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June is the time to celebrate Pride Month

Pride Month is a time for celebration, acceptance, reflection and breaking down barriers.

But did you know that 1 in 8 people wouldn’t feel confident reporting homophobic or transphobic abuse to their employer?

Whether this is rooted in fear of discrimination or feeling like issues won’t be handled effectively—there’s clear evidence of a communication barrier.

As you know I am always banging on about COMMUNICATION!!

To help employers break down these barriers, here are some ways you can improve communication with your team and create an open, and inclusive environment where all staff feel safe to raise their concerns.

  1. Stay up to date with current LGBTQ+ issues
    Familiarising yourself with the latest issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community can be a great way to make sure you’re leading from the front and improving your ability to communicate with your team effectively. Embracing Pride all year round is continually learning more about what it means to be an LGBTQ+ ally in the workplace. As a busy business owner, it can be especially challenging to keep up to date with all the changes.
  2. Support your staff through personal setbacks
    The LGBTQ+ community has faced changes and some evident setbacks to progress. Plus, with rapid changes to the way we discuss diversity in the workplace—it can be a challenge to keep up! The fear of a team member saying the wrong thing is understandable.

    Too often, when it comes to key LGBTQ+ matters, sensitive topics like sexuality and gender are ignored or swept under the carpet out of fear of saying the wrong thing.

    Yes, it’s essential that you avoid causing offence to your team through miscommunication. But avoiding communication altogether can also create a toxic work environment.

    Without effective communication between employer and team members —work relationships can just as easily break down. Not only this but if your staff don’t feel safe enough to report an issue to you and it goes unreported, it could be equally as risky for you.

    Conducting regular anonymous surveys about your culture and organisation’s inclusivity can also address the potential for setbacks for your business. Having a suggestion box so that your team can add any comments/suggestions is a great way.

  3. Use LGBTQ+ inclusive language and gender-neutral phrases
    Another way to make your team feel safer is to make sure you’re avoiding gendered language. Making sure you move on from gender-bias job titles can go a long way in creating an inclusive environment. For example, changing “Salesman” to “Salesperson” etc.

    Similarly, ensuring your team are aware of the company policies and maybe offer some training for your team is a great way to ensure your team is knowledgeable.

  4. Be respectful and have a zero-tolerance discrimination policy
    Above all else, it’s important to approach Pride and LGBTQ+ topics with the sensitivity and respect.

    Gender reassignment and sexual orientation are protected characteristics under the Equality Act and you should have a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and take any allegations very seriously. You must adopt a culture of trust.

    Having a key person designated is also a great asset to have – make sure this person and their details are displayed on team noticeboards and documented in policies.

If you need any further guidance please contact joanne@chestnutassociates.co.uk