Putting together a guideline for inclusion in the workplace may seem like an entangled web of do’s and don’ts. Ensuring it is followed and running remotely might add to the complex task.
But the impact these efforts have on your LGBTQ staff is empowering and life changing, not only for them but also for the whole company. In fact, inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovative and get 2.3 times more cash flow per employee. Josh Bersin
Following these 7 simple steps can positively transform your business’ remote work environment and turn it into a safe and supportive space where your LGBTQ+ employees can thrive.
- Create an unbiased recruitment process.
Interviews are their first direct and meaningful contact with your company culture. Handle the recruitment process with equality and respect. Bear in mind the endless nuances of identities and value them. This is a great way to start getting to know the candidate’s true talent and potential. Ask for their names and pronouns and respect them at all times. Eliminate or reformulate all interview questions that may cause discomfort or offense.
- Be mindful and respectful of the language used in all interactions at work.
Words are important, educating yourself and the staff on how you can unintentionally hurt team members by using pronouns conventionally is a must. Not to mention there should be a zero-tolerance for deliberate hurtful comments and senseless innuendos. There are AI powered tools that help identify and flag derogatory language, inviting workers to reflect on their language usage and reducing bias.
- Create a space for open discussion and bonding.
Nothing breaks down more barriers than open communication. Sharing their experiences and points of view is an excellent way of getting everyone involved and building bonds of empathy and trust. However, don’t push your LGBTQ staff to participate in these spaces, not because you feel comfortable asking and knowing about their life, it means they will eagerly share it with you… and others… in a video call… with everyone staring at them. Create a special group on Slack or your prefered communication tool for opening discussions, learning events and sharing your learning progress.
- Do state and enforce a zero-tolerance policy against discriminatory acts.
It’s one thing to have your statements on paper and another quite different to enforce it. Being clear about the zero-tolerance policy from the beginning will set the record straight to both the offenders and allies alike. That’s why everything from the offer and onboarding to the day-to-day interactions needs your careful planning and monitoring. Encourage employees to gently correct others if there’s a slip and to communicate situations where there’s an intentional offense.
- Protect and support LGBTQ+ workers.
LGBTQ+ people can face aggression inside and outside of work. Have an open and supportive communication to let them know it’s safe to seek help in their workplace. Also, create policies that empower them to live their life fully and unapologetically. Easy-to-access medical care information and transition protocols are examples of actions that establish your allyship and endorse trust.
- Use the flag but do the work.
It’s ok to show your support through marketing, but make sure your work speaks for itself as well. Keep your staff and yourself well informed and trained in new policies adopted, laws and achievements which could be embraced in your business. Showcase your success and the goals you have for each year. Either small or big, this can be used as a benchmark for future improvements. Include all members of your team in a video call to receive new ideas as to what else can be done to support LGBTQ staff.
- Celebrate your employees’ engagement in inclusion.
Congratulate and boast about your workers initiatives and goals reached. This not only motivates them to continue learning but it also encourages their team members to participate in events, courses and discussions. Building a united front where LGBTQ+ people can count on their colleagues and superiors for kindness, empathy and support.
LGBTQ+ often face great obstacles in their work environment and even greater outside of work. Becoming aware of the issues is just the first step in the complex but much needed process of constructing work conditions where no one feels cast out. Companies can help by having a well thought plan on their LGBTQ+ employees needs and the active participation of all the staff.
Opening a space where they can feel they belong will empower them as much as it will transform their co-workers involved in this supportive net.