This Pride Month, there were a lot of conversations surrounding superficial efforts made by organizations across the globe. And rightly so. For a long time, celebrations by corporations during Pride have mostly been about showing support rather than actually supporting the LGBTQ+ community in concrete ways.
These conversations have sparked a need for actual change to be brought about by companies. Moreover, with studies showing that LGBTQ+ friendly companies outperform others in the stock market, the incentive for organizations to become one of them is huge.
But the road ahead is not that simple. It requires real dedication to the task at hand, authentic motivations, and an honest drive to transform your organization as a whole. Listed below are some major steps that need to be taken to make your workplace truly inclusive.
Create LGBTQ+ Friendly Policies
We can all agree that members of the LGBTQ+ community face innumerable challenges in the workplace. To correct this, the first step that your organization must take is to create LGBTQ+ friendly policies. This needs to be the foundation to leading equal treatment of LGBTQ+ people and ensuring that your organization prevents systemic discrimination against them.
Tata Steel is a great example of this. Keeping in mind the diversity of families, they introduced a series of policies to safeguard the access to certain benefits by all employees:
- Newborn Parent Leave: The former ‘Paternity Leave’ has been renamed and extended beyond just male employees to include transgender as well as same-sex parents.
- Adoption Leave: This leave applies to female, transgender, and same-sex couples adopting a child of five years or less.
- Child Care Leave: Previously extended to only female employees, this leave now even applies to single male parents, transgender parents, and same-sex parents.
Such policies are great at not just showing the organization’s commitment to making the workplace inclusive, but also help enhance the overall experience of all employees. Further creating a culture of acceptance and diversity, while celebrating different identities and capabilities.
And as has been seen by many inclusive workplaces, such policies also go a long way in helping LGBTQ+ employees do their best in the organization, thereby promoting both individual as well as organizational growth.
Build Positive Employee Experiences
While policies are the first step, to ensure a positive employee experience across an employee’s lifecycle at the organization, there need to be regular and impactful engagements and efforts from the organization to instill a true spirit of inclusion and diversity.
- Celebrating key events associated with the LGBTQ+ community.
- Working with members of the community to understand issues across the lifecycle and correct them on time.
- Hosting awareness campaigns and sensitization events to educate non-LGBTQ+ employees and break stereotypes and biases.
- Building a network for LGBTQ+ employees where they can avail support, guidance, coaching, and mentoring.
- Promoting the use of inclusive wordings and language at all levels.
- Motivating employees to show support as allies not just during Pride Month but throughout the year.
- Encouraging diverse recruitment practices for internships, part-time and full-time jobs.
- Ensuring proper LGBTQ+ representation across levels to reflect a diverse workforce.
These steps can help create an environment where inclusion is not just a policy mandate but a true experience for everyone at all points. Hence, building an organization that supports and stands for the LGBTQ+ community!
Go Beyond the Workplace
For an organization to be classified as LGBTQ+ friendly, efforts also need to be made to support the community as a whole. Beyond the workplace boundaries. By leading change from the outside in. What does this mean?
- Making donations to NGOs and affiliated organizations that are pushing for societal as well as legal changes in support of LGBTQ+ rights.
- Creating platforms and campaigns that bring together multiple corporates to discuss key points with members of the community. To lead industrial changes towards inclusivity.
- Working with the community to lead conversations and awareness in the healthcare, education, housing, employment sectors.
- Independently organizing or collaborating with research teams to collect, analyze, and publish data points. And highlight the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community and provide ways to combat the same.
- Promoting the voice of the community by partnering with renowned trailblazers and giving them a platform to spread awareness.
While these are just some measures, these are crucial to lead a positive transformation at your organization.
At this junction, it’s important that you reflect on how Pride Month was celebrated at your organization. If yours can be truly classified as an LGBTQ+ friendly company. And going forward, what are some of the concrete steps that you can take to change the game. To create a true space of belonging for the community at your organization.
If you want to discuss such measures, feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be more than happy to help you get started on this journey!