Fostering Inclusivity: Supporting LGBTQ+ Employees in the Workplace
Pride Month is an opportunity to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and to acknowledge the challenges that they continue to face. For LGBTQ+ employees, the workplace can be a source of both acceptance and discrimination. As an employer, it's important to create an environment where every employee feels safe, respected and empowered, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Here are some ways that employers can support LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace.
Foster an Inclusive Workplace
One of the most important things that an employer can do to support LGBTQ+ employees is to create a safe and inclusive workplace. Employers can promote belonging and allyship by helping employees form support networks within the company. For example, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)—which are voluntary employee-led groups formed around shared identities or interests, such as LGBTQ+ employees—provide a platform for networking, support, and advocacy within the organization. Employers can support ERGs by providing meeting spaces, funding for events, and leadership development opportunities. Additionally, employers should create opportunities for cross-cultural interactions and learning and foster an environment where diversity is celebrated.
Recognize Unique Financial Challenges
LGBTQ+ employees face unique financial challenges. For example, for LGBTQ+ employees who are looking to start a family, they may be up against the high costs of surrogacy or adoption. There are also legal and social barriers that may impact their ability to access their partner’s retirement accounts or insurance. Additionally, LGBTQ+ employees may have experienced pay inequities during their careers due to previous biases and discrimination. To help combat that, employers can conduct regular pay equity analyses to ensure that all employees are paid fairly. Employers can also offer inclusive family planning benefits, such as adoption assistance or fertility treatments as well as retirement savings and insurance plans that allow employees to add their partners, regardless of marital status.
Offer Financial Planning Resources
Employers can further support the financial well-being of LGBTQ+ employees by offering financial planning resources and tools that address their unique challenges. Financial wellness programs should include education and digital tools that help all employees budget, save, invest and manage their financial lives. In addition, employers can offer access to a diverse set of financial planners who provide specialized advice on topics such as family planning, insurance considerations, and the tax implications of domestic partner benefits. These resources and personalized advice can contribute to the financial well-being of LGBTQ+ employees and help them make better informed decisions about their financial future.
Employers need to ensure all employees feel welcome, safe, and comfortable enough to bring their whole selves to work. This Pride Month, employers can foster inclusivity and belonging among their LGBTQ+ employees by displaying Pride flags or banners around the workplace, updating their logo or website with Pride colors, and donating to LGBTQ+ charities or organizations. This can help show solidarity while creating a positive impact on the broader LGBTQ+ community.
Pride Month is a great opportunity to show support for the LGBTQ+ community, but it's important to make sure that this support extends beyond the month of June. By committing to ongoing efforts to support LGBTQ+ employees, employers can help to create a more just and equitable workplace for all.