Top Ten Tips for... Promoting an Inclusive Workplace Culture

Top Ten Tips for... Promoting an Inclusive Workplace Culture

June is Pride month – a celebration of equality and a reminder of the importance of continuing to fight for the rights of LGBTQIA+ people. Pride has been marked annually since the Stonewall riots in New York City in the late 1960s and has since become a global event. It’s a time to champion for equality and for LGBTQIA+ people and allies to celebrate love in all its forms.

Promoting an inclusive working environment should be a priority all year round, but Pride month is an ideal opportunity to reflect on how we can all do better to support our LGBTQIA+ staff and colleagues.

  1. Be vocal about your support

Think about your internal communications this month, and how you can use your channels to let people know that you stand with your LGBTQIA+ colleagues. If you have a staff newsletter, include a piece about Pride and why it’s important. Being visible in your support will help LGBTQIA+ staff feel seen and supported.

  1. Make equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) a priority

If you don’t already have one, set up an EDI working group made up of members of staff representing a broad range of areas and levels of seniority across your organisation. Ensure they meet regularly to discuss issues relating to equality and to share best practice. Encourage staff to contact the group to suggest areas for discussion and improvement.

  1. Review and update your training offer

EDI training should be mandatory for all staff. Ask managers to ensure that all staff complete training sessions and refreshers as a matter of priority. When it comes to EDI, language and legislation are subject to change – make sure your training is comprehensive and reviewed regularly to keep it up to date.

  1. Share your pronouns

Ask staff to include their pronouns in their email signatures and to specify them when introducing themselves at the start of meetings. This helps people who identify as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth – or outside of the binary – feel comfortable sharing how they want to be addressed. By normalising pronoun sharing for everyone – not just people who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community – you’ll be promoting an inclusive environment for everyone.

  1. Be a good ally

To be a good ally it’s important to always stand up for the LGBTQIA+ community, especially when they’re not represented in the room. If you witness discriminatory behaviour or someone says something offensive because they think they won’t be challenged, do something about it. Try gently educating them on why their actions or words are problematic or use appropriate reporting procedures.

  1. Don’t inadvertently discriminate

When changing or introducing a policy or procedure, make sure it doesn’t disadvantage LGBTQIA+ people – or any of the other nine protected characteristics. It’s good practice to conduct an equality impact assessment to check you won’t be indirectly discriminating against anyone.

  1. Share your reporting processes

Make sure your reporting processes for discriminatory or otherwise inappropriate behaviour are widely available and encourage people to use them. Staff should feel confident that they are listened to, that they will be taken seriously, and that the consequences for discrimination are serious.

  1. Listen – but don’t be intrusive

Take every opportunity to listen to LGBTQIA+ voices. It’s important to approach conversations with an open mind and be ready to listen and learn. However, keep in mind that not everyone feels comfortable being open and candid about their sexuality or gender identity, so don’t pry or pressure people to open up – let people share in a way they’re comfortable with.

  1. Mind your language

Be mindful of the language you use and make sure you’re being inclusive. Try to avoid unnecessary gendering by using gender neutral language like ‘they’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’ and refer to ‘people’ instead of ‘men and women’. Remember, language is always evolving – if you accidentally use an outdated term and someone corrects you, thank them and take it on board for next time.

  1. Continue to educate yourself

Fostering a more inclusive work environment is an ongoing process. It’s important to continue to educate yourself by reading up on LGBTQIA+ issues and staying up to date with news from the community. Arming yourself with information will help you create a welcoming, compassionate environment for staff where they feel safe to be their authentic selves – making your organisation a nicer place to work and more attractive to potential candidates.

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