Five tips for embedding an LGBTQ+ inclusive culture in the workplace

Lizzie Buxton

Written By AdviserPlus

16th June 2022

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2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Pride UK and we’re celebrating its incredible legacy of visibility, unity and equality for the LGBTQ+ community. Although awareness and inclusion have come a long way since Pride held its first event in the UK in 1972, Pride Month acts as a reminder of the considerable amount of positive action needed to eliminate discrimination and persecution against LGBTQ+ people.

It is against the law for companies to discriminate against individuals based on their gender or sexual orientation through the Equality Act 2010. Despite this, a study conducted by charity Stonewall found that more than a third of LGBTQ+ employees hide their sexual orientation in the workplace for fear of potential negativity and scrutiny. An unhappy workforce can cause significant issues for a company and a clear message from management about the importance of diversity can help LGBTQ+ employees to feel more secure at work.

When we have a more diverse workforce, we are better able to understand the impact of decisions on all individuals. Without this, we can become narrow in our thinking, and we can assume that if there is no negative impact on us, there is no negative impact on anyone. The consequences of that can be unintended but detrimental – maybe we will lose talented people or worse, we’ll end up in a tribunal situation.

Being an employer of choice

If you ask the youngest generation of workers out there, school leavers or graduates, what they want from an employer, you probably won’t be surprised to know that diversity in the workforce comes up as a key factor. We live in a technological world where information is available at everyone’s fingertips instantly and those who have grown up in the internet age have a different world view to those growing up even 30 years ago. They will have new expectations for what an employer should be like and that means to attract the best talent, you need to meet those expectations.

Five tips for creating an LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace

  1. Make inclusion part of your culture – Proactively engage with news and views impacting the LGBTQ+ community and ensure training and expectations around inclusion are well communicated. From on-boarding to team building experiences, demonstrate that inclusion permeates your culture.
  2. Review your workplace policies – Ensure your policies explicitly mention how you as an employer support LGBTQ+ people within your organisation. You could also develop LGBTQ+ specific policies – for example, a policy on transitioning at work with guidance for employees and managers. Your workplace policies should establish a strong sense of inclusion and anti-discrimination.
  3. Promote your organisation as LGBTQ+ inclusive – Ensure that LGBTQ+ inclusive information is accessible on your website, especially on pages where you advertise job opportunities or have employee testimonials. Communicate your LGBTQ+ good news stories on social media, sharing employee stories and celebrate LGBTQ+ workplace initiatives.
  4. Normalise pronouns – Including pronouns in email signatures and social media profiles signals respect for gender identity. It is an effective way of normalising discussions about gender and creating an inclusive environment. Also review your policies to ensure any pronouns used don’t discriminate.
  5. Recognise the challenges and promote openness – Although awareness and inclusion has come a long way in recent years, there is still a long way to go. Acknowledge the risks that some employees face, and make sure every employee knows how to access support if needed. Empower managers to support LGBTQ+ team members with easy access to guidance.

Download this infographic as a handy guide to embedding an LGBTQ+ inclusive culture in your organisation.

Embedding an LBGTQ+ inclusive culture at AdviserPlus 

Emily Charlesworth, Senior HR Adviser at AdviserPlus, is a founding member of Inclusivity+, AdviserPlus’ Diversity, Equality and Inclusion working group. Here she explains why she decided to get involved and what the working group aims to achieve.

I am one of several colleagues who have come together to promote Inclusivity+, our Diversity, Equality and Inclusion working group. While, the group is still relatively new, we have laid some great foundations so that we can build on the positive climate that we have already within AdviserPlus.

Our work spans reviewing existing policies and processes to remove any unconscious bias, looking at ways that we can involve internal communities, and planning activities that colleagues can take part in to promote and educate key issues that we could all benefit from learning more about. Our mission is to create a diverse, safe and thriving work environment so that individuals can feel equal, included and celebrated within the AdviserPlus community.

Our beliefs as a group

  • Awareness – we believe that raising awareness in practical ways such as highlighting key events, promotes diversity.
  • Fairness – we believe that all individuals have a right to be treated fairly and equally.
  • Respect – we believe that AdviserPlus should be an open and safe space for all.
  • Inclusive – we believe that we should celebrate everyone’s unique differences throughout the business.
  • Knowledge – we believe in sharing knowledge to educate others on topics and issues relating to diversity, equality and inclusion.
  • Success – we believe that the outcomes we deliver will allow others to thrive.

I have always found AdviserPlus to be welcoming, and the formation of Inclusivity+ is a real opportunity to make sure that all our colleagues, clients, and any other people we work with know that this is a safe and inclusive business, and that we celebrate everyone’s differences in a way that brings us all together.

Our Learning Solutions team has produced a webinar which goes into more detail about managing diversity in the workplace. To watch on demand, click here.

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