June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, a time to celebrate, affirm, and support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning individuals. Although Pride Month is an opportunity for employers to reflect on and demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity in the workplace, it is something that should be prioritized and communicated to your employees all year long. Learn more with these seven ways employers can promote inclusivity:
1. Update Language in Job Postings
Building an inclusive workplace starts in your hiring process. Review your job postings and update as necessary to make the language more inclusive so you don’t deter candidates from applying. State your company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the workplace as one of its core values. Also, review wording in job postings to ensure only gender-neutral language is used.
2. Create a Safe Space
Ensure your workplace is one that is free of any harassment and discrimination by developing a thorough policy that states this behavior will not be tolerated. Communicate the consequences employees who violate this policy will face. Also, make employees feel safe for reporting incidents by clearly outlining the process for doing so, and reiterating they will not face retaliation.
3. Educate Your Workforce
Include training on inclusivity in the workplace as part of your onboarding process for all employees. This will help your workforce learn to understand their own potential unconscious bias, increase awareness on best practices for treating all colleagues in a respectful manner, and foster a nurturing environment.
4. Offer Inclusive Benefits
Review the current benefits you offer your employees and look for opportunities to make them more inclusive. For example, you can ensure your health plan and medical leave policy covers gender transition treatment and surgery.
5. Encourage and Support an Employee Resource Group
Employee resource groups (ERG) are voluntary organizations employees can join, generally based on a shared identity, like LGBTQ+. It allows them to connect with one another in a safe space, discuss issues affecting them professionally or personally, and ways to bring necessary strategic change to the workplace. Encourage your employees to create and participate in an ERG to demonstrate your workplace’s commitment to inclusivity.
6. Revisit Policies
Take a look at your employee handbook and revisit policies to make them more inclusive. For example, remove dress codes with rules specifically for men or women and instead have rules that apply to all. Also use gender neutral language throughout your policies, such as “parents” instead of “‘mother and father”.
7. Facilitate and Act on Feedback
Send a clear message that your company is willing to put the work into being an inclusive workplace. Facilitate feedback from your employees, such as via an anonymous online form, and more importantly, act on the suggestions as often as possible.
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