How to Support LGBT+ Employees Within the Workplace: Incubeta’s Best Practices

When looking to support LGBT+ employees, there are a number of ways businesses can be conscientious in their actions and processes which can improve the experience of their employees tenfold. Incubeta have taken time to understand and enact a number of purposeful changes to ensure everyone’s experience allows them to feel comfortable, supported and respected in the workplace. We want to ensure that our staff feel seen & heard, rather than just ticking boxes. 

 

Elizabeth Sutton

As Pride month comes to an end, we thought we’d share some of the ways in which we’ve taken action at Incubeta.

Carving Space

Developing and maintaining safe spaces for employees through policy – such as staff support, affinity networks and clear escalation points – is vital to ensure the comfort and safety of LGBT+ employees. Mapping these out in a clearly signposted way allows LGBT+ employees to be certain of how they can communicate issues or changes that they may see benefiting them. 

Under this also comes the need to create a space to educate. At Incubeta we have run several agency wide sessions which educate the businesses and employees on LGBT+ experiences, how to be an ally and the history of being LGBT+ in the workplace (and in the world). We’ve had guest speakers covering topics including the history and impact of Section 28, and LGBT+ employees sharing their experiences to allow everyone the opportunity to learn more about LGBT+ culture, history and experience. This is a fantastic way of providing a space for your LGBT+ employees to discuss LGBT+ topics and enhance relationships with their peers whilst demonstrating your company’s commitment to eradicating LGBT+ discrimination in the workplace.

Pronouns

In recent months platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram have released pronoun features which allow individuals to indicate their pronouns on their profile. Ensuring that our employees are aware of these functions alongside including pronouns in our signatures, and Slack profiles, allows for company visibility on pronouns where people feel comfortable sharing them. Similarly, ensuring company platforms such as your HR system is set up to allow employees to self-define their gender identity is essential in providing a safe environment for transgender employees – where no one feels excluded or forced to select a gender which doesn’t apply to them.

Additionally, it is vital to use gender neutral language in Job Specifications, Contracts and Policies. This ensures that you are inclusive to everyone, allows you to demonstrate an environment of gender inclusivity, and does not exclude employees who do not identify with the binary he/she.

Inclusive Policies and Provisions

Ensuring that all your company policies and provisions are LGBT+ inclusive is key in engaging and supporting your LGBT+ employees. This includes: 

  • Updating maternity and paternity policies to be inclusive of same gender relationships to make certain that your LGBT+ staff are equally supported. Making this clear in the policy removes worry from LGBT+  employees that they may have to navigate this process for the first time without visibility, or have to fight to understand the provisions and policies available to them.
  • Creating gender neutral bathrooms/changing rooms to provide a safe space for your transgender employees. Even if you do not currently have a transgender person employed, having this infrastructure readily available and clearly signed immediately allows potential employees to know that they will not have to request these changes before they enter the office.  We also provide sanitary products in all of our office bathrooms, to create equal access to period care for those who need it.

It is also key to consider how your business can support transgender staff through transition e.g. updating name changes across emails, checking in with the employee about how they would like to be supported, and communicating someone’s change in gender with staff and clients. Even if you do not currently employ a transgender person having these processes prepared is important in making the transition as uncomplicated and stress free for the employee as possible.

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