7 Ways to Support LGBTQ+ Employees at Work

Inclusivity at Work: 7 Ways to Support LGBTQIA+ Employees at Work

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GettyImages - Manager and employee working in office - stock photo
Credit: Getty Images – Manager and employee working in office

Recognizing and respecting workforce diversity is essential. Beyond an employee’s function in their respective role, it’s their lived experience that enriches their work and contributes to a dynamic workplace. As we celebrate Pride and queer liberation in June, it’s crucial to recognize that initiatives supporting the LGBTQIA+ community shouldn’t be confined to just one month but throughout the year. At the core of these efforts, it’s important that all queer employees feel that their workplace is a safe space for them to be their most authentic selves.

A few immediate steps to ensure this include visible LGBTQIA+  support from senior leadership. Here are a few more ways employers can help build an inclusive workplace environment for their queer staff. 

Make No Assumptions

1. Avoid Generalizations: Keep in mind that one LGBTQ+ employee cannot speak on behalf of the entire LGBTQ+ community. So, make sure you do your due diligence and research to help fill in any gaps in your company and its culture. 

Learn About LGBTQIA+ Communities

2. Share Resources: Share resources to facilitate learning about LGBTQIA+ communities. These can include books, films, documentaries, and articles that highlight LGBTQIA+ perspectives and stories. 

3. Participate in Events: Engage in LGBTQIA+ events such as PRIDE, conferences, and other community gatherings.

4. Promote Awareness: Incorporate LGBTQIA+ topics into internal communications, such as newsletters and team meetings.

Build Psychological Safety

5. Support ERGs: If you can, create and allocate resources and funding to support LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which provides spaces for networking and advocacy.

6. Promote Inclusive Language: Educate employees on the importance of inclusive language and pronouns. Language makes people feel seen, valued, empowered, and protected, but it can also do the opposite. Help create a culture that values the former. 

7. Support Inclusive Health Plans: Advocate for your company to invest in employee well-being by offering health insurance that covers gender-affirming care, mental health services, and equitable parental leave for all families, including adoptive and same-sex parents. 

It’s important to recognize that LGBTQIA+ safety issues are systemic and not unique to your company. While it’s not your responsibility to have all the answers, as an ally, it is your responsibility to help take action. Instituting a zero-tolerance stance against bullying, harassment, and discrimination and establishing anonymous reporting mechanisms for incidents of harassment is a great place to start for employers. But the support doesn’t stop there. True inclusivity demands continuous effort to foster a diverse and vibrant workplace where everyone can thrive.

What actions do you think can help foster a more queer-inclusive workplace culture for LGBTQ+ employees? Let us know in the comments!

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