Ways to support LGBTQ+ employees beyond Pride Month

By: Justin Taylor, Stakeholder Engagement Manager & Mia Comeriato, Chief Human Resources Officer

Each year, LGBTQ+ Pride Month is recognized in June. It’s an important month of recognition for the promotion of self-affirmation, dignity, equality, acceptance and increased visibility for members of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a time to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as a time to commemorate years of struggle for civil rights and the ongoing pursuit of equity.

During Pride Month, we see many companies making public gestures of support. Hundreds of major brands have become regular sponsors and supporters of annual Pride events, lending their platforms to support progress for the LGBTQ+ community.

While there are visible signs of progress, and landmark advances have been made in marriage equality and workplace protections, many challenges continue to persist in the workplace for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

As Pride Month comes to a close, it is important for us to continue the conversation and support LGBTQ+ rights year-round. It takes intentional and concerted effort to build an equitable and inclusive workplace that endures. To make meaningful progress for LGBTQ+ employees, employers can start with a few basics:

Implement policies and practices that are inclusive of LGBTQ+ issues. Employers can make health coverage inclusive of trans people; support leave for transitioning colleagues; have inclusive family leave policies; include gender-neutral restroom options in the workplace; and always ensure the use of inclusive language (such as all genders and pronouns) in policies and company communications.

Set clear expectations and stamp out inappropriate behavior. Employers can take steps to prevent and address microaggressions and depreciating behavior, starting with their leadership. They can encourage organization-wide diversity, equity and inclusion training and resources so that employees can recognize and respond to inappropriate behavior. Learning appropriate terminology can help employees understand and connect with one another.

Be intentional to make all employees feel safe and included. Employers can recognize and value openly LGBTQ+ employees at every level of the organization. They can also strengthen employee engagement by offering dedicated resources for LGBTQ+ employees. This can help ensure that potential and current employees feel safe and enjoy a sense of belonging. During the recruitment process, employers can broaden their pool of diverse candidates and adopt blind resume screening tools to reduce unconscious bias in hiring decisions.

Support career progression. Employers can actively support career progression and provide professional development opportunities for LGBTQ+ employees. This can include an effective mentorship program, career training opportunities, and awareness of broader support systems or resource groups.

At Goodwill, our purpose is to create an environment where all people can see possibilities, seize opportunities and prosper. Honoring this purpose, and creating an equitable workplace, takes all of us working together, being honest about the effects of systemic issues and other inequities experienced by members of the LGBTQ+ community, and all of us committing to real change – for the long haul. We all should be working to build an equitable and inclusive workplace year-round.

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