With June being Pride Month, this is a great opportunity to evaluate what you are doing as an organization or as a leader to support your LGBTQ+ employees. Transforming your organization’s logo into a rainbow is a nice first step, but a recent McKinsey & Co. report found that companies’ stated commitment to LGBTQ+ equity hasn’t yet translated into results. LGBTQ+ employees, especially women, are underrepresented at every level of management. Here are some things your organization can do to support and be an ally to LGBTQ+ folks throughout the month of June and beyond.
1. Education and Awareness: Organize workshops, training sessions, or panel discussions to educate employees about LGBTQ+ issues, terminology, and history. This can help educate and foster understanding and empathy among your entire workforce. Train your leaders! Provide training for managers and supervisors to ensure they understand the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ employees and can effectively support them. This may involve addressing unconscious bias, using appropriate pronouns, and how to properly handle, report and investigate discrimination or harassment incidents.
2. Inclusive Policies: Review your company policies to ensure they are inclusive of LGBTQ+ individuals. To get started, this could include ensuring that your benefits plan provides coverage and support for same-sex partners, you have accessible gender-neutral restroom facilities, and that your policies use inclusive language.
3. Encourage, fund and support Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Help encourage the formation of LGBTQ+ employee resource groups within your organization. These groups provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ employees to connect, share experiences, and offer support to each other. Belonging to an ERG also helps employees feel that they can be authentic at work and derive more meaning and purpose from the work that they do. A strong ERG group can help strengthen acceptance, camaraderie, and fairness across groups and help team members build allyship.
4. Open Communication: Foster an open and inclusive culture where employees feel comfortable expressing their sexual orientation or gender identity and bringing their authentic selves to work.
5. Support LGBTQ+ Causes: Consider making donations to LGBTQ+ charities or organizations that advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and equality. This demonstrates your commitment to supporting this community.
6. Pronoun Inclusion: Encourage employees to include their preferred pronouns in email signatures, virtual meeting signatures, or name badges. This helps create a more inclusive environment and avoids any assumptions about gender identity.
7. Continuous Learning: Promote ongoing education and learning about LGBTQ+ issues beyond Pride Month. Offer resources such as books, articles, or documentaries to deepen employees’ understanding and awareness. I saw an organization we work with recently create a library in the office where their team can borrow books that educate, empower, inspire, and spark meaningful conversations which is such a great way to foster continuous learning and make it accessible for all employees.
8. And lastly, Celebrate Pride! Organize company-wide events or activities during Pride Month, such as participation in local Pride parades, hosting a diversity-themed panel for your team to learn, or LGBTQ+ book or film club. This shows solidarity and support for the community.
Remember, these suggestions are just a starting point. It’s crucial to listen to your LGBTQ+ employees’ feedback, involve them in decision-making processes, and adapt your initiatives based on their needs and preferences. Happy Pride!
Written By: Melina Grande
Note: This article is written as an opinion piece from the perspective of a Recruitment Specialist