Creating an inclusive and supportive workplace for LGBTQIA+ employees is not only the right thing to do but also essential for fostering a positive and productive work environment. According to Stonewall, a leading LGBTQIA+ charity in the UK, a significant portion of LGBTQIA+ employees still face discrimination at work. This blog aims to provide HR professionals with actionable tips to enhance LGBTQIA+ inclusion within their organisations.

Tip 1: Create an inclusive policy framework

The foundation of an inclusive workplace begins with clear and comprehensive policies that support all employees, including those who identify as LGBTQIA+.

  • Review existing policies: Ensure that your anti-discrimination and harassment policies explicitly mention sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
  • Equal benefits: Provide equal benefits for all employees, including those in same-sex partnerships. This includes healthcare, parental leave, and pension benefits.

Tip 2: Provide comprehensive training programs

Training is crucial in building awareness and understanding among all employees, creating a culture of inclusion and respect.

  • Unconscious bias training: Offer regular training sessions to help employees recognise and challenge their biases.
  • LGBTQIA+ awareness: Include specific modules on LGBTQIA+ issues, covering topics like the importance of pronouns, understanding gender identity, and creating an allyship culture.
  • Ongoing education: Make training an ongoing process rather than a one-time event, incorporating it into your onboarding processes and regular employee development programmes.

Tip 3: Establish employee resource groups (ERGs)

ERGs provide a safe space for LGBTQIA+ employees to connect, share experiences, and advocate for change within the organisation.

  • Support formation: Encourage the formation of LGBTQIA+ ERGs and provide the necessary resources and support for their activities.
  • Active participation: Ensure that senior leadership actively participates and supports these groups, demonstrating the company’s commitment to inclusion.
  • Feedback loop: Use these groups as a sounding board for new policies and initiatives, ensuring they meet the needs of LGBTQIA+ employees.

Tip 4: Promote inclusive language and communication

Inclusive language is a powerful tool in creating an environment where all employees feel respected and valued.

  • Review communication materials: Ensure that all internal and external communications, including job descriptions, company policies, and marketing materials, use inclusive language.
  • Email signatures and pronouns: Encourage employees to include their preferred pronouns in email signatures and during introductions to normalise the practice.
  • Training and resources: Provide resources and training to help employees understand and use inclusive language effectively.

Tip 5: Celebrate and acknowledge LGBTQIA+ events and contributions

Recognising and celebrating LGBTQIA+ history and events helps raise awareness and foster a sense of community.

  • Pride month: Organise events and activities during Pride Month to celebrate LGBTQIA+ culture and history. This could include guest speakers, panel discussions, and social events.
  • Visibility days: Mark significant days such as Transgender Day of Visibility and National Coming Out Day with appropriate activities and communications.
  • Highlight contributions: Regularly acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of LGBTQIA+ employees and allies within your organisation.

Fostering LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the workplace is an ongoing effort that requires commitment and action from HR professionals. By implementing these tips, you can create a more inclusive, supportive, and productive work environment for all employees.

At Tell Jane, we can support you in taking an intersectional lens to your workplace culture and in establishing Employee Resource Groups, helping to build an equitable and supportive workplace. 

Our training workshops raise awareness of the barriers faced by the LGBTQIA+ community. They help dismantle bias, challenge stereotypes and equip you with knowledge and skills to be authentic allies. 

Email hello@telljane.co.uk to discover more – we’d love to chat.

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