How Employers Can Advocate for LGBTx Equality in the Workplace
Advances in societal norms, behaviors, and laws have made the modern workplace the most hospitable in history for LGBTx employees. Many companies understand that diversity is a key part of their success and are consciously making workplaces more accepting to LGBTx individuals. However, despite these changes, over 40% of LGBTx employees remain closeted in their workplaces and around their colleagues.
Creating workplaces where LGBTx employees can be truly themselves requires support. LGBTx employees need active allies or advocates who openly support them and their rights. Employers have a responsibility to create an environment inclusive and accepting of all employees. In the case of LGBTx workers, here are four examples of how employers can help create an environment of advocacy:
Companies need to have groups or communities for LGBTx employees and allies. When LGBTx employees are isolated without a strong support network, they are more likely to be closeted. This leads to an enormous amount of personal stress and makes them 73% more likely to leave the organization within three years. With a strong support system, LGBTx employees are more likely to come out professionally and establish long term relationships with their colleagues and employer.
One of the most basic things employers can do to support LGBTx employees is to have an anti-discrimination and harassment policy. The policy should clearly outline that discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation or gender is unacceptable and provide instructions on how to report incidents. To go a step further, employers should review all their policies to ensure they are inclusive. Policies, including parental leave, should provide equal rights, regardless of sexual orientation or gender.
Employers can create events to support LGBTx initiatives and awareness. Most communities also have LGBTx events like Pride Week. Promoting these events in the workplace and encouraging employees to get involved, or support others who are, is a great way to show that you care about your LGBTx employees and community.
4. Leadership Support
Organizational changes don’t happen without leadership support. Showing company leaders the business case behind diverse and inclusive work environments can encourage them to show support for LGBTx employees by getting involved in LGBTx groups and events. With senior leadership buy-in, the changes you’re making to advocate for LGBTx employees have a greater impact and will be longer lasting.
The goal of advocating for LGBTx rights in the workplace is to create an environment where LGBTx employees feel accepted and included. Creating networks, policies, and events to support LGBTx employees are small changes that make a big difference in the lives of LGBTx workers.
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