A LinkedIn survey released this month has revealed that LGBTI people are paid 16% less than their cis-gendered, heterosexual peers.
This is almost double the UK pay gap between men and women (9.6%).
These results are hard to swallow, but more devastating after Pride month and the Pride corporate promotion.
It’s great to see so much support from businesses and corporations but we are past the days where changing an app icon to the rainbow design or launching a new collection of Pride accessories is enough to show your solidarity to the LGBTI community.
Internal conversations and policy are more much more important than running external marketing campaigns. And diversity and inclusion must always be at the forefront when strategizing your business.
These 10 actions, which can be implemented in all internal communications for both small and large scale businesses, can help businesses support their LGBTI employees:
1. Take LGBTI employees into consideration
Ensure all communications and policies are inclusive of LGBTI employees, and take into consideration all of your LGBTI employees needs.
For example trans men may still get periods, or may need to have different health insurance.
2. One size does not fit all
Gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans, and intersex all have different needs, face different struggles and require different support.
Work with your employees and wider team to help understand this, and identify what your employees need.
This will ensure a healthier, more productive workplace and make employees feel more visible.
3. Use D&I technology to understand how diverse your company is
How exactly does your company respond to minority groups?
For example, use blind recruitment. Focusing only on hiring people based on their skills and experience rather than personal information to remove bias from the recruitment process.
4. Offer an open door policy
In the workplace, an open door policy means that a manager leaves their office door ‘open’ to encourage transparency and openness within the company. Staff can come see their supervisor anytime if they have any issues.
Facing discrimination, not being out at work, or not feeling included can lead to severe mental health issues.
It is company responsibility to manage this.
Having an open door policy, and creating a safe environment for employees to share their concerns, questions or ideas will make them feel secure, understood and protected.
5. Businesses need to consider transition periods and younger employees.
Businesses need to work with education establishments, and recruitment companies to help ease the transition between education, or unemployment into work.
Making this transition easier will help new employees feel welcome and supported, and help them to settle quicker.
6. Bring in your wider team, and non-LGBTI employees
Allies are imperative in the workplace to encourage diversity and inclusion.
Having line managers and senior team members on side for LGBTI employees can be incredibly beneficial and can make a huge difference to their work lives. Bringing in allies can further the support of LGBTI in the workplace.
7. Networks and alliances in the workplace are major resources in encouraging diversity and inclusion
Pairing non-LGBTI and LGBTI employees in mentorships can produce and offer wider education opportunities.
Or implement a LGBTI taskforce, designed to help your business to understand what is working, what extra support is needed and how to achieve it.
8. Run marketing campaigns led by LGBTI employees
Not only that, but include them in your marketing material.
This will help you promote externally your LGBTI D&I policies, and also make your employees feel visible and represented.
Doing this will also help your business connect both internally and externally.
9. Consider language and pronouns in your communications
She/Her and He/His is traditional, but no longer relevant to everyone.
You need to take into account non-binary and gender neutral employees, who may prefer they/theirs or simply want to be called by their name.
10. Don’t do it half-heartedly, and it’s ok to start small
Diversity and inclusion isn’t about ticking a box. It should be weaved into a company ethos.
Policies such as this tend to scare business owners, as they think it will be expensive or require new hires.
This isn’t the case. Changing internal communications to make them LGBTI friendly, or having an open door policy can be a great start. But whatever your business does, make sure it’s ongoing and effective.
Meena Chander is the Owner of Events Together, and is an event consultant and manager.