How To Make Your Workplace Lgbtq Friendly: A Comprehensive Guide
The LGBTQ employees in your office need to feel comfortable and it is your responsibility to do so. Inclusivity is an ongoing process so here are few tips to make your office LGBTQ-friendly. #ThinkWithNiche.
LGBTQ community is perhaps the most marginalized community across the world. People from this community often face discrimination of all sorts, be it at school, workplace, apartment, public spaces, etc. As we move towards a more inclusive future and the conversation around diversity and inclusivity has gained momentum, it's important to make your workplace LGBTQ-friendly so that people from the community can feel empowered. According to a report by GLAAD, "more than 40% of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and almost 90% transgender people have experienced employment discrimination, harassment or mistreatment."
There's no debate whether we need to have a more inclusive workplace. Researches prove that a diverse and inclusive workplace is much more productive and happening than an office that isn't. So, let's take a look at 5 ways with which you can make your workplace more LGBTQ-friendly.
1. Set and Enforce Policies
If you don't have a non-discrimination policy at your workplace, you are running behind times because a report by Catalyst says that, 91% of Fortune 500 companies now have a non-discrimination policy that include sexual orientation, and 83% includes gender identity. To encourage and empower LGBTQ employees, you have to have a strict policy around discrimination so that people who participate in discriminatory activities against lesbians, gays, transgender or bisexual, must be adequately punished.
2. Change Your Hiring Strategies
You can enforce all the policies you want but as long as your workplace doesn't have LGBTQ employees, it's meaningless. You will have to look into your company and determine the ratio of LGBTQ employees in your workforce and if it's less, you should look into what is that is preventing people from joining your company. Many times, discrimination can be passive and suggestive instead of active discrimination.
This is an important step to ensure LGBTQ employees don’t feel discriminated against or left out in your office. Many times, people don't discriminate actively but they surely are not comfortable. That discomfort can further push away LGBTQ employees. So, to make people aware and comfortable of each other's sexual orientation, you'll have to conduct proper training of your employees.
4. Support Events
Every year LGBTQ community celebrates its identity around the world through different events such as pride parades, festivals, etc. Since your company advocates LGBTQ rights, you must take a stand against discrimination during these events. It will send a positive message to all your employees and they will feel understood and comfortable in their skin.
5. Extend Benefits
All your LGBTQ employees should have the same extended benefits as your regular employees. Make sure to bring in this change. For e.g.- make sure that the health insurance or life insurance includes policies and benefits around same-sex partners or they should provide support for the medical needs of a transgender employee.