Tips to Get Started on Creating an LGBT-Inclusive Workplace
Succeeding as a small business owner is more challenging than ever, especially during this unprecedented pandemic. It requires not only having a sound business plan, but the ability to attract and retain top talent who, in today’s marketplace, increasingly prefers to work for businesses with a clear commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I).
Now more than ever employers must understand how diversity and inclusion can be infused into every aspect of their business, including day-to-day operations. All too often a simple misstep can be interpreted as offensive or even discriminatory and quickly become a public relations crisis. Navigating this ever-changing landscape becomes easier when businesses know where to turn to get smarter.
Regardless of where you are in your journey, here are some guiding principles that can help show stakeholders you walk the walk when it comes to LGBT inclusion:
- Be authentic: Take actions that demonstrate you are committed to LGBT inclusion and involve employees and customers when identifying priorities and setting goals. What works in some environments may not be what is needed in your specific workplace. Admitting you do not always know the answers helps build trust with your team and your customers, and can create space to get it right versus doing it quickly.
- Be transparent: Communicate openly and consistently about your DE&I efforts with internal and external stakeholders. Let others know why LGBT inclusion is important to your business and share progress along the way. When your outreach is bi-directional, you build a collaborative team that has a common mission of making inclusion a reality.
- Be accountable: Measure progress and establish standards of conduct to reach your DE&I goals. The small and large businesses that created LGBT inclusive workplaces have clearly defined what DE&I success looks like: increased employee diversity, standards of acceptable conduct and lower attrition, among other benchmarks. If you tie everyone’s annual performance and compensation to achieving inclusion objectives, DE&I becomes a priority and not something left up to chance.