Does the LGBTQ community figure highly enough in your diversity plan?
Under the Equality Act 2010, lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people are protected from discrimination and harassment at work. So why did a 2018 survey find statistics like these?
● More than a third of LGBT staff (35 per cent) have hidden that they are LGBT at work for fear of discrimination.
● One in ten black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT employees (10 per cent) have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues in the last year.
● Nearly two in five bi people (38 per cent) aren’t out to anyone at work.
But everyone in the corporate world should be encouraged to think beyond laws and policies to our next, much bigger challenge: inclusion.
True inclusion comes from individuals and corporations going beyond following the letter of the law and acting to make sure everyone has the chance to participate and the means to succeed. That means actively including the LGBTQ community in your diversity hiring and development.
In the age of social media corporate shaming, we’ve seen many companies make bold commitments to diversity - but they’re not always backing them up. Even many companies with strong LGBT policies and benefits often exclude LGBTQ people from their diversity hiring and development strategy.
It’s not uncommon to hear HR managers say that LGBTQ people are not a priority group because they’ve already achieved enough equality and don’t need any extra support - or worse, that it’s too difficult to identify LGBTQ talent externally or internally because you can’t physically see it.
In the long term, ignoring LGBTQ talent will cost you, particularly as the millennials become the largest segment of the workforce.
By excluding LGBTQ people from broader inclusion initiatives, you risk signalling that the diverse perspective out LGBTQ people bring to the workplace is less valuable than that of other minorities. This could make your LGBTQ employees reluctant to come out at work - and that’s a problem for you.
7% of millennials identify as LGBTQ, according to PPRI - and 65% millennials support comprehensive inclusion policies for LGBTQ colleagues. These beliefs will affect their decisions about where to work. I’ve personally heard many straight millennials wonder why firms are not including LGBTQ statistics along with those of other diversity groups.
So remember the LGBTQ community when you use that word “diversity.” With the millennials on the rise, it’s a move that will pay off.
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