Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work in London Inc. Author, Diversity and Inclusion on a Budget: How to have a more engaged and innovative workforce with little or no dollars.
Pride Month is coming up and now is the time to take a look at what your organization is doing to create workplace inclusion for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgendered employees. Even though I am a big supporter of LGBT inclusion in the workplace and in the community at large, sometimes I find myself stumped at what can we do in our organizations to advance the cause? I figured that there were other people out there who likely feel how I do, but don’t know where to begin. I did some research and I came up with a few ideas below that are really quite easy to do. You don’t have to have a big budget, but you will see that these ideas will no doubt contribute to a more caring, engaged and productive workplace.
Don’t assume everyone is straight.
Remember to communicate a zero tolerance policy that inappropriate comments or jokes will not be allowed.
Keep in mind that LGBT employees often have children, spouses and partners. Show interest in their lives as well.
“Coming–out” is usually a risky thing to do in the workplace. When someone shares this with you, thank them for their trust in you and honour their need for privacy.
Convey verbally and in writing that professional development and promotional opportunities are solely based on merit.
When you are embarking on diversity and workplace inclusion training remember to include LGBT content.
Include any policies or benefits to LGBT employees on your website as you would for other groups. In the case of a global operation, it is important to let employees know how LGBT company practices and societal approaches abroad may be different if a transfer or travel is involved.
Don’t overlook LGBT causes when you are looking for outreach opportunities in your community. Considering the prevalence of bullying and higher levels of suicide among LGBT youth, these groups could use more resources.
Send out a Happy Pride Month message in your newsletter, intranet or other form of communication, just as you would with any other special month.
Ask employees if they have any ideas to improve LGBT inclusion in the workplace or marketing/customer service efforts to this population. These questions should be posed to your employees in general and not singling out LGBT in your organization.
If you would like more easy and low-cost ways to make your workplace more inclusive, consider purchasing our eBook, Diversity and Inclusion on a Budget at http://www.yourdiversityatwork.com/ebook/ .