From training to representation, efforts to make organisations and workplaces more LGBTQIA+ inclusive are needed everywhere, here’s how we can do that:
Businesses’ efforts to celebrate and highlight inclusivity during Pride month are admirable, but it’s not enough. To be truly inclusive, organisations need to act year-round by implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) training, ensuring LGTBQIA+ employees are represented and supported within the workplace, and regularly reassessing the inclusivity of their business processes and policies, explains Mary Shea, Chief Evangelist at Outreach.
As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community working in B2B sales, I’ve personally seen the benefits of a welcoming workplace. In addition, research clearly shows that B2B buyers want to work with supplier organisations that represent the world around them and that diverse teams deliver better business results than those that are not.
In this piece, I will share some tips on how to cultivate an inclusive business culture and ensure everyone works in a safe and productive environment.
It’s more important than ever to provide an environment where we can support each other and celebrate progress where we find it
Write job descriptions that are inclusive
Make sure your job descriptions use inclusive language. Use words that appeal to everyone. Stressing that wherever you come from, how long you’ve walked the earth, and how you identify – the company will welcome, value, and support you.
Also think about expanding where you post your job advert to ensure you reach a diverse group of candidates. If you choose to outsource recruitment, consider partnering with agencies that will perpetuate your DE&I values and policies, and keep your candidates anonymised to avoid selection bias.
For example, all Outreach’s job ads start with a statement that reflects our position on DE&I, before we even talk about the skills required for the role. This creates psychological safety for the applicant from the first moment they enter our hiring process.
Ensure LGBTQIA+ representation during the interview process
Candidates are often stressed when they start their interview process. Providing a relaxed and positive experience isn’t just about being kind, it’s also about making everyone feel safe and represented.
If your organisation claims to be inclusive, make sure candidates and employees see and feel that inclusivity at every stage of the employee experience. Ensure individuals from all communities and backgrounds are included in interview loops. It’s easier for candidates to bring their authentic selves to the interview if they see others like them represented in the process.
Conduct regular training around challenges LGBTQIA+ employees often face
Conducting regular LGBTQIA+ awareness training in the workplace is the best way to educate employees about challenges that unrepresented community members often face. The goal of these courses is to encourage mutual understanding and respect between co-workers, reduce stigma, and share perspectives.
This is particularly important for roles and industries where LGBTQIA+ people tend to be underrepresented. By ensuring more employees are aware of the unique challenges LGBTQIA+ employees face, you will play an active role in creating a support network that can help address any potential bias – whether it’s among employees, clients, or partners.
Endorse LGBTQIA+ internal and external networking groups
The feeling of belonging to a community is fundamental for everyone. Participating in LGBTQIA+ networking groups provides members of the community with safe spaces to share their experiences, seek support, and educate allies. I recommend setting up two types of networking groups, one exclusively for LGTBQIA+ community members to provide privacy; and another that’s open for community members and allies.
These networking groups can help launch bold internal initiatives, spark policy changes, and provide safe spaces for like-minded folks to collaborate on ways to impact broader societal inequities.
Check-in regularly with anonymous surveys
Getting anonymised and up-to-date feedback from employees is vital to understanding if employees really think your DE&I policies are adequate. Anonymity usually results in higher survey participation rates and more honest answers.
This approach can be effective in reducing the pressure on individuals to speak out publicly when they spot discrimination. Make sure you set up regular quarterly interviews and that you create and communicate a clear action plan after collecting interview responses.
Historically, the LGBTQIA+ community has done its best work when its back is up against the wall. As we see new and serious threats to the community it’s more important than ever to provide an environment where we can support each other and celebrate progress where we find it.
I hope everyone enjoyed Pride 2022. My BLOG, It’s Time For B2B Brands To Move Beyond the Rainbow highlights why it’s so important for organizations to enlist, engage, and support their LGBTQIA+ workforce all year round.
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