Why you need to diversify your hiring process

What are your thoughts on the LGBTQ+ atmosphere at work? Do you feel respected and valued? Diversity goes beyond just gender, race, ethnicity, and religion. It also involves embracing LGBTQ+ employees and fostering an inclusive environment for their success.

According to a study published earlier this year in the journal Equality Science found that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are more likely than heterosexuals to suffer from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. As workplaces aim to become more inclusive, it is important that individuals feel valued and respected.

The statistics show that about 3.1% of the UK population identifies as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Unfortunately, many people in this community feel the need to hide their identity at work due to fear of discrimination.

Shockingly, more than a third of employees have kept their LGBT status a secret for this reason. This level of secrecy has taken its toll on mental health, with a staggering 81% having experienced a mental health issue compared to 61% of their non-LGBTQ+ peers.

Employers need to understand the importance of a positive work environment and ensure that their employees feel valued and appreciated.

The Importance of Workplace Diversity

Throughout the course of history, members of the LGBTQ+ community have endured countless challenges and obstacles. From earlier generations to the present day, these individuals have faced similar struggles as other marginalised groups. Queer individuals were subjected to daily acts of verbal and physical aggression from both public figures and those in positions of authority. This mistreatment occurred not just in their personal lives but also extended into their professional careers. It can be argued that nowadays, employees may feel more at ease sharing their identities and pronouns at work. However, for many, it is still a difficult journey filled with hazards along the way.

Having a diverse workforce that is properly managed can actually save money and make more profit. According to a McKinsey report on workplace diversity, companies with diverse employees have financial returns that are 35% higher than the national average. This demonstrates the importance of having a diverse workforce, not only for fostering a positive work environment but also for enhancing overall job satisfaction and performance. Instances, where diversity has sparked innovative ideas and led to the success of companies, are clear evidence of its significance in the workplace.

Accepting employees and fostering a supportive environment can also be seen as part of promoting diversity in the workplace. It is not just about having women or people from different racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds; it's about recognising the value that LGBTQ+ individuals bring to businesses and creating an inclusive space where they can succeed.

How to Successfully Recruit LGBTQ+ Individuals

One of the initial steps towards making a workplace more inclusive for LGBTQ+ people is understanding how to attract and recruit them. To successfully recruit, companies should adjust their recruitment strategies to align with the specific preferences and needs of these individuals during their job search. Here are three effective methods for attracting top talent from the community.

-Do Market Research

To get a deeper understanding of what certain communities of people want and need, businesses should figure out what attracts them and what turns them away. One way to do this is by asking current LGBTQ+ employees for their thoughts. If there are not enough employees to survey, the company can look at surveys done by other organisations or diversity experts. Another could be the way the company is perceived to see if there are any patterns or areas for improvement. For example, leaders who encourage and demonstrate the use of gender pronouns in their place of work can greatly contribute to creating an inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels welcome. Additionally, engaging in inclusive advertising campaigns or collaborating with LGBTQ+ influencers or groups is another effective way to promote inclusivity.

-Create an LGBTQ+ Friendly Recruitment Process

If companies want to attract the best candidates, they should have a comprehensive approach that includes creating an inclusive employer brand. It's important for them to hire experienced recruiters who prioritise diversity and are adept at evaluating candidates from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, conducting market research can help identify opportunities to recruit individuals for internships with potential full-time positions afterwards. By implementing a recruitment process that is friendly toward LGBTQ+ people, companies will improve their chances of attracting and securing job acceptances from qualified applicants.

-Showcase LGBTQ+ Inclusive Policies and Practices

Another essential component of recruiting LGBTQ+ individuals is showcasing inclusive policies and practices. This can be done by publicly displaying non-discrimination policies that explicitly mention sexual orientation and gender identity. Companies can also highlight any employee resource groups or affinity networks they have in place. By showcasing these policies and practices, companies send a clear message that they value diversity and inclusion, creating a more inviting environment for LGBTQ+ individuals to consider as a potential employer.

-Ask for Employee Referrals

A lot of LGBTQ individuals often rely on employee referrals when looking for new job opportunities. To ensure that companies attract a diverse range of candidates, they need to have an inclusive approach and actively seek out LGBTQ applicants through their referral programs. It would be beneficial for companies to promote this focus among employees, making it clear that they encourage hiring diversity from the outset.

Workplace Diversity: Benefits for LGBTQ+ Individuals

After reviewing the employee benefits provided by your company, you may find that certain changes are necessary to ensure inclusivity for all. While there are many options available for employee benefits, here are some suggestions on the top perks that promote a welcoming environment and can improve your company's reputation when it comes to inclusion.

1. Inclusive Healthcare Coverage: Ensure that your healthcare coverage includes comprehensive coverage for transgender healthcare needs, including hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgeries.

2. Mental health support: Provide access to mental health resources that are specifically trained and knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ issues, such as therapists or counsellors who specialise in mental health.

3. Employee resource groups: Establish and support employee resource groups or affinity networks for LGBTQ+ individuals within your company.

Workplace Inclusion Programmes

Companies can create a more accepting workplace for LGBTQ employees and other diverse individuals by establishing a program that promotes diversity and inclusion. This program should include workshops, training sessions, and support from management and HR to ensure well-being. The primary goal is to cultivate an environment where all employees feel included.

Moreover, businesses have the option to collaborate with LGBTQ+ organisations or non-profit groups and encourage participation in events organised by these entities. By aligning their principles with those of relevant organisations, companies can showcase their commitment not just to supporting their own staff members but also to advancing equality within the community at large.

Including the appropriate communities in diversity and inclusion policies and programs can also result in cost savings by improving talent retention. Additionally, fostering a diverse and accepting work environment can enhance creativity, leading to innovative ideas.

What did we learn?

Hiring and fostering a positive workplace environment for LGBTQ employees is not just the right thing to do, it is also beneficial for businesses in multiple ways. By implementing inclusive policies and practices, companies can attract and retain diverse talent while promoting a culture of acceptance and respect. This can lead to improved employee satisfaction, increased creativity, and cost savings through higher retention rates.

Companies should prioritise inclusion by updating their non-discrimination policies, actively seeking out applicants through referral programs, and creating workplace inclusion programs specifically tailored to the needs of LGBTQ individuals. Collaboration with relevant organisations can further demonstrate a commitment to equality within the community.