There has been a profound and notable transformation in how businesses across the world have approached supporting their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees.
Against a backdrop of changes in society and legislation, household British names across all major sectors have established exclusive spaces, campaigns, and schemes to support and empower LGBT people within many different organisations throughout the UK. Construction giant Carillion has created ‘Connect’ whose members shape policies and feed into strategies. Another example is Barclays who have created Barclays’ Spectrum which supports LGBT people throughout the UK. This sort of activity isn’t just the preserve of massive private sector corporations, Britain’s spy network Mi5 were crowned the best employer for LGBT inclusivity demonstrating that the public sector had game too.
So why are organisations promoting LGBT inclusivity?
A recent report from Credit Suisse has found that companies that have Senior Leadership Teams comprised of more female or LGBT staff outperform those that do not giving corporations a financial imperative to get on board with the programme.
Research shows LGB employees comfortable being out in the workplace are 67% more likely to be satisfied with their sense of achievement. In an industry like ours. Furthermore Trans employees comfortable disclosing their gender identity are 77% more likely to be satisfied with their job security. The research is clear but you don’t need statistics to understand that if you’re happy being who you are at work you’re more likely to be engaged in what you’re doing. Research from Stonewall Workplace Equality Index still shows that 2 in 5 gay people still do not feel able to be out to their managers, and 3 in 4 do not feel able to be out with clients.
Here are three actions businesses can do to better support LGBT employees, end career barriers, and reduce workplace discrimination:
- This has to be something that the Senior Management Team buy into and take seriously in order to make any sort of change to your culture. Develop and incorporate a clear message through education and diversity training about your inclusion policies and strategies for supporting LGBT employees.
- Talk about discrimination openly and deal with instances of discrimination seriously. Make sure all employees understand where the line is in terms of what is not tolerated in the workplace.
- Offer equal benefits to LGBT employees in terms of parental leave, adoption leave, and time off to take care of dependants.