HR, LGBTQ, workplace, discrimination

How to work inclusively with LGBTQ+ issues within the organization

Published:
October 26, 2022
3
min read

We reached out to Sysarb's Chief Professional Services Officer Saskia Linton for some guidance in how to work with LGBTQ+ issues within the workplace.

Saskia Linton, Chief Professional Services Officer

Why is it important to work inclusively with LGBTQ+ issues in the organization?

Plenty of organizations are talking about the importance of working actively with inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Having awareness and knowledge about gender and all our differences has increased if you look back in time. Despite all these, we still have a long way to go. Employment discrimination and harassment against LGBTQ+ have been documented in various sources and discovered to be negatively impacting employees’ wellbeing which results to the reduction of job commitment and satisfaction.

In 2021, Williams Institute in the US did an examination about experiences of employment discrimination and harassment against LGBTQ+ adults. The result showed that 46% of LGBTQ+ workers have experienced unfair treatment at work at some point in their lives and 38% reported experiencing harassment at work. These figures are not common only in the USA, but globally.

The research company Insight Distillery carried out a nationwide quantitative survey in 2021 to map what the situation looks like for LGBTQ+ people in Sweden. The image of Sweden as equal, inclusive, and open does not seem to correspond with what reality actually looks like. Results from the survey show that 32% of LGBTQ+ people do not feel comfortable being open in their workplaces. 90% of Swedes have also stated that they did not receive LGBTQ+ training at their workplace.

As a manager, you are responsible for creating an inclusive workplace with zero discrimination.

How to create an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ people in the workplace?

  • Set up goals to ensure improved inclusion. First, it is important to create goals in a diversity and inclusion plan. The goals should be measurable and concrete.
  • Train to be more inclusive. Just raising awareness or knowledge might not change behavior. Training makes a difference.
  • Make inclusion a part of your core values. Make everyone accountable and make sure seniors and C-suite show responsibility and action. Are you truly inclusive both internally and externally towards customers and other stakeholders? Walk the talk, don’t just talk the talk.
  • Make sure your office is inclusive. Do you have gendered bathrooms? Is there a place for everyone to change and shower that make them feel comfortable (in case you need a change of clothes in the workplace)? Think about adding a gender neutral facility or to make it easier, make all bathrooms useable for everyone.
  • Always use inclusive language. How do you invite people to your events? Is it an open +1 or do you use a language that assumes a wife or a husband?

If you want to create an equal and sustainable working life for all, it is important to work actively with these non-discriminatory behaviors. What you do to increase inclusion for LGBTQ+, increases inclusion for so many other groups. Doing this does not pertain to special treatment but a way of becoming a healthy organization for the benefit of everyone’s well-being, creativity, and productivity.