Fostering a LGBT+ Friendly Workplace

Fostering a LGBT+ Friendly Workplace

What’s the secret to fostering an LGBT+ friendly workplace?  We recently held a Cityworks event on this topic where we were joined by Caroline Moore, former co-chair of Fujitsu’s award-winning LGBT+ network ‘Shine’.  Here we share some practical tips on actions that LGBT+ networks can take to really make a difference.

1. Start simple.

Rather than focusing on big events that will sap your resources, start with low key things like attending Pride, asking people to add a filter to their online photos and aligning your communications to national awareness days.  You can also combine with other organisational events to raise your profile without organising a separate event.

2. Identify opportunities to influence practical change.

Work with HR to review key policies, trial employee services and provide recommendations on how these can be made more inclusive.  Producing guidance documents that explain the practical things managers need to do to support employees e.g. how to manage meetings, questions to ask is a practical way of driving a change in behaviour.  And look for opportunities to be involved in internal schemes such as reverse mentoring programmes as these can be an extremely powerful way of promoting a network and influencing change at a senior level.

3. Be visible and help people to understand why they should support your network

Promotional tactics such as rainbow lanyards are a good way of raising visibility of a network.  But this should be supported by practical guides to help people understand the purpose of the network and how they can contribute to making the network a success.  Don’t forget to be clear about the importance of allies so that all employees understand they are welcome to join the network.

4. Strategically resource your network to help increase representation across the organisation

The network chair can be extremely influential in terms of attracting new members e.g. a female chair may attract more women to join the network.  If you need to actively increase representation across the organisation, a one-to-one approach which helps people understand the tangible benefits of joining a network can be much more successful than generic emails.

5. Apply for external benchmarks and awards

External benchmarking such as Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers provides valuable data for organisations, both in terms of demonstrating success and also for providing a driver for increased support.  Similarly, applying for external awards is an excellent way of sharing successes both internally and externally, adding credibility and support to organisational initiatives and supporting an inclusive external brand.

6. Collect better data.

Many organisations struggle with collecting employee data, particularly for historic employees.  There is still a level of suspicion around why certain data is needed and some HR systems are not set up in a way that facilitates the collection of all relevant data.  To overcome this suspicion and any reluctance to share data, take the time to explain how the data will be used and how this will benefit individuals. Work with HR and IT to ensure that as much relevant data as possible is collected as this is critical in understanding the needs of all employees.

Looking for ideas?

We can provide support to employers looking to establish an LGBT+ network or create a more LGBT+ friendly workplace, including speaking at in-house events and arranging guest speakers or seminars for expert input.  If you’d like to discuss this further, please drop us a line and we’ll be happy to talk with you.

Released On 10th Jul 2019

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