The LGBTQIA+ community in India has made significant progress with several laws established to protect their rights and provide equal opportunities. However, the workplace remains challenging for the queer community despite these protections. Organizations have implemented policies to prevent discrimination, but more effort is needed to promote inclusivity and visibility and address implicit biases.
It is crucial to raise awareness continuously and promote sensitivity through ongoing education and interaction with queer employees to address this bias. To do this, we at Great Place To Work® India have a few actionable strategies that might take you closer to supporting your LGBTQIA+ employees.
A Policy That Supports Your Employees
Employers must go beyond having anti-discrimination policies and create a workplace that truly supports diversity, equity, and inclusion. A workplace should be safe and welcoming for employees from all backgrounds, including the LGBTQIA+ community. It can be achieved through a well-implemented DEIB policy that is upheld throughout all levels of the organization. However, more than just having a policy is needed. It is essential to ensure its effective implementation for true inclusion to occur.
Employee Resource Groups For LGBTQIA+ Employees
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) foster a welcoming and inclusive workplace. ERGs provide a safe space for members to discuss and address problems openly. Their main goal is to support members of a particular community, listen to their concerns, and bring those issues to management for resolution.
Having functioning ERGs is crucial for organizations to monitor the effectiveness of their policies and ensure inclusivity. ERGs also help community members and can drive the success of a business. With an active ERG, a company can claim to be indeed inclusive.
Mandate Gender Awareness Training For Leaders
The responsibility of creating a positive and inclusive work environment falls largely on the shoulders of managers and HR personnel. These individuals are crucial in ensuring that all employees are treated fairly and respectfully in the workplace. However, managers may sometimes need proper training and resources to have the skills and knowledge required to support and advocate for their LGBTQIA+ employees.
Display Pronouns In Email Signatures and Screen Names
Queer employees should feel at ease at their workplace, including being able to share their pronouns openly. To help, companies can encourage employees to include their pronouns in their email signatures and video call screen names. This helps ease the pressure on trans employees to reveal their pronouns and makes it easier for them to be themselves in a professional setting.
Leadership’s support, including having managers and executives also include their pronouns, boosts trust among trans employees and promotes inclusivity and respect.
Addressing misgendering and other inequities is necessary for creating a welcoming environment. Having a culture of accountability, where employees feel comfortable correcting misgendering or transphobic remarks, is crucial. Simply putting across the pronouns a person uses, such as they/ them, can help create a safe and inclusive workplace.
Gender Free Documentation Process
The onboarding process sets the tone for an employee’s experience within a company, so starting it off inclusive is essential. One way to do this is by using a gender-neutral data form that offers options beyond males and females. Let the employee choose how they prefer to express their gender, and when filling out forms, ask for their partner’s name instead of using the term “spouse.” It is inclusive for the LGBTQIA+ community and cisgender and heterosexual employees.
Recognition of LGBTQIA+ Employees
Acknowledge the achievements of LGBTQIA+ workers in the company to show them they are valued. By making their success stories prominent, you can reduce turnover and increase retention. It will also boost the morale of LGBTQIA+ employees and motivate them to perform even better. Remember, they are the representatives of your organization: honor and cherish them.
Embody the Value You Have Set
To embody the values of care, inclusion, and equality in your organization, it’s essential to implement them. In addition, if your organization is committed to promoting these values, you must take a stand and show your employees and the wider community what you believe. It means going beyond simply having value statements and taking concrete steps to demonstrate these values.
Silence in the face of essential issues sends a message in itself. However, by speaking up and taking action, your organization can show employees that it is committed to supporting the communities they live in. It can foster a sense of pride among employees and increase their loyalty and commitment to the company.
Moreover, employees will remember how their company acted during challenging times, which can have a lasting impact on the organization’s reputation and relationship with its employees. By demonstrating your commitment to care, inclusion, and equality, you can create a truly inclusive workplace that supports all employees, regardless of their background or identity.
The goal is to create a safe and inclusive work environment for LGBTQIA+ individuals to communicate openly and thrive in their careers. Although changing a widespread mindset is challenging, initiatives like this can contribute to breaking down barriers and promoting normalization around discussions of gender identity in the workplace. Over time, this could reduce discrimination and bias against the queer community in India.
Talk to our experts today to start your Inclusion journey! Here.