What is the right way to show LGBT+ workers the organization cares?

Help is out there for those who wish to make a difference

What is the right way to show LGBT+ workers the organization cares?

Most organizations have introduced diversity initiatives around supporting LGBT+ workers but are they achieving real-world results?

For the most part, they are making a difference, finds the survey of 600 workers in the LGBT+ community around the world by global consulting firm Deloitte.

“These inclusive actions have contributed to a sense of belonging, with over 70 per cent of all respondents indicating that they are more inclined to remain with their current organization because of its approach to LGBT+ inclusion,” says Deloitte.

“The vast majority (93 per cent) of respondents who work within organizations with a global reach also believe that organization-level communications and actions around LGBT+ inclusion are translating into meaningful support in their home countries.”

About 80 per cent of employers have introduced initiatives to support these workers and almost all of them (95 per cent) are producing positive action in those organizations.

This has translated into meaningful conversations at the workplace as 40 per cent of workers are talking openly about LGBT+ inclusion within the organization, one-third include LGBT+ allies program and another one-third include LGBT+ inclusion as part of external recruitment campaigns.

About seven out of 10 workers have taken this level of support to heart and promote their individual pronouns in email signatures, which contributes positively to their own feelings of inclusion, found the survey.

Pride at work

One major employer has decided to boost its own LGBT+ workforce with a new initiative that was launched to coincide with Pride month.

Scotiabank is looking to increase the representation of employees who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or another diverse sexual orientation to seven per cent or greater by 2025.

“By increasing representation and empowering employees with new ways to be active allies to LGBT+ people in their local communities, we’re striving to create a culture of inclusion and belonging where everyone can show up as their whole selves and thrive at work and in their communities,” says Barb Mason, group head and CHRO at Scotiabank.

The company is not only looking outside the organization, it is focusing efforts internally.

Scotiabank launched an LGBT+ employee sponsorship program for employees this year, following a successful pilot in 2021. Participants in the program are provided with coaching, education, career mapping and more in a structured curriculum over the year.

Help is out there

For other companies who are hoping to do something, there is one organization who could offer help getting a program off the ground.

The Rainbow Registered program was launched last year by Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) and it provides a third-party seal of approval of the inclusivity of business practices.

The program was launched in June 2021 and so far, it has exceeded early expectations, according to Leah McCormack, manager of tourism at CGLCC in St. Catharines, Ont.

“By going through the Rainbow Registered program, they can tell everyone that they are a safe space,” she says.

To get involved, organizations can download application documents from the CGLCC website, she says, and complete a self-assessment. 

“It’s just four questions and… depending on your answers, these questions will guide you and say, ‘OK, you’re ready, let’s go through the application process.’ Or maybe let’s take a step back and maybe we need to look at training, or maybe there’s a policy that needs to be put into effect.”

Successful registrants also receive a window decal and a card that can be displayed that explains what being Rainbow Registered means, she says.

The registration lasts for three years, according to McCormack, with an annual renewal fee each year, again depending on company size.

Price of doing nothing

But while these efforts are welcomed by all who believe that diversity and inclusion is the right thing to do, what about for those organizations who get it wrong by doing nothing?

Almost two-thirds of workers (64 per cent) want their employer to take a public stand on social issues — and for younger employees, the number is even greater (82 per cent), according to another survey.

It’s hoped the survey results provide “actionable data that can help employers decide”.

“Maybe we should take a stand? Maybe we shouldn’t just tweet and we should make a donation, or we should have a conversation internally, talking together for actionable next steps for HR teams and company leadership?” says Kelli Mason cofounder and COO at JobSage in Austin, Texas, which did the survey of 1,907 Americans in April.

A large percentage — 24 per cent — of respondents actually declined a job offer or decided not to buy because of a company’s public stance or lack thereof, on social issues, she says.

“So don’t just take into account what you’re hearing from your candidates, or your current employees, because there’s also a large group of people who aren’t even getting to your inbox because of what you’ve done, or what you haven’t done.”

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