If you have been following the LGBTQ community’s victories, you probably heard of the recent ruling that protects LGBTQ workers from discrimination in the workplace. After the supreme court passed this ruling, we would expect that LGBTQ workers would be safe in their respective work environments, but there is still a lot of work to be done in building a workplace where LGBT members feel secure.
Some studies show that more than 35% of LGBT workers fear discrimination should they come out to their work colleagues. This doesn’t seem right, and if your company is interested in building an inclusive work environment for your staff, Rakuna has some tactics that could help you. But first, you need to understand the challenges most LGBTQ members face and why it is vital to embrace a friendly LGBT work environment.
Challenges of LGBT in Workplaces
With almost 46% of LGBTQ employees in the USA alone not coming out at work, you might be asking why LGBTQ employees hide their identities. Here are some reasons:
They fear sexual discrimination: A large population of people still see LGBTQ relationships as something immoral. So it’s not surprising that up to 35% of LGBT employees fear sexual discrimination when they come out. LGBT staff fear workplace harassment: 18% of LGBT employees have been the victims of bullying because of their sexual orientation. Loss of job opportunity anxiety: Even before they get a job, their sexuality could work against them. Some studies have shown that at least 20% of LGBT job seekers feel like they experienced some form of lost job opportunity due to their sexual orientation. Transgender staff abuse: As much as 90% of transgender staff have experienced mistreatment in their workplace after their outing.
These are just a few challenges stopping LGBT workers from coming out in their workplaces.
Why is It Essential to Embrace a LGBTQ-Friendly Workplace?
Now, if reading about some of the challenges LGBT staff face isn’t enough reason to adopt a friendly LGBTQ workplace, here are some more reasons to convince you:
- Improve employees' safety: An LGBTQ-friendly workplace will result in less discrimination of LGBT members in your workplace. This, in turn, will help increase the openness of LGBTQ members because they feel safe and secure.
- Improve your employees's health: A survey carried out by business Impact showed that when LGBT employees spend time and effort hiding their identities in the workplace, they could experience higher stress and anxiety levels. This could then result in health and work-related problems. But, if your company embraces inclusion, LGBT workers will feel less stressed, resulting in improved health, better employer-employee relationships, significantly increased work commitment, and even job satisfaction,
- Prevent legal actions: Another essential reason your company should adopt an LGBTQ-friendly workplace is that this practice will help your organization avoid lawsuits due to discrimination.
- Improve the company's public image: Embracing inclusivity in your workplace will create a positive public image for your company. From this action, your company could get more clients interested in doing business with your company.
- Low turnover: Another very fundamental reason why your company should adopt an LGBTQ-friendly workplace is that LGBTQ staff who can be themselves in their work environment will be more likely to remain in their current jobs. This will save the company money in talent recruitment, training, etc.
Top 3 Tactics to Effectively Build an LGBTQ-Friendly Workplace
Now that you have more insights into the challenges LGBT employees sometimes face, let’s look at the three tactics you can use to build an inclusive working environment effectively.
Improve Your Hiring Process
Sometimes we are oblivious to the hiring practices we have that prevent minority groups from joining our company. Your company might not be actively discriminating against the LGBTQ community, but there is such a thing as unconscious bias in a recruitment process that most minority groups face.
Here are some tips for creating a more inclusive hiring process:
- Try setting up LGBT-friendly policies and a baseline for LGBTQ+ recruitment. For example, your company setting up a non-discrimination policy which includes sexual orientation will tell every employee where you stand on such matters. It will also protect members of the LGBTQ+ community. An extra but much-needed step is to set up a baseline with set repercussions should employees not adhere to the aforementioned policies set up.
- Once you create your hiring ad, use various writing tools like Textio, ProWritingAid or Grammarly to ensure you aren't sending out the wrong message.
- Ensure that for every job ad you publish, you explicitly state that your company is an equal opportunity company with a commitment to diversity hiring.
- Highlight your company's values to promote inclusivity, and if you provide any benefits that show your commitment to your value, reference them.
- Also, publish your job ad on LGBT focused job boards. Solutions like using Rakuna software - a recruiting operation & marketing platform , provides a great source for diversity recruitment for companies to take advantage of.
- During the actual recruitment process, ensure that you create a transparent selection process free from personal bias.
Sensitize Your Employees
Changing your hiring process to include minority groups like the LGBT community is a great step in the right direction. But what happens when LGBTQ + recruitment is complete? Do LGBT employees come into a work environment where their colleagues are sensitized on issues about them?
Train your employees on how to treat their colleagues with respect.
Some tips on sensitizing your staff:
- Hire professionals to come in and train your staff.
- Ensure the training on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Training should also focus on LGBTQ rights, the values and responsibilities of your company as they pertain to these rights, and the responsibility of every staff member to uphold them.
Note that if your staff are extremely desensitized, it might take frequent sessions for them to comprehend the training fully. Take time, and be patient with them.
Encourage Internal LGBT Networking
Lastly, within your organization, you can encourage LGBT staff to form internal networks that can help them attain mentors and build solid friendships across the various sectors of the organization. There are many big companies like Microsoft, Google, Uber, IBM, etc. who support equal rights for LGBTQ in their own way. Simmons & Simmons LLP, for example, set up an LGBTQ network in 2006. The network encompasses all its partners and employees.
With a singular aim of providing support to members of the LGBTQ community, their employees are quoted as loving the company’s supportive and friendly environment.
You can study what other big companies are currently doing to create an inclusive environment for the LGBT community and craft something for your company.
After reading this article, we believe you would see why the fight for equality in the workplace is significant. Ensuring there is inclusivity in your company is not a one-day thing. Baby steps make big changes! Let’s get start now!
This article was written by Ana Mayer, a project manager with 3+ years of experience. While projects can do without her participation (which means almost never), she likes to read and create expert academic materials for the Online Writers Rating, Best Writers Online review website. Such work gives her the opportunity to write articles on the most relevant topics of today.