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How to build LGBTQ+ inclusion in your company

by Ana Lopez
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Adrien Gaubert, co-founder of myGworkThe LGBTQ+ Business Community.

LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace is vital for Gen Z workers, making it a key factor in attracting and retaining young talent. In fact, my company myGwork conducted a study and found that 66% of college students and graduates would leave their jobs if they couldn’t be at work. In addition, most young people would be more likely to share their identity from day one if they knew that their employer was truly committed to inclusion.

However, our research has also shown that there is still work to be done. Six in ten Gen Z workers experience discrimination at work or school, and seven in ten would return to the closet if they did not feel safe. I had to do that many times in the beginning of my career. The same was true of my twin brother, Pierre. That’s what led us to build an organization that helps the LGBTQ+ community find businesses where they can be themselves.

Now more than ever there is a focus on diversity and inclusion, but it’s not enough to say you’re serious. The younger generation wants to see action. So how can you help your organization to better reach young LGBTQ+ talent?

Have policies that support and protect LGBTQ+ employees.

Have policies that show your leaders care about employee well-being and provide a work environment where staff can enjoy what they do and know that pay, benefits and culture promote a sense of belonging. All policies must use gender-neutral language and be inclusive. The LGBTQ+ community needs to know that you support them without having to ask if specific needs are covered. For example, ensure that parental leave is available to all genders, including parental leave for same-sex partners, as well as additional health benefits for staff who may transfer.

In addition, LGBTQ+ employees want reassurance that they are safe in the workplace when they are not there. An important part of this is a zero-tolerance policy towards all forms of harassment, including LGBTQ+ discrimination. In the hiring contract, employee handbook, and overall onboarding process, highlight the policy and serious consequences for non-compliance.

Provide adequate training on diversity, equity and inclusion.

To support your inclusion policy and support, provide DEI training beyond basic education on diversity and identities within the LGBTQ+ umbrella. It should include practical advice on how to be aware of unconscious biases, guidance on how to expose inappropriate and harmful behavior, and an understanding of how to avoid mistakes, such as misinterpreting or killing trans and/or non- binary workers.

Show alliance.

Aside from your policies and training, it’s important to display both active and passive allies in the workplace. Ensure pronouns are on badges and email signatures, for gender-neutral restrooms, and for personal development programs that support affiliation.

Have leaders who are willing to speak openly about LGBTQ+ inclusion within the organization. Those who go the extra mile to amplify the voices of the LGBTQ+ communities can help drive higher employee satisfaction, loyalty and retention. It’s also important to show ongoing support for LGBTQ+ causes outside of your organization. Supporting a Pride event or LGBTQ+ History Month once a year is no longer enough. Participation in inclusion events in external forums throughout the year will speak volumes about your organisation. Have an active LGBTQ+ network.

Creating employee resources or networks that emphasize intersectionality and support all marginalized groups is another vital way to demonstrate alliance. Make sure the network includes queer people of color and other disadvantaged subgroups within the LGBTQ+ community, such as black trans people. Senior allies should also support and participate in the groups’ LGBTQ+ strategy and events.

Have conscious outreach programs to recruit LGBTQ+ talent.

The company’s recruiting programs must be involved in various job boards and events. Visibility at various recruitment events and conferences is a must. It gives new LGBTQ+ hires the reassurance they need by demonstrating your organization’s commitment to finding and retaining diverse talent and providing an inclusive workplace.

Incorporating any of these strategies can help your organization attract and retain LGBTQ+ talent, especially the younger generations. It will enhance your reputation as an employer of choice and it will tell existing and potential customers that you are an inclusive brand.

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