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8 Tips To Create a LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Workplace

18th Jun 2023

As part of Pride Month we are taking a look at how your business can look to improve DEI policies to promote diversity in the workplace, for the LGBTQIA+ community.

What is LGBTQIA+?

LGBTQIA+  is an inclusive term for members of the queer and trans community, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, asexual, and more. LGBTQIA+ gives space to accommodate the spectrum of gender and sexual identities. 

We have compiled 8 top tips on how your business can create an LGBTQIA+ inclusive workplace.

1) Review your policies

To create a safe and empowering work environment for LGBTQIA+ folk, it's crucial to review existing policies and ensure they're inclusive. For example, policies around parental and adoption leave do not often address the unique needs of LGBTQIA+ families. Make sure your policies explicitly address LGBTQIA+ employees and their needs, and you can even make specific policies that support and foster LGBTQIA+ inclusion, such as around transitioning at work.

2) Get senior management on board

When senior leaders across your organisation champion LGBTQIA+ inclusion, it sends a positive wider message about inclusion and acceptance of all employees, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Leading by example is crucial!

3) Clarify pronouns

Using pronouns in email signatures, in staff bios, on name tags at company events and functions, in meetings and on social media profiles (for instance, Slack or Zoom) helps challenge our culture of assuming a person's gender identity. When more of us share our pronouns (especially as allies), it helps create an environment where more LGBTQIA+ people can feel comfortable and safe to share theirs. It also signals to queer and trans employees that their gender identity and pronouns will be respected.

4) Incorporate inclusive language

Using gender-neutral language, such as parental leave instead of maternity leave can help LGBTQIA+ employees feel included and valued, and can be a vital step to foster inclusion and belonging at work.

5) Create a LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group (ERG)

Building a network and safe space for LGBTQIA+ employees can be a powerful way to support marginalised staff and foster belonging and inclusion.

Having allies in this network can be crucial for awareness-building and solidarity in the workplace for LGBTQIA+ employees. It's also an opportunity to hear directly from LGBTQIA+ staff about their needs and experiences and implement these in the push for structural change. Ensure that action is taken from these ERGs as many companies fall into the trap of having ERGs with no decision making power.

6) Ensure you have gender-neutral toilets

Having access to gender-neutral bathrooms and separate male and female toilets can be especially beneficial and more inclusive for trans and non-binary employees who don't identify with traditional gender binaries and norms.

7) Celebrate your wins

If you're committed to doing the work, then you should celebrate! Events like Pride Month can serve as moments to celebrate your LGBTQIA+ employees, but also serve as opportunities to spread awareness and educate employees about how you can continually improve.

8) Fight workplace discrimination

Even with increasing acceptance of LGTBQIA+ people in the UK, many queer and trans people still experiencing bullying and discrimination in the workplace. It is essential to promote a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination, to have policies and procedures for employees to report bullying or harassment, and to promote LGBTQIA+ inclusion throughout the workplace.  
Taking these key steps are crucial to creating a workplace where LGBTQIA+ employees can feel safe, valued and can thrive.