June is Pride Month and is a time during which we celebrate the achievements, contributions and overall brilliance of the members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Although Pride Month is effective in raising the visibility of the community and improving the lives of LGBTQ+ people around the world, workplaces should be actively working year round, through strategy and actionable ideas, in order to create a welcoming, safe and inclusive working environments across all industries.
Workplace leadership can be a vital building block in establishing better working environments as well as positioning leaders as workplace community pillars who can inspire and represent their teams effectively. Furthermore, by evaluating management team, c-suite and board individual make-up, businesses can more effectively ensure diversity is present across all levels, accurately represents society and offers representation for people of all demographics at the top.
The best place for a leader to start is through education and understanding the community. This involves looking into the current conversations concerning LGBTQ+ politics and rights, reading texts/watching videos/listening to conversations by activists and figureheads and developing a better understanding of the subcultures that existing within the broad scope of LGBTQ+ people. Fire prevent
Go beyond just talking
When we talk about improving diversity, inclusivity and general everyday life for the community, it’s important to move beyond just saying that you will commit to it. Leaders in the workplace should strive to be allies to those in the community and should consistently push for better practices which allow LGBTQ+ people to work and live with the same rights and respect as cis-gendered people.
A change in operations in order to ensure the optimum working environment for LGBTQ+ staff starts and ends with the leadership team. Therefore, moving beyond paying ‘lip-service’ to the community is critical in ensuring that real changes occur. This means investing in resources and allocating time for all staff to input into these goals and understand the accountability structure in place.
It is impossible to manage and improve something that hasn’t been measured, therefore, it is important to measure your workplace leadership effectiveness and inclusion commitments in the same way. By surveying your employees, stakeholders and customers, you are more likely to establish a better understanding of your audience and how your changes to the workplace will affect them and the wider community.
When asking questions regarding demographics, leaders should establish a respectful way to collect this information, ensuring that any sharing of information is done only voluntarily and at the staff members discretion. Within this process, workplace leaders should strive to collect regular feedback from their staff that offers them the opportunity to relay their opinions anonymously to management. This will allow them to make future changes in line with comments directly from the community and ensure that they are meeting the needs of the individuals.
One change will not alter the entire dynamic of the workplace, therefore leaders should ensure that they don’t rely solely on a few workplace systems and training programmes to transform the culture. Leadership teams need to regularly get together, set SMART targets, measure results of past efforts, discuss current issues and ensure that they are communicating with the organisation to ensure that their efforts are heading in the right direction. A holistic approach will consider all elements of the business and how processes and systems can be changed in order to provide LGBTQ+ people with a workplace that is welcoming, diverse, inclusive, safe and enjoyable.