Entrepreneurs must ensure they prioritise inclusivity in their business from day one. And here is how you can champion a better company culture for your staff
People do their best work when they can be themselves. This means that not only is LGBT inclusion important for LGBT staff, but it can also bring real benefits to businesses.
Here we share our top five tips for workplace allies to step up and champion inclusion for LGBT people.
(1) Understand the issue
LGBT people still face discrimination in many areas of their everyday life. Research from Stonewall shows that in healthcare, education, work and their communities, LGBT people can be unfairly disadvantaged or discriminated against.
(2) Run an event or campaign
Everyone values opportunities to learn in the workplace. Running an LGBT event can be a great way to engage people in inclusion and help them learn more. Running a film screening, getting an interesting internal or external speaker in to talk about their work or holding an Equali-Tea are all simple ways to start conversations about LGBT inclusion in your workplace.
(3) Visibly demonstrate your commitment to inclusion
Visible signs that you are an ally and your workplace is inclusive can make a real difference to someone. This could include wearing a rainbow lanyard, putting your pronouns in your email signature or sending emails about interesting events at other organisations in your sector.
At Stonewall we call these the little big things – small changes that make a real difference. However, when visibly signalling that you are an ally to the LGBT community, be prepared to have conversations and challenge others. When you put on your lanyard make sure you’re able to educate and positively influence others to encourage them to be allies too.
(4) Check your workplace policies
Having strong and inclusive policies is a key way to let LGBT employees know that they are safe and supported in your workplace. In your bullying and harassment policy, do you explicitly reference homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and harassment, and are people able to report their concerns to someone they trust? Similarly do your family policies include same-sex parents and trans people? If not, change them.
(5) Engage others
LGBT inclusion in the workplace takes work. To make this a success you’ll need to engage others. Think about who in your organisation can support you to make this a priority. It’s crucial to get buy-in from senior leaders and HR, but everyone in the workplace has a role to play. Think about why this matters to you, but also why it should matter to everyone at work – as well as how it aligns with your values as an organisation. Consider what role you want everyone to play and set that out early to help them understand how they can contribute.