pronouns⁠

It is important to reflect your awareness and understanding in your company’s communication policies. A practical way is to include your own pronouns in your email signature, Zoom profile, and other forms of communication.

In addition, be mindful of gendered language. Rather than using “he” or “he/she”, it is acceptable to use “they” as a singular gender-neutral pronoun. Instead of saying “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen”, you can address everyone with “good morning all” or “folks”, etc.

This shift in language also ensures that people who don’t identify as either a man or a woman still feel that they are represented in these policies.

4. Identify internal allies and ambassadors⁠

According to SHRM, “Celebrating individuals who are actively supportive and accepting of their LGBTQ co-workers, referred to as allies, also demonstrates an employer’s commitment to inclusion.” Having positive experiences from your LGBTQ+ employees can help with recruitment and retention efforts. Be sure to highlight stories and voices from your employees internally and externally.

5. Provide trainings⁠

DEI training should be included for both new-hires and current employees. Training can be incredibly helpful to curate a culture of understanding and awareness. Examples of topics to cover include:

  • LGBTQ terminology.
  • Gender-neutral language.
  • Examples of inclusive conduct.
  • Understanding and addressing implicit bias.
  • Reporting harassment, discrimination or bullying.
  • How to be an ally.

According to Pride at Work, “training should be reinforced with appropriate behaviors modeled at all levels of the organization (especially the leadership level) to ensure your initiatives are embedded in the day-to-day functioning of the organization.”

6. Recruit purposefully⁠

27% of transgender workers reported being fired, not hired, or denied promotion in 2016–2017 (LGBT Map) The fact that many LGBTQ+ people are underemployed or overlooked suggests that typical recruiting and hiring practices need improvement. According to Pride at Work, employers should “consider where your job postings are advertised and how they are written. Do they use gendered language? Are they reaching a diverse range of communities and people? Consider posting to job boards and relevant publications that are geared towards LGBT communities”.⁠

Update your recruitment and hiring training to ensure that your staff are informed on the unconscious bias that may play out in the hiring process. Have a diversity statement or initiatives in your recruitment policies and communicate with your DEI committee or allies to support these initiatives.

At 9Dot Education Solutions, we are so proud to include these practices with the guidance of our DEI Committee and ensure that our staff are included, seen, and heard. ⁠As a top rated HR solutions provider, we work with a diverse and talented team of individuals to bring quality services to our clients. This includes recruiting highly qualified teachers to schools, coordinating trainings for clients, assisting with HR benefits and policies, and much more. Looking for help with your Human Resources needs? Schedule a free consultation with us. We’re here to help bring people their dream jobs and support amazing missions around the country.

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