LGBTQ+ rights have made significant progress over the past 20 years and businesses have played an important role in making that happen. Several companies have displayed public support and consumer brands have willingly sponsored Pride events.
It is important for companies to create a more positive experience to engage workers and consumers, especially for individuals in the LGBTQ+ community. It is highly recommended for company managers, leads, and HR professionals to take specific steps to ensure a workplace that is safe and comfortable for LGBTQ+ employees. Here are a few basics:
Create structural support
This can include health care, allowing LGBTQ+ employees to use whichever bathrooms they are comfortable with or maybe provide them with their own, and considering every employee’s preferred gender and pronoun, and using those in company records and documents. Some companies even provide leave credits and therapy for those who are still in the transitioning phase.
Set the tone for acceptable behavior
Company leaders should make a policy with regards to how to behave among trans and gender-diverse coworkers. All employees should be invited to attend a training session where they are encouraged to learn to recognize and respond to demeaning or inappropriate behavior towards LGBTQ+ colleagues. And in response, there should be a safe channel to report such cases for appropriate investigation and disciplinary actions.
Broaden the pool of prospective employees
Provide equal opportunities to a broader pool of diverse talents. Adopt a blind resume screening wherein names, genders, and group affiliations are removed to avoid coming up with decisions that are influenced by unconscious bias.
Avoid job posts and descriptions that specify gender requirements. Train recruiters and hiring managers to focus on skills and experience. You will be surprised how much talent there is within the LGBTQ+ community.
Promote inclusivity in all work setups
Whether employees are working in the office or remotely, make sure to include everyone in meetings, events, and other company-wide activities. Everyone should be given equal rights to speak up and give suggestions. Also, give each employee a scheduled one-on-one meeting to catch up with tasks and performances, as well as to discuss any personal issues.
For remote workers, team meetings and scheduled direct meets with each employee can be done online via video conferencing. While this may seem more comfortable for employees who belong to the LGBTQ+ community, it is important to make them feel that they are part of the team and that they are valued by the company.
Opening your mind and allowing gender freedom in the workplace can be beneficial to a company. The community of prospective employees and consumers will value your business more and the chances of finding talented and well-skilled candidates are higher.
While there is still so much that can be done to relieve trans and gender-diverse employees of career barriers, there is every reason to be optimistic about what changes are coming. And you can help make a difference.