Think anti-discrimination policies are the end all…

Think anti-discrimination policies are the end all to making a workplace inclusive? Think again.

In recent years there’s been an influx in organizations striving for LGBTQ workplace inclusion. Arguably, most noticeable through the implementation of anti-discrimination policies. As of 2014, the Human Rights Campaign reported that of all Fortune 500 companies in the US, 91% had anti-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation and 61% based on gender. While these policies are essential components to ensuring all employees have workplace protections regardless of their gender and/or sexual orientation and illuminates the strides companies are taking to do so, this does not end discrimination.

In order for policies to be impactful, they must not only be put in place, they must be practiced. As of this year, 1 in 4 LGBTQ employees report having directly experienced some form of workplace discrimination at some point over the last five years (Out & Equal, 2017) . Organizations have to move beyond seeing policy creation as the solution to ensuring nondiscriminatory inclusive spaces, but rather as a piece to a much larger effort.

Seeing the bigger picture requires a look at organizational culture. Is there top-down support of anti-discrimination policies? Do those in leadership positions lead in modeling behavior and language that is inclusive to LGBTQ employees? Employees need to have a transparent system in place where they know how to report instances of harassment and discrimination. They need to see and hear individuals within their workplace express their support of an LGBTQ inclusive environment, and have clear communication from superiors and managers that work is a safe space to be their full self.

Studies show that 72% of LGBTQ allies are more inclined to accept a position at an LGBTQ inclusive organization over one that is not, given the positions are equal. As the need for finding and retaining top talent is a cross-industry push there are more eyes on inclusivity than ever before.

So, how do you ensure your organization adds up? Research shows that best practices for ensuring LGBTQ inclusion points to the need to make it a key organizational focus. This includes identifying how the organization will work towards inclusion, offering continuing education and training for employees, and reviewing meaningful data and statistics regarding the positive economical impacts LGBTQ inclusion has on employees, organizations, and consumers.

Need help doing this in your organization? Contact EnFocus Strategies.

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