12 ways to boost LGBT inclusion

By anna smith

Great Place to Work has partnered with Pride at Work Canada to produce an LGBT Best Practice Guide for Employers. In it, the organisations highlight 12 strategies to promote the inclusion of LGBT people in the workplace. Here they are:

Put it in writing

Show you are serious about tackling all forms of discrimination in your organisation by implementing a formal policy outlining the expected behaviours of you and all of your employees.

Use gender neutral language

Mind out for gendered language when reviewing policy. Rather than using “he”or “he/she”, it is acceptable and preferred to use “they” as a singular gender natural pronoun.

Ensure your benefits package is relevant to all employees

Understand LGBT employees’ specific needs related to medical coverage, parental leave, bereavement, etc. At the most inclusive workplaces, benefits packages include coverage for drugs related to HIV/AIDs and coverage for transition related costs (including gender affirmation surgery).

Implement organisation-wide diversity training

This should include a reassessment of review of discrimination and harassment policies, education on the use of respectful (vs. harmful) language, and detail how your organisation will support an employee who has experienced and/or witnessed discrimination and/or harassment.

Provide specific training for people managers

People managers are responsible for ensuring their teams interact in a respectful manner. They should also be invested in the care and well-being of those who work for them.

Student employee resource groups…

These are “voluntary, employee-led groups made up of individuals who join together based on common interests, backgrounds or demographic factors such as gender, race or ethnicity.” They provide safe places for people to support each other and talk about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and work to end homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.

…and listen to them!

You also need to provide encouragement with the resource group. This will help you understand the specific needs of the communities you wish to support.

Support gender transition in the workplace

Provide specific gender transition guidelines. This will be helpful to both the person who is transitioning and their co-workers.

You can’t change what you don’t measure

Collect workplace demographics related to sexual orientation and gender identity. This can help an organisation understand the personal characteristic of employees and whether these have any impact on measures such as retention rates, promotions, rewards and recognition.

It starts at the top

There is no such thing as an inclusive workplace without an inclusive leadership team. Regardless of the policies you put in place, efforts will fail if this behaviour is not modelled at the most senior level.

Put your money where your mouth is

Make diversity and inclusion part of your budget. This will show that your organisation recognizes the business and social value of fostering an inclusive workplace.

Develop a culture of inclusion

Developing a culture of inclusion requires a multi-pronged approach that comprises workplace policy, leadership, behaviour and assessment.


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