Although there are pushes from huge corporations to the Supreme Court to institute a “uniform federal rule” to protect the rights of LGBTQ employees, organizations should implement policies and practices that encourage inclusion and fair treatment of everyone.
Gallup reports the LGBTQ population is increasing. More than half of LGBTQ employees reported being discriminated against at work in 2017, As a result, they often have to alter their lives to hide their sexuality, despite feeling supported and accepted at work being a prominent part of having productive employees.
In fact, one study conducted by The Williams Institute found that “LGBT-supportive policies and workplace climates are linked to greater job commitment, improved workplace relationships, increased job satisfaction, and improved health outcomes among LGBT employees.”
You may believe your organization is the most open and diverse group of people around. But we all experience unconscious bias which can make employees feel uncomfortable. Simply put, unconscious bias is an unconscious stereotype about a group of people.
When we see someone with a wedding band, unless there is a visual cue that they are not heterosexual, we assume they’re married to the opposite sex. This is an example of unconscious bias that can cause a gay married individual to lie about their reality.
Having a workplace culture that doesn’t support all employees, results in “destroying individual and organizational health.”
Establishing New Rules
In her talk at a Faculty of Arts and Sciences Diversity Dialogue, senior global program manager of diversity and inclusion at IGT, Stephanie Huckel stressed the importance of addressing the language and policies of an organization to make LGBTQ employees feel welcome and supported.
Educating existing employees about how to use gender-neutral language and how to respond to LGBTQ employees is a first step in addressing unconscious bias. For HR personnel, she suggests they carefully review existing policies and procedures and ask these questions:
- Are they inclusive?
- What do your dress codes say?
- How do we neutralize those?
Indeed, having a welcoming, inclusive work culture is important to have engaged, committed employees. TellZen can help you significantly impact employee communication, engagement, culture, and relations all in a single employee experience system, resulting in higher retention and profits without any integration and implementation. HR benefits from having honest insights, real-time and continuous communication and making a one-on-one actionable impact for each of your employees.