Niccolo is always looking into ways to improve LGBTQ+ representation and challenge prejudice and the ‘lad culture’ throughout the industry and outwith our workplace.
By speaking directly to other suppliers and brokers that we work with, Niccolo hopes to create policy that supports queer workers and their families, as well as encouraging other suppliers we work with to sign up to our list of goals for creating a friendlier LGBTQ workplace.
We look to share experiences from a diverse network of people with hopes to represent the wider community and demonstrate policy to create an inclusive environment and overall growth within the business and its employees.
Why should businesses make LGBT-inclusion a priority?
Simply, promoting a more diverse workforce benefits your business and incorporates wider thinking. 18% of LGBT staff (almost one in five) have been the target of negative comments or conduct from colleagues in the last year because they are LGBTQIA+. The same figure stands for those who said they were discriminated against while looking for work because of their gender or sexual identity.
There is no surprise that more than one-third of LGBTQ staff have hidden or disguised that they are LGBT in the workplace. Because they were afraid if of discrimination.
In order to achieve an environment free of discrimination, we must…
Develop a clear mission for supporting LGBT in the workplace
Hopefully, this is our first step towards a more inclusive environment. Taking actions to protect those in our workplace who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individual (not to exclude intersex and other queer identities) is the first step to helping those colleagues feel valued and safe in our workplace.
Take LGBTQ+ discrimination seriously
Of course, this, like the following, are all part of our mission. Specifically, showing employees that there will be no tolerance for homophobia, transphobia, slurs and general bullying. Approaching some issues in advance, before they happen, in order to create a solution that will be less distressing to the minority involved, has the potential to make a world of difference for your workforce. For example, what is the protocol for interacting with those who may not be ready to accept your transitioning colleague using their assigned bathroom?
Creating support networks and programmes for LGBT+ employees and their families
This could include a range of ideas such as resource groups, talks and open spaces for communication about these events. This could be as easy as asking for already established networks such as Workplace Pride to give talks, hand out flyers or offer other types of support directly.
Promote being an ally and act as one at all times
This is as simple as avoiding participating in workplace rumours that may be inappropriate due to somebody’s gender or sexual identity and bringing flaws in homophobic jokes to the surface, and finally, often most importantly, reporting any misconduct or discrimination immediately.
Start the conversation, but do not try to lead it
In the same way that some will be unable to speak from the perspective of a plumber if they are not one, women, ethnic minorities and queer folks are the only people who will a wider knowledge of their own experiences. 10% of Black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT staff have been physically assaulted at work due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, in comparison to just 3% of white employees.
Get support from senior staff and company heads
No matter how big or small your company is, support from your CEO or general manager could be the difference between making these goals public.
Support the local community
Getting involved in Pride festivals, interacting with other companies queer networks and celebrating those around you.
Offer LGBT friendly benefits
This simply means offering the same benefits to all employees, and considering whether the benefits you do offer are friendly to the LGBT lifestyle. For example, winning a workplace holiday, it would be important to consider hateful and damaging laws in the likes of some destinations, e.g Barbados, Malawi.
Foster a gender-neutral environment, but support trans employees in their identity
This means considering etiquette such as using “they/them” pronouns if you are unsure or simply asking if your colleague feels comfortable sharing their pronouns with you. This could also be as easy as making sure to invite your MtF colleague to women’s meetings.
Keep track of success
With every colleague that claims they are now ready to be out at work or heard that you are an inclusive employer, you are able to take pride in the fact that you are making strides in this industry.