The upcoming anniversary of the landmark Bostock v. Clayton County U.S. Supreme Court decision serves as a pertinent reminder that while there are now better protections for LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace, employers can and should actively work to create a more inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees through leadership and recruitment.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC)’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) is a national benchmarking tool on corporate policies, practices, and benefits relevant to LGBTQ+ employees. The report is updated annually and serves as a useful guideline for executing LGBTQ+-inclusive practices in your business. You can read the report here.
Here are some ways to attract, hire, and retain LGBTQ+ employees:
Diversity and Inclusion Statement
Craft a diversity and inclusion statement to include on your company’s career sites, job advertisements, and Code of Business Conduct and Ethics documents. Your diversity and inclusion statement should be specific in identifying sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.
While a diversity and inclusion statement is a great preliminary step in attracting LGBTQ+ applicants, it’s not a guarantee of an actual safe and inclusive workplace for such employees. Make sure to implement other actionable practices, such as domestic partner and transgender-inclusive medical benefits, promote organizational LGBTQ+ competency, and demonstrate a public stand through policy.
Make a commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusive hiring practices by partnering with LGBTQ+ professional and student associations (the Human Rights Campaign has a handy resource guide broken down by industry) or by getting involved in LGBTQ+ professional recruitment events. In addition, seek out LGBTQ+ career boards to post job listings to. Some notable examples include Pink Jobs, Diversityworking.com, TJobBank, and the Out Professional Network.
Professional development programs focused on LGBTQ+ issues in the workplace can help managers and team members develop soft skills necessary to support an inclusive environment. The HRC maintains that employee efficacy and development programs can help LGBTQ+ employees with “identity management” improving productivity and workplace satisfaction. These initiatives can also be useful in businesses that do not have visible LGBTQ+ employees or executives.
Domestic partner benefits
Despite the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriages, the lack of anti-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals and their families leaves them vulnerable to discrimination in employment, credit, housing, healthcare and public accommodation. Domestic partner benefits are an important step toward equality in the workplace. According to the HRC, benefits comprise nearly 20 percent of overall compensation. Without domestic partnership benefits, a substantial amount of overall compensation is withheld from an LGBTQ+ employee.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, trans-exclusive policies in insurance contracts can cause coverage to be denied for transgender care and care related to sex affirmation or reassignment (source). As consumers of group health insurance products, employers can and should advocate on behalf of transgender employees insured through their corporate health plans. Prioritize working with insurance carriers to remove trans-exclusive policies and provide comprehensive transition-related care. The HRC has a convenient list of questions to ask to measure the inclusiveness of your business’s insurance plan.
Organizational LGBTQ+ competency
Another way to promote organizational LGBTQ+ competency is to partner with local LGBTQ+ organizations to offer gender and sexuality diversity training.
There are several practices that may be instituted to facilitate a trans-inclusive workspace: Create gender-neutral bathrooms or encourage transgender employees to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity. Opt to implement a gender-neutral dress code to signal to LGBTQ+ employees that your business understands the importance of being able to express gender, whether traditionally or non-traditionally. Additionally, your company should demonstrate a commitment to using employees’ preferred pronouns wherever possible, be it directories, email signatures, business cards, or name badges. Finally, adopt gender transition guidelines to assist employees before, during and after transition.
Employee resource groups
Set up an LGBTQ+ employee resource group (ERG) or network. According to the Human Rights Campaign, an ERG may serve several purposes. To advocate for improved LGBTQ+-inclusive policies and practices, establish mentorship programs to foster leadership skills in junior hires. Encourage the public endorsement of LGBTQ+-inclusive legislation through corporate initiatives. Additionally, your ERG may seek to identify opportunities to engage LGBTQ+ clients or customers.
Note Prideful & Inclusive Consulting works closely with ERG’s to establish, support and maintain a positive foothold within the organization through branding, website and social media management, article and blog content creation, event organization and a variety of HR training. Contact us for more information.
Demonstrate your commitment to the LGBTQ+ community publically and regularly through newsletters, blogs and marketing materials. Whether it’s philanthropic contributions to LGBTQ+ organizations or implementing a supplier diversity program with particular attention to LGBTQ+ suppliers, your business should strive for ongoing engagement with and outreach to the LGBTQ+ community.
Inclusivity is important, We can all contribute greatly in making the world a better place through continuous joint efforts to understand and support one another. Here at Prideful we believe great things can happen when we “Stand tall, Stand strong and most importantly Stand together!”
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