As a proud supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, Colonial Life and Unum are making sure Pride has a home in the workplace. According to a Human Rights Campaign Foundation report, nearly half 46%, of LGBTQ+ employees do not share their sexual orientation or gender identification in the workplace. Often, there’s a fear of being judged, excluded, or isolated in the office.
As a corporate ally and leader, it’s vital we provide ample opportunities to discuss ways business executives, hiring managers and employees can overcome any unintended biases for existing and future employees. Here are just a few ways I’ve tried to cultivate inclusivity in the workplace:
- Remain open to dialogue. Managers can have conversations with their teams about what inclusion looks like within your department. This will help to highlight what strategies are working and which ones need more consideration. It’s worthwhile to talk with both LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ employees to get a better understanding of inclusivity and diversity issues from both perspectives and then refer employees to your company’s anti-discrimination policy.
- Avoid judgement. Allow colleagues to identify as gender neutral, specifically on documents for new hires or open enrollment, or allow ‘prefer not to answer’ as an option. A transgender person may choose to use pronouns he/him, she/her, they/their or other combinations. Follow their lead by using their preferred descriptor.
- Do your homework. Educate yourself and your team to know best practices and look for helpful – unbiased – resources online like the Pride Foundation.
- Embrace differences. For #PrideMonth2021, search online and at your company for local and virtual events; and share experiences within your organization using multi-media storytelling.
Beyond the month of June, there are ongoing opportunities to embrace inclusivity. Our culture is defined and guided by our corporate values: A caring spirit, an unwavering customer focus, a passion for delivering results, an appreciation for differences, and an appetite for taking smart risks. Across workplaces and communities, we must celebrate our LGBTQ+ colleagues this month and every month. We must remain proud of PRIDE and unwavering in our efforts to create more equitable, diverse, and accepting places to work.