While Australia acknowledges at-risk queer youth with Wear It Purple! Day, Glassdoor.com is currently running an article on why now is the best time to make your workplace LGBTIQ friendly (1). I would argue that this change is probably long overdue, with even Australia now having passed same-sex marriage. Despite this, if you haven’t already thought about it, it is important to ensure your policies are up to date. Chances are, you’re a liberal manager and there is nothing overtly discriminatory about your business. However, you may not have realised the ways in the which your business can be positively aligned with the values of your LGBTIQ employees more explicitly. Follow these simple steps to engage your employees and make your workplace inclusive.
Affirm LGBTIQ identities
There are number of measures you can undertake to affirm the identities of your LGBTIQ employees, from environmental surveys (ensuring the office environment is affirming), competency training and resource groups. Resource groups are particularly useful to ensure your LGBTIQ employees are well represented in every level of the corporate environment. One example is to establish an Ally network, which incorporates both LGBTIQ- and heteronormative identifying employees who support and are inclusive to the needs of the community (2). Competency training, support network meetings and fun and inclusive events become a feature of these networks and can lift the overall office environment to improvement engagement levels across the board.
Benefits and incentives programs
It is vitally important to ensure that all benefits and incentives programs are diversified to be able to be accessed by all employees, particularly thinking about using non-gendered language to ensure same-sex couples can access parenting benefits, for example. These are key priorities in appealing to new recruits who are increasingly focused on job environment in addition to salary, and a significant proportion of the job market is taken up by LGBTIQ individuals who would be unintentionally excluded by non-inclusive language.
Support transgender employees
As the visibility of transgender-identifying persons has increased in the LGBTIQ community, it is also vitally important that managers support their transgender employees. There is a unique set of needs and considerations that transgender-identifying persons are affected by, particularly when going through transitions. Being generous with sick leave and ensuring a welcoming and supportive environment in the workplace are some of the gestures you can do to support your transgender-identifying employees as a manager. Human resources can play an important role by training and being educated as allies to effectively support transitioning employees.
Ultimately it is up to you to be on the front foot when supporting your employees from any minority background, to ensure an inclusive and engaging workplace. These steps, and many more, that Glassdoor has to offer are important measures in the battle against employee disengagement. See the full guide in the article for a comprehensive overview of how to support your employees from the LGBTIQ community.