A change that many businesses can make is reviewing policies to become more inclusive for LGBTQIA+ folk. Depending on your business size and the policies you already have in place, this will look different for each business. However, it’s important to make changes that are relative and sustainable to the stage that your business is at.
Look at the basic policies that you have and evaluate them for LGBTQIA+ inclusivity
Making your policies LGBTQIA+ friendly is a lot easier than you’d think. It’s simply looking at the policies that you have in place and doing an inclusivity evaluation on them, for example:
Maternity and paternity leave: Ensure that the maternity and paternity leave that you have is fair for supporting same-sex couples as well as transgender folk. With a policy like this, you would have to consolidate on a case-by-case basis depending on what the arrangements between the couple are. You should also look to draw up a policy supporting couples (or individuals) who are choosing to adopt. The policy should look the same for heterosexual and same-sex couples.
Childcare support: Juggling a full-time job and parenting is hard - despite the majority of the population doing it. What do you currently have on offer and is this available for LGBTQIA+ folks within your organisation? This can also extend into your flexible working policy and ensure that it is fair for all across the organisation - especially when it’s looked at through a childcare lens!
Health coverage: Whether you offer a standardized private healthcare package or something bespoke, have a look at your healthcare partner and see what they can actually do for the LGBTQIA+ community. Is it inclusive of IVI and IUI? Does it support trans individuals? Are there loopholes which would as a byproduct exclude LGBTQIA+ employees?
Create a community within your organisation
Councils and groups: Setting up dedicated councils and groups for LGBTQIA+ individuals within your organisation creates a safe forum and community for them to discuss work-related issues (or even to have a community and safe space to talk about personal problems). Many organisations look to create D&I councils, which are a great first step and promote conversations about inclusivity in a controlled and safe environment. It’s important where possible that councils and groups are led by representatives of the LGBTQIA+ community for authenticity, but also because it makes the most sense as individuals can share and relate to lived experiences better.
Talks and events: Whether it’s talks and events that you host yourself or ones that employees from your organisation attend - this can be a great way to promote allyship. It also enables you to keep your finger on the pulse of what you can be doing to continuously support LGBTQIA+ folks within your organisation.
Ensure anonymous feedback is available and asked for often (2-3 times a year)
Doing a temperature check and ensuring that your employees are happy should be front of mind, regardless of the demographic. Anonymised feedback surveys centred around your policies should be sent out two to three times a year
Embrace mistakes and learn from them
Not every policy that you put together is going to be perfect - and there will be mistakes that you make along the way. The key takeaway for creating inclusive policies - whether they’re for the LGBTQIA+ community or another demographic, is that you’re consistently learning and improving.
If you have an organisation with individuals who are open about their sexuality and vocal about policies, involving them in these types of conversations and finding out where you can make a change is the best thing to do. If you have this opportunity - it’s important to take it so you can receive direct feedback from the demographic that you’re trying to help.
We have created a guide for employers on how they can best support LGBTQIA+ folks within their organisation. To access yours click here.