Keys tips for employers: Diversity and Inclusion Strategies

29th June 2021 Employment

The third and final part of our series considers diversity and inclusion strategies that employers can introduce in their workplaces.

It has been proven that such strategies are beneficial for employee retention, they can boost an employer’s brand and reputation, and create a happier workforce who are able to commit to their duties with less concerns about how they may be perceived due to their sexual orientation or gender identity for example.

Although conducting an audit of the makeup of the workforce is the best first step in assessing what steps need to be taken to have an inclusive and diverse workforce, there are a number of steps that employers can immediately consider to foster an LGBTQ+ inclusive culture beyond Pride month, including the following:

1.    Equal Opportunities Training

Most employers enrol new employees on an equal opportunities module as part of their induction training. It is important that employers scrutinise the quality of the training provided to ensure that employees fully understand the content, and it is not merely a tick box exercise.

Employers should require that employees attend regular refresher training every 6 to 12 month and also when specific training needs are identified during this period on an ad-hoc basis to ensure that the training does not become “stale” (Employment Appeal Tribunal in Allay (UK) Limited v Gehlen).

Employers could also consider the introduction of training that is catered to educating their workforce on LGBTQ+ identities specifically.

2.    Employee Networks

The existence of LGBTQ+ employee networks can help to create a collective voice on issues affecting LGBTQ+ people. This can help to promote change within a business to ensure that the workplace is truly inclusive of LGBTQ+ people by suggesting the introductions of new policies and hosting events.

The role of allies and senior employees within employee network groups is critically important as they can be influential as agents of change by advocating on behalf of people who may otherwise not be heard.

3.    Pronouns

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram have introduced the option for users to include their pronouns in their bio. When employees choose to utilise this option on their social media platforms, this can help to create a safer place for transgender or non-binary people to discuss their pronouns openly without feeling isolated.

4.    Policies and Procedures

Employers can review existing policies to identify whether they are inclusive of LGBTQ+ people, for example, the language used in policies in family friendly policies (including adoption, surrogacy and other forms of parental leave).

Employers can also conduct a review to identify whether any new policies are required. For example, a transition at work policy for line managers to support employees who transition at work.

Employers should ensure that they take meaningful steps to support the LGBTQ+ community in the workforce, to promote and embrace inclusivity and diversity within the workplace. Taking the above steps can be a motivating factor for prospective employees to apply for a role within a business, and for employees to remain in a business, as it can be an indication that they take diversity and inclusion seriously, and that people can be their authentic self in the workplace.

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Charlie Bradbury is a Trainee Solicitor located in Manchesterin our Trainee Solicitors department

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Suzanne Staunton is a Partner located in Londonin our Employment department

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