Employers have a duty to provide a safe environment for their workforce, but their obligations don’t end there. Businesses must also ensure that their staff aren’t discriminated against or bullied, for example. As well as having appropriate processes in place to deal with staff concerns, employers can go a step further to foster an inclusive and fair environment. To get started, take a look at these five tips for better LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace:
1. Revise Existing Policies
Most workplaces have a raft of policies, such as absence procedures, pension agreements, contracts and/or health insurance agreements. If you want to improve LGBT inclusion in your workplace, take another look at existing policies and ensure that they refer to LGBT people where appropriate. Policies should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they remain accurate and legally compliant, so this could be a great time to incorporate an inclusion check too.
2. Determine What ‘Inclusion’ Looks Like
The term Inclusion can mean different things to different people, so think about what it’s going to mean for your organisation. You may want to involve staff in this process as they can provide helpful ideas about what they consider to be an inclusive environment. Furthermore, your workforce will need to be on board if you’re going to cultivate a truly inclusive environment, so involving them from the get-go can be beneficial.
3. Launch an LGBT Network
For mid-size companies or enterprise-level businesses, establishing an LGBTQ+ network can be an effective way to achieve and maintain inclusivity. A network gives people the opportunity to access support when needed and encourages staff to develop new ideas that will continue to ensure your workplace champions equality. Remember – a network doesn’t have to be open solely to LGBTQ+ people; encouraging allies to get involved can increase the efficacy of the group and expand its reach.
4. Understand Your Duties
Employers have a variety of legal obligations and it’s important to know what your duties are under these legal responsibilities. To protect your own liability and promote inclusivity, it’s well worth talking to an employment law consultant. As well as making sure that you’re promoting equality in the workplace, an employment law specialist can help you to find new ways to increase inclusivity.
5. Team Up with LGBT Organisations
Many LGBTQ+ organisations are happy to work with employers to help them improve diversity and inclusivity. Whether you want to ensure that your business is providing a supportive work environment for LGBTQ+ staff members, or you want to host events to promote inclusivity in the workplace, team up with established LGBTQ+ organisations can help you to access advice and resources.
Making Your Workplace Inclusive
Although the law is designed to protect people’s rights, compliance with basic regulations isn’t necessarily enough to create a productive and inclusive working environment. By taking extra steps to promote inclusivity, you can enhance your workplace and ensure that every member of your team feels supported, nurtured and valued.