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  • Pride Month 2024: An employer’s guide to becoming a better ally for LGBTQ+ staff

Pride Month 2024: An employer’s guide to becoming a better ally for LGBTQ+ staff

Learn how to support your LGBTQ+ staff during Pride Month and beyond…

First published on Friday, Jun 02, 2023

Last updated on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2024

5 min read

Pride Month is a time for celebration, acceptance, reflection, breaking down barriers, and challenging bias. But did you know that 1 in 8 people wouldn’t feel confident reporting homophobic or transphobic abuse to their employer?

Whether this is rooted in fear of discrimination or feeling like issues won’t be handled effectively, there’s clear evidence of a communication barrier.

So, to help employers break down these barriers, here are 4 ways you can improve communication with your staff and create an open and inclusive environment where all staff feel safe to raise their concerns.

1. Stay up to date with current LGBTQ+ issues

Staying informed about LGBTQ+ issues can help you lead effectively and communicate better with your team.

Embracing Pride all year round means continually learning more about what it means to be an LGBTQ+ ally in the workplace. As a busy business owner, it can be especially challenging to keep up with current affairs and make sure that you’re up to date on the latest laws, rules, terminology, and news impacting the community.

Understanding LGBTQ+ concerns will help you navigate workplace conversations on gender and sexual identity in the workplace with sensitivity.

You can do this is by subscribing to LGBTQ+ owned newsletters, podcasts, and following LGBTQ+ influencers on social media like LinkedIn. Because if you’re up to date on the issues, you’ll be better positioned to advise and support staff if and when they need it.

2. Support your staff through setbacks

The LGBTQ+ community has historically faced challenges and setbacks to progress. With rapid changes to the way we discuss diversity in the workplace, it can be a challenge to keep up! The fear employers and managers have of saying the wrong thing is understandable. But, as the saying goes, “fear is the enemy of progress”…

Too often, when it comes to LGBTQ+ matters, sensitive topics like sexuality and gender are swept under the rug out of fear of saying the wrong thing.

Yes, it is essential that you avoid causing offence to your staff through miscommunication. But avoiding communication altogether can also create a toxic work environment.

Without effective communication between employer and employee, work relationships can just as easily break down. Not only this, but if your staff don’t feel safe enough to report an issue to you and it goes unreported, it could pose a risk to workplace harmony, trust, and legal compliance.

Not every employee will want to discuss these topics openly, but you can help develop a culture of openness and inclusivity by starting an employee discussion forum or committee where employees can raise issues anonymously.

Conducting quarterly anonymous surveys about your workplace culture and organisation’s inclusivity can also address the potential for setbacks in your own company—giving you insight into what you are doing right and what you could be doing better.

3. Use LGBTQ+ inclusive language and gender-neutral phrases

Another way to make staff feel safer is to make sure you’re avoiding gendered language. Moving away from gender-biased job titles can really help create an inclusive environment. For example, changing “Salesman” to “Salesperson” or “Chairman” to “Chairperson”, “Headmistress to “Headteacher”, and “Barmaid” to “Bartender.”

Encouraging a culture of trust and acceptance will create better work relationships, boost morale, and even improve creative output. Simple things like including an option for selecting personal pronoun preferences in your HR onboarding process will help employees feel they can bring their authentic selves to work and keep staff engaged.

Similarly, offering equality and diversity training for members of staff is a great way to ensure your team is primed on how they can help guarantee an inclusive environment at work.

4. Be respectful and have a zero-tolerance discrimination policy

Above all else, it’s important to approach Pride and LGBTQ+ topics with the sensitivity and respect they deserve.

Gender reassignment and sexual orientation are protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 and you should have a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination—taking any and all allegations seriously.

Not only does discrimination negatively impact your staff’s wellbeing—comments, abuse, and offensive conversations can also quickly escalate, potentially damaging your company’s reputation and affecting your employee retention rate.

It’s therefore in your best interest, and your responsibility, to create a fair and inclusive environment for all your staff.

Need more support?

Creating and maintaining a fair and inclusive environment for your staff starts with making sure your HR policies and practices are legally sound. Our BrightAdvice team can give you the right guidance to better support your team.

Get instant support from BrightAdvice: 0800 470 2432

Not a BrightAdvice customer? Learn more about how we can help you foster better communication and inclusivity this Pride Month and beyond. Discover 24/7 employment law support.

Looking for more insights? If you need more advice and insights on the topics below, check out some of BrightHR’s other pieces on the benefits of embracing diversity in your organisation: How can you support LGBTQ+ employees at work? | BrightHR Pride Month 2022 | BrightHR | BrightHR

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