June is Pride month in the United States and, in recent years, has been marked by an uptick in organizations marking the month through increasingly inclusive advertisements or spotlights on LGBTQI+ Employees. Yet LGBTQI+ rights are under assault in many US states. And while some countries are expanding rights, in others rights are being aggressively curtailed. Organizations need to do more to protect the rights and well-being of their employees.
Here’s how to promote LGBTQI+ rights within your organization and beyond:
Show Meaningful Support Year-Round
Underrepresented groups are well aware of organizations that pay lip service to the issues affecting them without contributing to real change. Organizations can and should do more to promote equal rights for all, including withholding financial contributions to politicians who support anti-LGBTQI+ legislation. As Disney learned first hand when their tepid response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation caused an employee walk-out, employees want to see their leaders taking a pro-active stance. In addition to publicly and financially supporting LGBTQI+ issues, organizations should ensure that they have diverse hiring practices, inclusive health care support for all employees, and an Employee Resource Group that is focused on issues specific to their LGBTQI+ employees.
Multinational corporations should note that our research proves that company culture often takes precedence on individual behavior over country culture; this means that a company can advance issues of inclusion by internally supporting and advocating for tolerance.
Create Affinity Groups and Leadership Development Opportunities
Diverse people benefit from relationships with others in similar situations. If your organization is large enough, create opportunities for those within the LGBTQI+ to connect. Smaller organizations can help foster relationships externally. Involve employees in the creation of any affinity groups or mentorship programs to better learn what they need. Make leadership development opportunities available and help facilitate things like external speaking engagements.
Involve the Whole Organization
Don’t restrict LGBTQI+ discussions or celebrations just to that community. Help create an environment of allyship but enabling others to get involved. Invite speakers to present on topics to the entire company. Encourage employees to include their preferred pronouns as part of their email signatures or video conferencing platform profiles. Provide managers with training geared towards supporting LGBTQ+ employees. Make sure there are ways for people to report issues of discrimination or hate that they might witness.
Measure DEI+B issues Through Employee Surveys
Soliciting feedback from underrepresented groups can be tricky since you want to understand specific concerns but don’t want to violate confidentiality. If you have a survey consultant, they should be able to provide advice on best practices for measuring sensitive topics. Consider asking for demographic questions around identity, if appropriate for your organization, but make sure your communications around privacy, data policies, and data use are clear. (Multinational corporations operating in very intolerant areas of the globe where homosexuality is illegal need to tread particularly carefully here and ensure that their survey vendor adheres to the strictest data protection policies and methods.)
Besides just being the right thing to do, organizations that score higher in diversity issues on employee surveys tend to be more resilient and outperform other companies. If you want to learn more about how best to measure DEI+B join OrgVitality Partner and Vice President Victoria Hendrickson for her upcoming webinar on June 14th at 12 PM EST.
OrgVitality is committed to helping making a more equitable and just world.
If you want help measuring or understanding LGBTQI+ issues within your organization, we are offering free 1:1 meetings with an executive consultant through the month of June. Contact us today to see up a meeting.