60% of employers say they are trying to prioritise inclusion in the workplace. However, just one-third of employers have diversity and inclusion initiatives and policies in place, showing a disparity in desired outcomes and actions in place. As well as employers, employees see the importance of having an inclusive culture and this Pride month, there is no better time than to look at what organisations can do to create a more inclusive culture with an LGBTQIA+ focus. What is LGBTQ+ inclusion training?
LGBTQ+ inclusion training is a form of diversity and inclusion education that aims to foster a respectful and supportive work environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and more (LGBTQIA+) employees and customers.
LGBTQIA+ inclusion training can help organisations to:
Increase awareness and understanding of LGBTQIA+ identities and experiences. For example, the training can cover topics such as LGBTQIA+ terminology, history, culture and rights. Training can also address common myths and stereotypes about LGBTQIA+ people and how to challenge them.
Reduce bias and discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people. For example, inclusion training can teach employees how to recognise and avoid microaggressions, harassment and bullying based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Inclusion training can also provide guidance on how to handle complaints and incidents involving LGBTQIA+ discrimination.
Promote a culture of respect and allyship. For example, inclusion training can encourage employees to use inclusive language and pronouns when communicating both internally and externally for the organisation. Inclusion training can also inspire employees to support and advocate for LGBTQIA+ colleagues and customers in the workplace and beyond.
Enhance employee engagement and retention. For example, inclusion training can demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to LGBTQIA+ inclusion and its benefits for the organisation’s performance, reputation and social responsibility. Training can also foster a sense of belonging and pride among LGBTQIA+ employees and allies.
Attract and retain diverse talent and customers. For example, inclusion training can showcase the organisation’s policies, practices and initiatives that support LGBTQ+ inclusion, such as employee resource groups, mentoring programs, events and partnerships. The training can also highlight the organisation’s value proposition and competitive edge for LGBTQ+ talent and customers.
Implementing inclusion training
While inclusion training offers a range of benefits described above, implementing LGBTQIA+ inclusion training can be challenging for some organisations, especially if they need more knowledge, resources or commitment to do so effectively.
Here are some tips on how organisations can implement LGBTQIA+ inclusion training successfully:
The first step in becoming a more inclusive organisation is to assess the current state of LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the organisation. A baseline assessment of the current state can give a starting block. It can be done using a survey or focus group to gather feedback from LGBTQIA+ employees, advocates and allies on their experiences, needs and expectations.
At this stage, it is important to identify the strengths and gaps in the organisation’s policies, practices, and culture regarding LGBTQIA+ inclusion. A SWOT analysis can be helpful at this stage.
When conducting baseline assessments, organisations can then use the data to set goals and priorities for improvement.
Involving LGBTQIA+ employees and allies in the design and delivery of the training can further build inclusivity. Seek input from LGBTQIA+ employees and allies on the content, format and objectives of the training they want to see.
It can also help to Invite them to share their stories, perspectives and insights as part of the training, but only if they feel comfortable doing so. It is essential to ensure that the training is respectful, inclusive and relevant to the organisation’s context and goals.
Align with organisational objectives
Whether developing internal training, working with a diversity lead or external training provider, it is important that the training aligns with the organisation’s values, culture and objectives. It needs to feel relevant to everyone in the organisation. It also needs to be focused to achieve the organisation’s training goals.
Following any inclusion training session or rollout, it is also important to provide ongoing support and follow-up after the training. With this, it can help to reinforce the learning outcomes and create action plans from the training through regular communication, feedback and recognition.
Furthermore, it can help to provide additional resources and opportunities for employees to learn more about LGBTQIA+ inclusion.
In this maintenance phase, it is important to monitor and evaluate the impact of the training on the organisation’s performance, culture and climate.
It is important to stress that LGBTQIA+ inclusion training is not a one-time event but a continuous process of learning, growth and change. By implementing LGBTQ+ inclusion training effectively, organisations can create a more diverse, inclusive, and thriving work environment for everyone.
As well as undertaking training, it can increase employee engagement by celebrating and showcasing the organisation’s commitment to LGBTQIA+ inclusion. This can be celebrated in several ways, such as recognising and rewarding employees who demonstrate LGBTQIA+ inclusion in their work.
It can also help to showcase the organisation’s achievements and initiatives in LGBTQIA+ inclusion through internal and external channels. Joining or supporting LGBTQIA+ networks, events, and causes in the community can often align with organisational values. Furthermore, it can help to communicate the organisation’s vision, mission, and values regarding LGBTQ+ inclusion to all stakeholders