With the current mass job migration in where recent studies have found that around 70% of employees are considering a job change employers need to focus on work culture, benefits, and equality in its full spectrum to retain and attract top talent. Check out our page for employers with numerous employee statistics based on studies to gain a clear perspective. Focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion is a key metric that most job candidates are seeking. Fabrice Houdart, the co-author of the United Nations’ Business Strategies for LGBTQ+ Inclusion stated in a recent interview with OutBüro that. “LGBTQ+ inclusion is like the canary in the coal mine. If an organization is not doing that well, they likely aren’t doing well diversity and inclusion at all.”
IBM has been a global leader in the space of LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion for a long time. Its earliest LGBTQ+ champion was Stan Kimer, now the VP of Training at the US National Diversity Council. OutBüro had the honor to interview him and he now is part of the OutBüro Advisory Board. Gain an understanding of the transgender experience through hearing from Celia Daniels who is also. on the Advisory Board.
Interviews to further your diversity, equity, and inclusion understanding:
- Ella Slade – IBM’s LGBTQ+ Striving for Authenticity Report (findings discussed below)
- Scott Ballina: Diversity and Inclusion in Practice
- Ashley Brundage: Empowering Differences Author and Transgender Activist
- Gina Battye: Fostering Psychological Safety in the Workplace
- Fabrice Houdart: LGBTQ Equality & Corporate Responsibility
- Stan Kimer: VP of Training for National Diversity Council & Consultant
- Celia Daniels – Trans-2 Spirit LGBTQ Activist
Actions employers can take to create inclusive workplaces
Employees are to be more willing than ever before to change employers to find an environment where they can bring their full selves to work, so it is essential for organizations to be proactive to retain and attract top talent.
Around the world we are much more aware of the impact of intersectionality discrimination becomes more pronounced where race, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation intersect.
Discrimination and harassment remain all too real for LGBTQ+ employees and job seekers.
Nearly half (45%) of lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans surveyed by the IBM Institute for Business Value say their employer discriminates against people who are LGBTQ+. More than 66% of the study respondents say they don’t feel equipped to overcome professional challenges. Underrepresentation of LGBTQ+ in workplace leadership roles continues – only 7% of senior executives surveyed identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
Retaining and attracting top talent is a company’s greatest competitive advantage. COVID has made employee question their current employers. As mentions employees today seem to be more willing than ever before to change employers to find an environment where they can bring their full selves to work and feel aligned with the company’s values and purpose. This makes it even more critical for employers to be proactive and diligent in creating an inclusive work culture and safe workplace environment for employees to thrive.
IBM’s new study, created in collaboration with Out & Equal, calls out a few of the most important actions HR leaders should consider creating more inclusive workplaces and cultures for the LGBTQ+ community and beyond.
Set clear expectations and show employees how they can create an inclusive environment
Organizations need to be very clear about what they expect from employees and leaders in creating a working environment where everyone can be themselves. Key to this is providing education and training for all employees, but especially managers, on LGBTQ+ inclusivity, empathetic leadership, and identifying and addressing unconscious bias.
HR leaders should also share formal guidance on how all employees can use inclusive language, such as gender-neutral greetings (e.g. hi everyone vs hi ladies and gentlemen) and sharing pronouns. An online poll of nearly 600 people conducted supporting the IBM study found that 9% do not feel that the gender they express at work matches their true gender identity, which shows that we still have a long way to go to ensure transgender and non-binary employees feel able to bring their whole selves to work.
Another poll from this study showed 82% of respondents feel more comfortable at work when other employees display their pronouns in email signatures and/or on messaging platforms. At IBM, for example, we have a feature that enables IBMers to display their pronouns on their profiles in our global intranet employee directory and also encourage IBMers to share their pronouns on their email signature and Slack. These changes in language are vital to ensure everyone feels seen, heard and included.
Institute non-discrimination policies and practices
In addition to formal non-discrimination policies, corporate offerings like gender-neutral restrooms, gender affirmation treatment benefits or family leave policies that are LGBT+-friendly are critical. On this front, engaging in ongoing dialogue with LGBT+ employees is crucial to understanding what is working and what is not and what the community needs around the globe. That can include everything from regular virtual meetings to quick pulse surveys. Employee Resource Groups are great communities to tap into to get this feedback.
Use brand eminence as a tool for positive change
Minority groups need to know that their organization supports their human rights, and this goes far beyond the internal policies, training, and benefits. This means that it is critical for organizations to have a deep understanding of the legislative issues facing their employees and to be working towards positive change. I’m proud that at IBM, we have continually supported and pushed for the passage of the Equality Act in the United States, for example.
Invest in filling the LGBT+ leadership pipeline
I strongly believe in the power of role models, as well as sponsorship and mentorship programs to address the LGBTQ+ leadership gap. They are critical tools to help raise up the ideas and concerns of out members of the LGBTQ+ community, and help them overcome challenges they may be facing. From personal experience, I know how helpful it can be to have a senior leader in your corner, and I have also learned a lot from my own mentees. Additionally, by having conversations with my straight, cisgender colleagues about the LGBTQ+ community, I am teaching them new things and giving them an insight into a community they are not a part of. My hope is that those conversations have a ripple effect, and the information is shared with their friends, family members, and colleagues.
Have a clear LGBTQ
+ Employer Branding and Talent Acquisition Strategy
Cultivating a truly diverse and inclusive workplace where all people can thrive is a high bar, but it’s worth the effort.