As we enter the season to celebrate gay pride across the country, and the world, we’ll see tonnes of rainbows in festivals, parties and celebrations; some of the biggest celebrations for the LGBT community that we see.
The percentages of those openly identifying as LGBT in society are still small overall, but the identification increases by three times as much in the 16-24 year old age group.
The age group entering the workplace.
The age group that is going to be applying to your organisation for employment.
Saying that you’re a fair employer by essentially just turning a blind eye to sexual orientation in the workplace, and pretending it’s not a big deal, is no longer an option. Sadly “one in five LGBT employees have experienced verbal bullying from colleagues, customers or service users because of their sexual orientation in the last five years.”
So how, as an employer, can you ensure that you’re acknowledged as being a champion for diversity.
Have your own Pride celebration in the workplace.
Encourage non-LGBT staff members to attend a pride celebration with their LGBT co-workers to foster understanding and build great relationships.
Train all employees and managers in diversity awareness.
Stamp out any and all homophobic behaviour, even down to that which people believe to be ‘banter’ or jokes but can be hurtful and/or offensive.
Involve LGBT employees in how best to promote the diversity agenda in the workplace, give them a voice and celebrate them.
Think about becoming a Stonewall Diversity Champion
Not employees will agree with your stance and followers of certain religions and beliefs are still opposed to LGBT life. You need to move slowly and carefully and not try to drag everyone along with you. Respect the differences in opinion, that’s true diversity, but ensure that homophobia isn’t tolerated in your organisation.
Becoming a true diversity champion takes time, it’s not something that you can claim to be overnight. It requires a change in culture across the organisation and a willingness, from everyone, to commit to the principles of diversity. However, small steps toward embracing diversity and championing inclusion for all will help you on the way.
If you decide to take part and celebrate Pride season, let us know what you’re up to and share you pictures with us.
If you are an employer and need assistance with staff and employment matters, talk to Cheryl at PeakHR. We offer competitive rates and cater specifically for small employers.
Please note our blog posts contain general information and are intended as guidance only and should not be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. Please ensure that you obtain advice tailored to your individual situation before taking action. These posts apply to the UK only.