Creating an LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace makes sure all employees feel safe, respected, and valid. Businesses that promote LGBTQ+ inclusion report higher levels of employee satisfaction and lower turnover rates. So how can you create an LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace? Keep reading for our 7 essential tips!

1. Review policies for LGBTQ+ inclusion

It’s crucial to have LGBTQ+ policies in place which are actively used. A recent report links LGBTQ+ inclusive policies to more open corporate structures. All employees should be treated fairly and given equal opportunities regardless of their sexuality or gender and having a strong policy in place ensures diverse employee representation is in place which in turn maximises the leverage of talent and business growth.

2. Provide LGBTQ+ training

Providing LGBTQ+ training to employees is a powerful strategy to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Training ensures that employees understand the LGBTQ+ policies in place, and promotes a zero-tolerance environment, reducing the likelihood of discrimination or harassment. You can also ask LGBTQ+ employees how you can best support them through training, so their personal needs are heard. For more employee wellbeing training courses click here

3. Have unisex toilets

If possible, create a gender-neutral bathroom. This is more inclusive of non-binary people who identify as neither male or female and reduces the discomfort some transgender individuals feel when it comes to using public bathrooms.

4. Make allyship visible

Unlike some other minority groups, it’s not as easy to know if someone is part of the LGBTQ+ community. Therefore, it can be harder for individuals to share their identity or preferred pronouns with managers and colleagues for fear of judgement. By showing allyship in the workplace you’re showing employees that you’re proud to accept and support LGBTQ+ employees. Emailing out LGBTQ+ resources, putting up posters in the workplace, handing out stickers for desks are all ways to show allyship and make LGBTQ+ employees feel included.

5. Normalise pronoun sharing

Encourage employees to share their pronouns in their social media bios, when signing off at the end of an email or in their name badge at work to normalise not assuming someone’s gender. As this becomes increasingly prevalent among businesses, stating whether you go by ‘he/him’, ‘she/her’, ‘they/them’ or a mix such as ‘he/they’ at the start of a meeting, helps non-binary and transgender employees feel included and gives them the confidence to voice theirs.

6. Celebrate LGBTQ+ history and events

While LGBTQ+ inclusivity has improved, it’s important to recognise and appreciate the milestones that have allowed us to reach this point. By including Trans Visibility Day and LGBT equality day in calendar celebrations, you’re showing your support for LGBTQ+ individuals and, helping them feel welcomed in the workplace. This also provides a great opportunity to educate yourself and your staff on LGBTQ+ history and how to best support the community.

7. Use inclusive language

Avoid making assumptions about an employee’s gender or sexual orientation by using inclusive language. While it’s best to always ask an employee what their preferred pronouns are, in instances when you are unsure, using ‘they/them’ when referring to someone is a safe bet. If you’re talking to an employee about their significant other, using the terms ‘spouse’ or ‘partner’ instead of ‘husband’ or ‘girlfriend’ is also more inclusive. Make sure to encourage the avoidance of microaggressions. This involves refraining from using LGBTQ+ language such as ‘gay’ as an insult or expressing beliefs that are offensive to the LGBTQ+ community such as stating that sexual orientation is a choice.

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