A recent Gallup poll in the US found that 7.1% of adults identified as LGBTQ+. That’s one in fourteen. Among Gen Z adults, it’s one in five. This means employers need to think about equity for trans and gender non-conforming (GNC) employees. Fewer than half of trans employees feel safe to come out at work. Could you do your best work while pretending to be a different gender?
Before we go any further, let’s define our terms. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the definition of transgender is “An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth.”
Gender non-conforming is “A broad term referring to people who do not behave in a way that conforms to the traditional expectations of their gender, or whose gender expression does not fit neatly into a category.”
According to Great Place To Work® research, employees who feel like they belong no matter who they are have five times the retention rate and come up with new and better ways of doing things. Here’s how to make people of all genders feel welcome in your organisation:
1. Revise your application process and internal documentation
Asking for applicants’ preferred name and pronoun shows you’re inclusive, and conducting the first round of interviews by phone can help to weed out conscious and unconscious bias. Also, consider creating a simple process for new and current trans and GNC employees to change their company email addresses and screen names to their chosen names.
2. Put pronouns in email signatures and screen names
Don’t let your trans and GNC employees be the only people “with pronouns”. When everyone–including the she/hers and he/hims–puts their pronouns in their email signatures and on video call screen names, it makes the they/thems and xe/xems feel much safer.
3. Give managers and HR teams gender awareness training
Managers and HR people create culture, so provide them with formal annual training on how to support trans and GNC employees, and how to educate colleagues and hold them accountable.
4. Establish gender neutral bathrooms
Trans and GNC people often face violence in public bathrooms. While the “bathroom debate” may not escalate to violence at work, it can still be awkward. Show trans and GNC employees you value them by providing gender-neutral bathrooms.
5. Provide transition support
Coming out as trans at work is frightening. It puts people at risk of job loss, harassment, and even assault. Put policies and procedures in place to support employees who are transitioning–and make sure all your employees know what protections you offer them.