Become an LGBTQ+ friendly business
LGBTQ+ Friendly Businesses
Why is being an LGBTQ+ friendly business so important?
It's thought that approximately 5-7% of people in the UK identify as LGBTQ+. According to Stonewall, 42% of transgender employees in the UK feel unable to be open about their identity at work, because they fear it could threaten their employment status. In addition, 1 in 5 lesbian, gay and bisexual employees in the UK have experienced verbal bullying from colleagues, customers or service users because of their sexual orientation.
By making your business and work environment more LGBTQ+ inclusive, you can attract more diverse talent and reduce discrimination and bullying in the workplace. Here are some easy changes you can make to appeal to a wider range of customers and consumers, and help LGBTQ+ people know that they are welcome in your organisation.
Avoiding binary-gendered language
Binary-gendered language such as 'he/she' and 'male/female' can be excluding. On forms you could leave room for individuals to self-identify, or just ask what pronouns they use (he/she/they). You could also get rid of unnecessary gendered language in internal documents. Sentences like, 'When an employee is unwell, he/she should contact' can be replaced with, 'When you are unwell, you should contact'.
Switch to gender neutral bathrooms
Male and female bathrooms can be a difficulty for transgender or non-binary individuals who may feel unsafe or uncomfortable in one or the other.
If you have single stall bathrooms, you could consider making these bathrooms gender neutral. If you have multi-stall bathrooms, you could make it clear to your employees that they are allowed by law to use whichever bathroom they feel most comfortable in.
Check your dress code
Many organisations still have strict dress code guidelines for men and women; but for transgender employees, navigating around a gendered dress code at work can be incredibly difficult.
Employers can help by removing any gender identifiers in their dress code. Instead of 'Women must wear trousers or a skirt', replace this with, 'Staff may choose to wear either trousers or a skirt.'
A clear anti-harassment policy
A well outlined procedure for employees who are harassed regarding their gender or sexuality can help LGBT people to feel safe at work. This also sends a clear message to your staff that discrimination will not be tolerated in your workplace.
Additionally, you might feel that equal opportunities training is useful to educate your staff on the diversity of gender and sexual orientation.
Check your workplace benefits and policies
You might like to check the benefits and policies for your workplace as they apply to married couples, and ensure that they apply to civil partnerships too.
In addition you could make it clear that policies for parental leave apply to all partnerships, rather than just heterosexual partners.
You can also provide training for all staff on LGBTQ+ issues and awarenesses.
Show customers that your business is a safe space
Having LGBTQ+ information on display creates a welcoming atmosphere. This could include LGBTQ+ posters, supporting LGBTQ+ communities by advertising your organisation in LGBTQ+ publications, sponsoring LGBTQ+ events such as Wigan Pride or working in partnership with LGBTQ+ organisations.
You can also add attributes to your Google Business Profile to show your business is “LGBTQ friendly”.