Each year, pride month rolls around, rainbow flags are dusted off and businesses once again turn their logos into a rainbow edition. While visibility is important, there is more to being a meaningful ally than just waving a rainbow flag once a year. As a society, we have come a long way and the milestones achieved should be celebrated, but there is always more to learn and more to do. Everybody deserves to feel that their identity is valid, and that they are free to bring their whole self to work. Below are 3 meaningful actions that companies can put into practice to begin to create an inclusive culture year round.
3 Meaningful Actions Can Companies Take
1. Get The Basics Right
Firstly, make sure everyone understands what the relevant and key terms mean, such as non-binary, transgender, queer and so on. This might sound obvious but there are a lot of misconceptions that exist and it is important to ensure that the right language is being used.
Secondly, practice what you preach. If you are celebrating the rights of non-binary individuals then make sure that these people have access to all-gender bathrooms. Similarly, if you are advocating for the rights of trans people, then make sure this is reflective in your HR systems and allow changes to records and documents. Give employees the option to share their pronouns. Having senior members set the tone for this can help create a more inclusive culture.
Any company can wave as many rainbow flags as they want, but until you have taken the time to get the basics right, you can’t truly say that you are being inclusive.
2. Listen To Feedback
Company policies need to be inclusive of their LGBTQ+ employees and if they are not, you need to consult staff. This will then allow you to understand where they might have got something wrong and need to make improvements.
Having discussions and creating anonymous surveys are a great way to understand what your company is excelling at and where it needs to improve. Use data to create a detailed action plan on areas that need improvement, and a strategy to increase inclusiveness. Doing this anonymously has the benefit of giving everyone an equal voice without exposing them.
3. Create an LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group
An employee resource group helps to bring people together allowing them to have important conversations in a safe space. The critical nature of a safe space for LGBQT+ employees cannot be overstated. It provides employees with the chance to learn from and support each other.
4. Sort Your Policies Out
Companies such as Newcastle City Council have inclusivity at the forefront of everything they do and they have set an example by creating policies that outline support for employees undergoing gender reassignment and increasing accessibility to resources for aligning diversity and inclusion. They also have strict guidelines for addressing inappropriate behaviour. For employees, knowing that their rights and expectations are documented gives them confidence that they will be supported irrespective of who their manager is.
Building an inclusive culture is no small feat, but it should be a top priority for businesses, companies and brands to ensure that they are creating a psychologically safe workplace for LGBTQ+ individuals.