In today’s modern world, it’s common belief that organisations are adapting a new inclusive mindset that create diverse workplaces free of discrimination. To understand why inclusivity is so important, we need to establish why this working environment is needed.
As a *queer woman, throughout my career I have worked for organisations where my sexuality was a problem. Whilst behind closed doors and whispers, colleagues and directors discussed something out of my control and isolated anyone who didn’t fit their mould. Some call it gossiping, others call it homophobic bullying. However you want to justify discrimination, this environment resulted in a lack of productivity, morale and ultimately my notice.
Apart from the obvious reasons to why this working environment is toxic, it’s important to recognise the impact on your workforce and status. It’s reported that 83% of workers feel more innovating in a workspace that is diverse. Additionally, larger organisations have noticed a rise in profits by 0.8% for every 10% increase in diversity.
Being diverse isn’t for show, it’s proving to be an important factor of growth, innovation and recruiting top talent. But the next steps, how do you actually create an inclusive working environment?
Creating an inclusive workforce
Reinforce your policies within handbooks, contracts and any company documentation to ensure it's clearly highlighted through your organisation that discrimination won't be tolerated.
We don't expect you to know everything and there's no harm in asking for help. There are many trained professionals that dedicate their careers to educating organisations on LGBTQ+ topics. We recommend seeking out help if you're unsure on how to start creating an inclusive workspace.
Hold inclusive meetings / gatherings
We all love a cake sale in the office, so why not hold one for LGBTQ+ pride month or other important milestones within the community. Simple gestures are important in ensuring employee's know they're welcomed and celebrated within the organisation.
In summary, whether you're a manager, employee or director, your words and views can impact LGBTQ+ members more than you can know. The workplace shouldn't be somewhere where we have to defend our rights. Be aware of those around you and the language you use, in return you may notice an improvement of morale and productivity. We should all be aiming to create environments fit for all, not just the majority.
*Queer – Recently the LGBTQ+ Community has reclaimed queer as an umbrella term to describe sexuality