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10 ways tech employers can be more inclusive towards the LGBTQ+ community.


10 ways tech employers can be more inclusive towards the LGBTQ+ community.

Every June people everywhere celebrate Pride Month, which is a celebration and recognition of the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community. It is observed by many countries around the world, and commemorates the Stonewall riots, which took place in June 1969 in New York City, and is considered a pivotal moment in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

Whilst Pride Month gives us an opportunity to see how much LGBTQ inclusivity has improved over the years, it also shines a light on areas that are still lacking. It should give employers an opportunity to review their policies and procedures to ensure they are as equal and diverse as they can be.

According to StemWomen.com, overall estimates suggest that LGBTQ+ people are roughly 20% less represented in STEM fields than expected. Not only this, but LGBTQ+ people who are part of the STEM workforce report more negative workplace experiences than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts.

Promoting inclusivity and diversity within the tech industry is crucial for creating a welcoming and supportive environment for the LGBTQ+ community. In support of Pride Month, we have decided to share a few ways that can help promote inclusivity within your company.

1. Implement broad non-discrimination policies

Companies should establish and enforce clear policies that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. These policies should be communicated to all employees and strictly enforced.

2. Provide LGBTQ+ diversity training

Employers should offer regular training sessions to educate employees about LGBTQ+ issues, including appropriate language for the workplace as well as during hiring and recruitment processes, respectful behaviour, and understanding unconscious biases. This training can help create awareness and foster a culture of respect and inclusion.

3. Establish employee resource groups (ERGs)

Companies should help to support the establishment of LGBTQ+ employee resource groups within the company. ERGs provide a platform for networking, support, and advocacy for LGBTQ+ employees. These groups can help create a sense of community and provide valuable insights to company leadership.

4. Offer inclusive benefits

Organisations need to ensure that employee benefits, such as healthcare coverage, include comprehensive coverage for LGBTQ+ individuals, including gender-affirming treatments, counselling, and other relevant services. Partnering with LGBTQ+ organisations can help to provide additional resources and support.

5. Promote LGBTQ+ representation

It is up to employers to actively seek out and promote LGBTQ+ representation within the company, from entry-level positions to leadership roles. This can be achieved through diverse hiring practices, promoting LGBTQ+ employees, and featuring LGBTQ+ individuals in marketing materials.

6. Support LGBTQ+ community organisations

Companies should engage with and support LGBTQ+ community organisations through partnerships, sponsorships, or volunteer opportunities. This demonstrates a commitment to the broader LGBTQ+ community and can contribute to positive change.

7. Create inclusive company events

It is important that companies ensure that any company events and social gatherings are inclusive and considerate of diverse identities. Avoid assumptions about gender or relationship status in event planning and promote events that celebrate diversity.

8. Foster an inclusive culture

Employers should encourage open communication, respect, and allyship within the workplace. It is essential to celebrate diversity and provide opportunities for employees to share their experiences and perspectives. Encourage senior leaders and managers to be visible allies and champions for LGBTQ+ inclusion.

9. Review hiring practices

A common downfall for many companies is during the hiring process. Employers and Hiring Managers need to evaluate and adjust hiring practices in order to attract a diverse range of candidates. They should implement strategies to mitigate unconscious biases in the recruitment process and ensure LGBTQ+ individuals are welcome and supported throughout the hiring process. Find out more about ways to improve your hiring process.

10. Collaborate with LGBTQ+ organizations

One way companies can support LGBTQ+ organisations is by partnering with them to help support initiatives, offer mentorship programs, internships, and scholarships specifically tailored for LGBTQ+ individuals interested in pursuing careers in technology.

Companies leading the way in supporting the LGBTQ+ community

Below are some examples of how these companies have helped become more inclusive employers and give visibility to the LGBTQ+ community.

Lloyds Banking Group

  • Their LGBT+ colleague network, Rainbow, plays a pivotal role in their approach, and with over 5,000 members and supporters, is one of the largest networks of its kind in the UK.
  • In 2016, they were the first UK-owned company to extend their Private Medical Benefit to include gender dysphoria.
  • They have created a mini-series which features a popular Drag Queen, who spoke with three colleagues from their Rainbow network about being always proud of their LGBT+ colleagues and customers.
  • Lloyds Banking Group been recognised in the outstanding Top 100 LGBT+ Allies leaders business lists.

Find IT jobs at Lloyds Banking Group here

Sky UK

Sky UK highlights from their LGBTQ+ network

NHS

NHS highlights from their LGBTQ+ and allies’ network

  • They organised a panel event with the LGBTQ+ networks from Health Education England and NHS England to discuss their experiences of pride in the workplace.
  • They engaged with NHS login to plan and produce LGBTQ+ sensitivity materials, with a focus on gender sensitivity.
  • They hosted speaker-led events on various topics including, ‘Trans experiences of healthcare’, ‘The benefits of allyship and staff networks’ and ‘Eradicating discrimination within one’s organisation’.
  • They were also named on the Stonewall Top 100 employers 2023 list

Remember that fostering inclusivity is an ongoing process that requires commitment and continuous improvement. By implementing just some of these strategies, the tech industry can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for the LGBTQ+ community.