Happy Pride, Columbus! What an incredible weekend it was! For those who don’t know, Columbus, Ohio is the 14th gayest city in the united states. Our high population of LGBT makes for one heck of a Pride weekend. It is pretty hard to return to work on Monday following that party.
Monday hangovers are a small worry, however, when compared to workplace discrimination. 21% of LGBT employees report being discriminated in the workplace. This number does not include the countless microaggressions they might face on a day to day basis as well as the cases that go unreported.
Why You Should Care
Let’s get this out of the way first. You should care so that you are not a blindly privileged fuckwad. LGBT people are human beings and they deserve the same rights as you.
In case that isn’t enough, here are some reasons why having an LGBT inclusive workplace will benefit your business:
- Reduced legal costs from when an LGBT employee sues you for discrimination. No, sexual orientation is not a protected class. However, the EEOC consistently rules in favor of sexual orientation under Title VII sexual discrimination. If your business is on the wrong side of this lawsuit, it could cost millions.
- LGBT employees are statistically more loyal employees
- LGBT consumers are more loyal too. Yes, they know if your company is not an ally. Yes it matters.
- Millennials are more socially conscientious. Considering this is the fastest growing demographic, you’d be wise to keep your business in their good graces.
So, if you want to better your brand loyalty among LGBT and Millennial demographics and avoid potential lawsuits, here is how you can make your workplace LGBT inclusive.
You can’t have an LGBT inclusive workplace if you don’t hire LGBT employees. There are two ways you can have a more inclusive workforce:
- Reduce hiring discrimination
- Actively recruit diverse employees
20% of LGBT individuals report being passed up for jobs based on sexual orientation. This is a hard statistic to prove considering there a lots of reasons a person could be passed up for a job. Encourage your HR team to be an active partner with hiring managers. Look into the reasons a person is being turned down for a job. If the reason for turning someone down sounds subjective (like “culture fit”) ask some probing questions to ensure your leaders are not discriminating.
Once you feel confident that your organization is not discriminating in hiring decisions, you can actively recruit a diverse workforce. Try recruiting from websites like LGBT CareerLink and TJobBank. Or attend a few LGBT recruitment events. Within no time you will have a robust talent pipeline and a more diverse workplace.
But you won’t have any luck hiring LGBT employees if your organization is not a…
Safe Space with Inclusive Policies
In light of recent events like the massacre in Orlando Florida, you can appreciate the need for LGBT individuals to feel safe at work. You can help make that happen by
- Providing equal opportunities for advancement: Show that your hiring decisions extend to internal promotions as well. Focus on always selecting the best person for the job regardless of orientation.
- Providing equal benefit options: This was a bigger issue prior to gay marriage becoming legalized. But, it bears repeating. If you allow your heterosexual employees to extend benefits to their spouses and families, then the same goes for your LGBT employees.
- Clear anti-discrimination policies and education: This is a biggie. First, make it clear in your handbook (or any documentation) that discriminatory behavior is unacceptable. Second, enforce this rule by taking corrective action when this policy is violated. And third, educate your workforce. Help employees understand what is discrimination and how to avoid these behaviors.
- Make reasonable accommodations: I hate that this even needs to be said. But, in light of the North Carolina’s recent bathroom law, I will say it. If you have a transgender employee who wants to use the bathroom of his/ her choosing, then let her use the damn bathroom in peace.
The more you discourage discrimination and encourage LGBT employees to be themselves, the safer your workplace will become.
One of the rules for this year’s Stonewall Columbus Pride Parade was that you couldn’t wear anything advertising beer that isn’t Anheuser Busch. The reason being the Anheuser Busch was the first corporate sponsor of Columbus Pride starting in the late 80’s. They were the only corporate sponsor for a long time. As a thank you to Anheuser Busch, this is the only beer that can be advertised at Columbus Pride.
If you are Anheuser Busch, this is a great marketing opportunity for you. And remember what I said earlier about the loyal LGBT community? This is proof. The more you associate your brand with supporting LGBT equal rights, the more positive attention your business will receive.
Great job Columbus on a successful Pride weekend and a diverse community. But does your workplace fit into this diversity?
- You will want to know if your organization is LGBT inclusive because it makes good business sense.
- Start with smart hiring practices. Try actively recruiting in the LGBT community.
- Make your workplace safe and create policies to support it.
- Get involved in the community
What are some actions your company has taken to become LGBT inclusive? Let us know in the comments!