Top Ten Tips for... Creating a LGBTQ+ Friendly Workplace

Top Ten Tips for... Creating a LGBTQ+ Friendly Workplace

As Pride month comes to a close, we wanted to share our top tips on how you can create a more inclusive, LGBTQ+ friendly workplace. As an umbrella term, LGBTQ+ includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning people but the use of the plus symbol denotes that more sexualities feature under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.

Creating an LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes great business sense. A recent Oxford study showed that employees that feel happy and valued at work are 13% more productive, therefore increasing the profitability of your business.

Sound good? Read on for our Top Ten Tips...

1. Review your inclusion policies

Having a strong Equality and Diversity policy is vital in the workplace and making sure LGBTQ+ inclusion is a core part of that policy will help set the guidelines on how to avoid discrimination. You may even decide to to create a separate policy covering LGBTQ+ inclusion, as this would be an even clearer way to show your commitment.

2. Set up an LGBTQ+ peer network

For companies with a larger number of employees, you may find that you have many team members who identify as LGBTQ+. Why not set up a peer to peer support network? Network members can have regular meetings in a safe space, allowing them to support and relate to each other. This group can also be valuable to you as their employer, can they help you identify and improve upon any issues that may be affecting LGBTQ+ staff?

3. Provide diversity and inclusion training

Having a strong inclusion policy is a great place to start but it won’t be much help unless it is heard and understood throughout your organisation. Whether you decide to host in-house training or get in some external help, offering LGBTQ+ training is a powerful way to educate your entire team on LGBTQ+ issues and the benefits of an equal and inclusive workplace.

4. Normalise pronouns

Including pronouns in email signatures and on social media profiles has become much more common in the world generally, as well as in business. Whilst having the practical benefit of making it clear how your employees would like to be referred to, this is also an effective way of normalising discussions about gender in the business environment. If everyone gets into the habit of sharing their pronouns (be they she/her, he/him, they/them or a mix of pronouns) then it is a huge step forward to help trans and non-binary people feel comfortable sharing theirs.

5. Celebrate LGBTQ+ history and events

There are several dates in the calendar that we can celebrate to help boost LGBTQ+ awareness throughout the year. June is Pride month and while this is probably the most well known, why not also choose to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month or Trans Day of Visibility? You can also use these dates as learning opportunities for staff. For example, Pride month is a great time to host any further LGBTQ+ inclusivity training.


Related: How to build an open, honest culture in the workplace


6. Cultivate openness and compassion

Any of your team members who identify as LGBTQ+ are probably all at different stages in their journey. Some may be eager to share their stories and their sexuality with their peers and some may be more private. It’s important that everyone is able to make that choice for themselves and your inclusivity policies should be designed to include people, whether they are ‘out’ or not.

7. Watch your language

Language matters! Try steering towards more gender-neutral language if possible, for example, using ‘they’ instead of ‘he/she’ in contracts is a great first step. When it comes to meetings and in-person conversations, try using inclusive terms such as ‘hi all, folks, team’ etc instead of ‘hi guys, ladies, gentlemen.’ Making the effort to use the correct language can help everyone in the team feel included and empowered.

8. Provide specific training for your people professionals

If your company has a HR department or people professionals, then they are likely to be invested in the care and well-being of those who work with them. These people professionals must be aware of your organisation’s discrimination and harassment policies and you may wish to provide extra training to help them understand their responsibilities and how they can help ensure compliance. People professionals are often the first port of call when it comes to workplace issues so it is vital that your team can answer questions confidently and respectfully – as well as knowing where to direct employees if they need extra support.


Related: How to harness emotional intelligence at work


9. Put your money where your mouth is

Are your benefits packages relevant to all employees? When it comes to areas such as parental leave, bereavement, pensions and medical care, it’s important that your policies don’t discriminate again LGBTQ+ members of staff. If your employees are allowed so much paid leave when they have a baby, does the same policy also offer this for LGBTQ+ employees who adopt? Inclusivity and equality must go beyond token gestures, so try to make sure your commitment is apparent in all aspects of your business.

10. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

As with any workplace change, there is no quick fix or magic button for instant LGBTQ+ inclusion. It is an on-going journey and that means its okay to make mistakes. Not everyone can get it right 100% of the time, so remember that it’s okay to ask, clarify and apologise if necessary, but keep striving to create an environment where LGBTQ+ employees feel safe and happy at work.

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cHRysos HR Solutions is a Doncaster based HR training and consultancy company providing CIPD accredited qualifications, Apprenticeships, Training and HR Services to SMEs nationwide. For more information about how cHRysos HR can help you or your teams successfully achieve further qualifications, contact us on info@chrysos.org.uk or call +44 (0)1302 802128.