LGBT Support in the workplace 
Sadly, even in 2019 there is still a real fear in the workplace of homophobia and exclusion for many LGBT people. Stories of being passed over for roles and promotions are still very real. The startling fact for gay and lesbian job seekers is that they are 5% less likely to be offered a job interview than heterosexual applicants with comparable skills and experience. 
In 2017, The Office for National Statistics, reported around 1.1 million people in the UK identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). Fast-forward to today, and LGBT identities are widely accepted and celebrated. As an employer it’s important that you’re able to keep up and adapt to change. 
We understand that it’s one thing to talk-the-talk and another to deliver, which is why we’ve compiled some examples of exactly how you can better support your LGBT employees. 
 
How can employers improve their support to LGBT employees? 
In 2017, The Office for National Statistics, reported around 1.1 million people in the UK identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). Fast-forward to today, and LGBT identities are widely accepted and celebrated. As an employer it’s important that you’re able to keep up and adapt to change. 
Despite various efforts to create a more inclusive workforce (we’ve previously discussed in our blogs about the benefits of an inclusive workplace), Stonewall - Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality; reported 35% of LGBT employees continue to hide their sexuality at work for fear of discrimination. 
As a result of these findings, Stonewall has called for employers to “develop zero-tolerance policies, develop clear routes to report anti-LGBT bullying and to take an active role in supporting trans staff”. 
 
Create an inclusive workplace 
Morally, it’s important to identify ways to create an inclusive culture within the workplace, as no-one should feel like they have to hide who they are in order to thrive. From a business perspective, employees who feel safe and supported are more likely to deliver greater results for the business. It’s been proven that companies who embrace LGBT policies outperform their competitors. 
 
Review Company Policies 
Review your company policies to ensure that they clearly support all employees. Make it clear, company-wide, exactly what your stance is on discrimination and harassment; with a clear process for reporting anti-LGBT bullying. Give employees the opportunity to contribute, as being made to feel part of something important can increase adoption. Employers must look to develop zero-tolerance policies, develop clear routes to report anti-LGBT bullying and to take an active role in supporting trans staff. 
 
 
Education 
Discrimination often comes from a lack of understanding. To combat this, you should consider running training sessions or workshops to make employees aware of all sexual orientations and gender identities. It’s important to deliver such content in a safe, supportive and constructive environment. 
Parental Leave and Entitlements 
Parental leave and pay are hugely important and often overlooked. Some employers already offer enhanced leave pay; however, it’s often not applied to same-sex couples or other parents. 
Maternity leave consists of 90% of an employee's weekly pay for the first 6 weeks, followed by 33 weeks of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) at £148.68 a week (or 90% of their average weekly earnings; whichever is lower). SMP can be a lot less than an employee earns causing a huge financial strain. 
As an employer you may wish to offer enhanced pay beyond SMP entitlement, for example; some companies pay 90% of an employee’s pay for the duration of their maternity leave. If enhanced pay isn’t a viable option, you could consider offering flexible leave to those adopting or undergoing IVF. 
Remember we’re trying to create an inclusive workforce, so it’s important that practices are applied consistently across the workforce. 
A Neutral Workplace 
Some companies have adopted inclusivity by introducing unisex toilets and ensuring the use of gender-neutral language, such as; ‘partner’ instead of husband or wife. 
Actively Support LGBT 
Attending or sponsoring events like ‘Pride’ is a good demonstration of your support for the LGBT community. It’s also useful when it comes to understanding the issues faced by the LGBT community and ensuring that they’re tackled within the workplace. 
Internal Communications and Networking 
Establish internal communication processes and networking opportunities to give employees the chance to meet people from across the business. This will also give employees the chance to discuss what’s working within the workplace and what can be improved, which leads us on to our final point; feedback. 
Feedback 
Before you make any changes it’s important to speak to your employees to understand what’s working and what could be changed in the workplace. Ensure that you speak to employees from across a variety of demographics to gain a true insight into the workplace culture. Ensure that feedback is confidential. 
Feedback ensures that you’re able to continually improve and develop the effectiveness of your workplace policies and culture. 
If you’re interested in how other employers are successfully creating inclusive workplaces, take a look at this year's 'top 100 employees: the definitive guide to the most LGBT inclusive employers in the UK’. 
 
We are also happy to discuss and assist you with implementing policies on this topic. 
 
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