It is becoming more and more apparent that the days of applying for and/ or accepting a job based on suitability and pay scale, regardless of a company’s values or morals, are quickly dwindling away. Whether as a result of the pandemic – when work and home life became intertwined – or simply as a sign of the times where mental health and wellbeing have quite rightly become a priority, it’s clear that employees and prospective employees are looking for more.
More balance, more benefits, more rights, more diversity and especially more inclusivity.
So much so that being an inclusive employer is not only desirable in today’s world, it’s essential.
Making sure that all employees and prospective employees – regardless of their gender, race, health status, disability, fertility and sexual identity or orientation – feel accepted, valued and included doesn’t just benefit your employees; it benefits your company as a whole.
Here we look at ways in which you can create more of a LGBTQ+ friendly workplace to help you become the fully diverse and inclusive company you may be striving to become.
Why is LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace important?
More people in the UK are identifying as LGBTQ+ than every before, with an estimated 3.1% of the UK population aged 16 and over identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual as revealed in a poll in 2020; increasing significanlty from 2014 when it was 1.6%. Looking at the younger age of the scale, the poll also revealed that 8% of people aged between 16 and 24 identify as LGBTQ+, up from 6.6% in 2019 and just 4.1% in 2016.
These figures alone show just how essential it is for businesses and organisations to establish and implement LGBTQ+ benefits, catering for employees and potential employees who may otherwise look elsewhere.
Not only will you begin to attract more talent, you will also become known as a supportive, inclusive, person centred employer whom people will want to work for.
Creating an inclusive workplace
Putting benefits, initiatives and policies in place is the first important step you can take to create a LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace, with the next step being to ensure that they are implemented, followed and supported as a whole.
Whether creating or raising awareness, including LGBTQ+ in your anti-discrimination policy, offering counselling services for employees to talk through any concerns or planning LGBTQ+ events; creating an inclusive and respectful culture is key in strengthening and enhancing your company as a whole.
How to make your workplace more LGBTQ+ inclusive:
The first step is to ensure all your current benefits, policies and initiatives are inclusive of your entire workforce. This includes parental leave, access to health benefits and training.
Here is what you ideally should start with:
- Comply with the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, by making additional allowances and reasonable adjustments for anything connected to the Act such as honeymoon leave.
- Adapt parental leave policies to include all genders, as well as honouring leave associated with fertility treatment and procedures, and the adoption process.
- Update employee training – initial and ongoing – to ensure it covers understanding and respect of LGBTQ+, explains correct terminology, covers how employees can become allies and show their support, plus includes how to use chosen pronouns correctly.
- Put inclusive management strategies in place, knowing that it starts from the top.
- Establish and enforce formal non-discrimination and inclusion policies to cover any LGBTQ+ based discrimination or bullying, with disciplinary procedures in place for if or when policies are not followed.
- Make sure that your company’s health and wellness benefits are inclusive of LGBTQ+ needs such as sexual and reproductive health.
Once the basics are in place, you can begin to implement new benefits and policies that support LGBTQ+ employees. These include:
- Make gender neutral bathrooms available if and where possible.
- Have a policy and support in place for gender transition appointments and surgery, recognising it as the major surgery that it is.
- Create and actively support resources, social events and support groups for LGBTQ+ employees and allies.
- Promote your organisation as LGBTQ+ inclusive by ensuring information is available on your website and job adverts.
- Implement inclusive benefits programmes such as fertility benefits which tackle inequality presented to LGBTQ+ employees.
Inclusive family and fertility benefits
The decision to start a family can be an exciting time for many, yet it can be extremely challenging for those taking a non-traditional route such as LGBTQ+ employees who may choose fertility treatment or to adopt.
It can be a stressful time, with additional worries such as speaking to their employer about the treatment, its implications and the time off they may need playing on their mind.
Having a policy and fertility benefits in place will help to reduce anxiety and reassure LGBTQ+ employees that they will receive the same level of understanding, leave, and support as same sex couples.
A fertility leave policy, which can sit alongside a company’s fertility benefits, is ideal for outlining the time off that employees are entitled to when undergoing fertility treatment.
Fertility treatment can also impact mood and mental health, therefore having support in place will help keep the wellbeing and productivity of your employees in mind.
Here at Apryl we can help you to put LGBTQ+ inclusive fertility benefits in place; ranging from consultations and diagnostic testing, to more comprehensive support such as the coverage of fertility treatments including IUI, IVF, surrogacy, and egg and sperm freezing.
In conclusion, becoming an LGBTQ+ fully inclusive workplace benefits the whole organisation; from the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ employees and allies, to improving talent acquisition by appealing to those who seek out an inclusive employer.
It shows flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to put the people behind the company at the forefront. We all know that a happier and healthier workforce is a more productive and committed workforce after all.
If you would like any advice or support in becoming fully LGBTQ+ inclusive, then please contact us and let’s talk it through.