Supporting the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace

For Pride Month, the Institute of Directors’ National Spokesperson for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Ambassadors, Sophie Azam, has written a good practice education piece on LGBTQ+ and the business community.

Pride Month is the perfect opportunity for UK businesses to celebrate and champion Pride in the workplace, by raising awareness and understanding of all things LGBTQ+.

We are in the 21st Century and we hope in the future it will be a given that – an inclusive workplace is a happy workplace.

Over the last few days, I have been travelling for work and I am truly inspired by all the celebrations that are taking place across the UK. The Pride flags have given me so much warmth and hope that everyone is part of this integrated society.

All about Pride Month

This month is about celebrating the achievements of the LGBTQ+ community. There will be many outdoor parades across the UK, marking this significant month. Many will be waving their rainbow pride flags in solidarity with all who support the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

However, this month also marks the remembrance of the difficult and volatile history, fighting for basic human rights for the LGBTQ+ community. Although there is much progress taking place today, there are still more steps we can take to advocate inclusivity across all factions of society, including the workplace.

So, what can you do this month to ensure that your workplace embraces difference?

Here are 8 useful tips that you can implement:

  1. Shape your human resource policies to encompass the needs of the LGBTQ+ employees. Train all your employees on these policies so that you are able to create a truly inclusive environment.
  2. Ensure that the line managers and your senior management team are fully prepared for this significant month so that they fully participate in any campaigns you organise.
  3. Create the right environment to allow LGBTQ+ employees to bring their true ‘self ‘to work without judgement and continue building on this positive approach.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure about the specifics of Pride Month and what this means to the LGBTQ+ community.
  5. During Pride Month, hold drop-in surgeries with your Human Resources or ED&I advisor to support and provide information on inclusive practices for LGBTQ+ employees.
  6. Create a positive setting and have fun campaigning and raising awareness in the workplace. You may wish to hold sponsored events, seminars, and workshops. Any donations raised can be used to support charities that work with the LGBTQ+ community.
  7. Nominate employees to become LGBTQ+ champions and advocates across all levels from Board-level to operational divisions.
  8. Strive to create a united community within the workplace to minimise divisions between LGBTQ+ and the wider employees.

Don’t forget to celebrate your successes as business leaders. It is important to reward those who are truly making impactful change in their workplaces.

Look out for our next Inclusive Business Podcast on Men’s Mental Health in the Workplace with Sophie Azam and our special guests.

This blog reflects the perspectives of the contributor writing in a personal capacity, and not the official position of the IoD.

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