Every Pride Month, countless businesses incorporate rainbows into their logos or hang pride flags in windows and lobbies representing LGBTQ+ identities. While we’ve come a long way in making colleagues of LGBTQ+ communities feel welcome in workplaces, studies show that major challenges for this community remain:
• 46% of LGBTQ+ people are hiding their sexuality at work, according to a 2018 study.
• The same study found that 1 in 5 LGBTQ+ workers have been instructed to dress more “masculine” or “feminine” compared to only 1 in 24 cisgender, straight workers.
• A third of LGBTQ+ workers report leaving jobs because of employer mistreatment, according to a 2021 study.
That last statistic is especially startling – employers who do not adequately address the inclusion or LGBTQ+ employees are effectively creating a retention crisis for their organizations. Meanwhile, companies that take steps to foster diversity and inclusion can attract and retain the best talent, decrease workplace conflict, and increase productivity and innovation.
But becoming the type of company that maximizes the potential of its workforce is no simple matter, especially when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community. Though LGBTQ+ colleagues can face rampant discrimination and stereotyping, sexuality and queer identities aren’t necessarily as visible as race or gender, making it more challenging to meet the community’s needs.
For employers who want to make a positive change, partnering with a diversity and inclusion expert is a great way to ensure that they are not missing opportunities to strengthen their workplace culture by specifically serving the LGBTQ+ community. June is a great time to reflect on your corporate policies to make sure they’re inclusive of all identities – to help you along the way, RALIANCE will continue to share resources on continually improving and optimizing workplace culture.
RALIANCE is a trusted adviser for organizations committed to building cultures that are safe, equitable, and respectful. RALIANCE offers unparalleled expertise in serving survivors of sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse which drives our mission to help organizations across sectors create inclusive environments for all. For more information, please visit www.RALIANCE.org.