It’s important that businesses are creating working environments where diversity and equality are respected, and employees feel comfortable to express themselves without the fear of discrimination.
According to a recent story in The Guardian, there are still 34% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the UK that choose not to disclose their sexuality at work due to the fear of homophobia, exclusion or in case they are overlooked for promotions.
Diversity and equality are evidently – and quite rightly - climbing to the top of the business agenda. Organisations are making huge strides in supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) employees and creating an inclusive workplace. It is universally recognised that diversity is an important factor and gives businesses a strong competitive advantage.
But that being said, gay and lesbian job seekers are 5% less likely to be offered a job interview than heterosexual applicants with comparable skills and experience.
So, what can businesses do to better support LGBT+ employees, break down barriers and reduce workplace discrimination?
Set and enforce policies
Businesses need to be implementing supportive strategies to ensure discrimination, in any form, does not occur. Through introducing inclusive policies and best practices within your business, you can help to ensure everyone can be their whole self and it provides a clear stance on where you, as an employer stand in regard to workplace discrimination.
By ensuring rules and regulations are in place surrounding discrimination, staff will know that any discriminatory behaviour will not be accepted within your company.
Create an internal network
By creating supportive networking and programmes for the LGBT+ community, employees will know they are not alone. This gives the opportunity for employees to meet others who they might not have met previously to share thoughts and opinions, as well as providing feedback to your business on what’s working well and what isn’t.
Support the LGBT+ community
Taking part in LGBT+ events is a great way to show you are an inclusive workplace that welcomes all. It’s a great way to show your continuous support for your LGBT+ staff and you are getting involved in your local LGBT+ community. You have the power to shape society. You can support LGBT+ groups, support networking events and encourage your employees to volunteer. You can facilitate the culture of acceptance.