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Health and SafetyJune 29, 2021by Olivia CicchiniBest Practices for LGBTQ2+ Inclusion in the Workplace

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As Pride Month ends, it is important that employers continue to support the LGBTQ2+ community in the workplace. Fair practices, workplace policies, and education can help you build an inclusive workplace.

Homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia still exist in Canadian workplaces. According to Pride at Work Canada, only 14% of businesses consider LGBTQ2+ inclusion knowledge a requirement for managerial roles.

This lack of knowledge brings an increased risk for both indirect and direct discrimination at work. This can create a culture of distrust and fear for many employees.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation found that 46% of LGBTQ2+ employees choose not to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace.

This is due to fears of losing relationships with coworkers, making people feel uncomfortable, being stereotyped, and not being considered for promotions.

What steps can I take to make my workplace more inclusive?
Assess social media presence and marketing efforts

Everything from the colors to the wording to the photos in a business’ marketing campaign or social media post makes a difference.

Both clients and employees want to be represented in content, besides a vast array of other types of people and voices.

An inclusive presence can result in many positive outcomes, such as:

  • Enhanced brand perception
  • Increased brand effectiveness
  • Higher amounts of customer loyalty
  • Better sense of company pride and trust among staff

If your staff feels unrepresented in your company’s marketing, they may feel dissatisfied and leave you for a more inclusive employer.

Provide diversity and inclusion training

Educating staff through diversity training is one of the most effective ways to build a LGBTQ2+ inclusive workplace.

When staff understands the history, terminology and phrases associated with LGBTQ2+ identities, you can foster an environment where queer employees can voice their concerns.

Straight and cisgender employees, too, then have the appropriate knowledge to participate in the conversation sensitively.

It is also important to have an up-to-date company policy on workplace discrimination and harassment. All your workers have the right to be free from gender identity and sexual orientation-based discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

Your policy should include details of disciplinary actions to be taken in the event of a breach of said policy. Doing so will show the company’s stance on the issue and make LGBTQ2+ employees feel supported.

Ask for employee feedback

Getting employee feedback on your inclusion policies and programs is important. If some workers feel more could be done to promote diversity and inclusion at work, you must give them a platform to voice these concerns.

Anonymous staff surveys are an effective way to receive employee feedback.

Companies should recognize and act when inclusivity is not happening in their workplace. You should continue to put in place new mechanisms to ensure everyone feels safe, respected, and included.

Do you need help creating HR policies for your business?

Our experts can help you develop company policies as well as with any other HR, health and safety, or employment advice you may need. See how we have helped other small and medium businesses get their business compliant with provincial legislation.