Ensuring policies and benefits are LGBTQ+ friendly

Ensuring policies and benefits are LGBTQ+ friendly
Ensuring policies and benefits are LGBTQ+ friendly

It is no secret that well-planned policies and comprehensive employee benefits can increase productivity, employee engagement and retention. For this, organisations need to ensure every employee feels recognised, safe and supported for these policies and benefits to be effective.

Creating policies and benefits that meet the needs of your LGBTQ+ staff not only creates a culture of inclusivity but there is also a strong business case for doing so. One 2023 study by Out Leadership found that the US economy could save $8.93 billion each year by adopting more inclusive LGBTQ+ policies.

Further studies have also shown that LGBTQ+ supportive policies can:

  • Increase job satisfaction: Employees are 56% less likely to leave their job if they feel their company supports LGBTQ+ policies (Human Rights Campaign, 2023).
  • Enhance creativity and innovation: According to Forbes, companies that support LGBTQ+ inclusivity report a 30% increase in creativity and innovation.
  • Improve job commitment levels: 78% of LGBTQ+ employees are more committed to their employer when they feel supported (Boston Consulting Group, 2023).
  • Increase health and reduce sickness/absence levels: Inclusive policies reduce health-related employee absences by 41% (McKinsey & Company, 2023).
  • Reduce discrimination at work: Workplaces with strong LGBTQ+ policies see a reduction in reported discrimination.
  • Increase your customer base and recruitment drive: Consumers and potential employees are more likely to support companies that advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion.
  • Improve coworker relationships: Positive coworker relationships increase in inclusive environments.
  • Encourage greater disclosure in the workplace: There is a 25% increase in employees willing to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity in inclusive workplaces (Harvard Business Review, 2023).

Despite these benefits, many workers believe there is insufficient support for LGBTQ+ people.

In the UK, one YouGov survey in 2023 found that 35% of employees feel policies are not inclusive enough. Furthermore, 60% of employees say they struggle to get senior leadership buy-in for policies that don’t support the majority of the workforce (CIPD, 2023). So much so, 68% of those surveyed say their organisation does not have the policies and benefits for specific minority groups as they believe the policies must be broad enough for the majority of the population.

However, with the benefits that LGBTQ+ inclusive policies can provide, there are several aspects that organisations can consider to make their policies and benefits more inclusive and accessible.

Review Policies for Inclusive Wording

To increase equality and diversity in the organisation, reviewing policies for LGBTQ+ inclusive language is essential. It is well worth reviewing the policies to ensure there is nothing discriminatory for LGBTQ+ people, for example, any sections on parental or adoptive leave or office bathrooms.

It may help to have a separate policy that sets out the organisation’s commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion and precisely what it will do to tackle discrimination and bias.

Consider Family and Fertility Support

One area of workplace benefits that can feel particularly isolating for LGBTQ+ people is fertility and family support. Starting a family with aspects such as surrogacy, adoption or donor fertility can create a huge emotional and financial strain. All of this can impact all workers, but there may be additional complications for LGBTQ+ individuals and ensuring this support is tailored and relevant is hugely important.

Deliver Regular Training

To create an organisation of LGBTQ+ allies, delivering regular training can help the workforce better understand bias, perceptions, issues and the challenges for LGBTQ+ people. Training around your policies, as well as regular equality and diversity training, can be a great way to build allyship and greater workforce education and support.

Finally, LGBTQ+ events are worth celebrating and can contribute to the organisation’s benefits. From creating team-building events for Pride Month or increasing inclusion on the Trans Day of Visibility to delivering training in LGBTQ+ History Month can boost employee engagement and increase inclusion and awareness.

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