Not So Fabulous

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. While progress has been made there is opportunity to do better

1/8/20244 min read

LGBT work experiences, fostering inclusion & diversity
LGBT work experiences, fostering inclusion & diversity

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. While progress has been made, the experiences of LGBTIQ+ professionals continue to highlight the need for more inclusive practices.

This article explores the challenges faced by LGBTIQ+ individuals at work, the significance of inclusive workplace policies, and the current state of diversity in the professional landscape.

The Workplace Experiences of LGBTIQ+ Individuals

Many LGBTIQ+ professionals have faced unique challenges in the workplace, and recent statistics from the Williams Institute UCLA School of Law highlight the extent of these challenges. According to their September 2021 report:

  • 46% of LGBT workers have experienced unfair treatment at work at some point in their lives.

  • 9% of LGBT workers experienced discrimination in the past year.

  • 57% of LGBT employees reported that the unfair treatment was motivated by religious beliefs.

  • 38% of LGBT employees reported experiencing harassment at work.

  • 34% of LGBT employees have left a job due to treatment by their employer.

Additionally, the Diversity Council of Australia Out At Work study, conducted in partnership with RMIT University in 2018, found that LGBTIQ+ employees who are not out to everyone at work are twice as likely to feel down as employees who are out to everyone. They are 45% less likely to be satisfied with their job.

The Importance of Inclusive Workplace Policies

Inclusive workplace policies are pivotal in creating an environment where LGBTIQ+ professionals thrive. Research indicates that companies with explicit non-discrimination policies for sexual orientation and gender identity are more likely to attract and retain top talent from the LGBTIQ+ community. According to the Williams Institute report:

  • 50% of LGBT employees are not out to their current supervisor.

  • 26% of LGBT employees are not out to any co-workers.

Beyond policies, organisations are increasingly adopting training programs to raise awareness about diversity and inclusion. In every instance, this will involve a program planning session(s) followed by individual assessments and debriefs for the employees involved.

At HiR, we focus on working with LGBTIQ+ owned organisations of any size, bringing diverse teams closer together, growing their leaders, and building out teams. With larger organisations, we provide targeted support for existing LGBTIQ+ rising and critical talent and help improve diversity through talent acquisition projects.

Strategies for Organisations to Create an Inclusive Work Environment

Creating an inclusive work environment requires a comprehensive approach beyond policies and training. One effective strategy is establishing affinity groups, or Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) focused on LGBTIQ+ inclusion. These groups provide a platform for networking, mentorship, and a sense of community, contributing to higher job satisfaction and retention rates.

Furthermore, companies can actively support Pride Month and other relevant events, demonstrating a commitment to diversity and inclusion. According to the Diversity Council of Australia Out At Work study:

  • 74% of LGBTIQ+ respondents in the survey said that it was important to them to be able to be out at work.

  • Only 32% were out to everyone with whom they work.

In February 2022, employment and workplace experts Gallup found that only 17% of LGBT employees strongly agree that their organisation cares about their well-being. This is compounded by the finding that LGBT employees are less likely to be thriving and more than twice as likely to have experienced depression and anxiety.

The Deloitte Global, 2023 LGBT+ Inclusion @ Work report provides deep insights into the experiences of 5,474 LGBT+ people in workplaces across 13 countries. According to the report:

  • One-third of all respondents want to change employer to one more LGBT+ inclusive.

  • Four in 10 respondents (42%) have experienced non-inclusive behaviours in a work context.

  • Just less than half say they are confident they experienced them as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity, with around one-third saying they strongly suspect this to be the reason.

But Get it Right, or do a bit better and THRIVE; the DCA research found that 'Being Out at Work Drives Performance' LGBTIQ+ employees who are out to everyone at work are:

  • 50% more likely to innovate than workers who are not out to everyone.

  • 35% more likely to work highly effectively in their team.

  • 28% more likely to provide excellent customer/client service.

Talent & Recruitment Programs by HiR

At HiR, understanding and leveraging individual strengths is vital to fostering a genuinely inclusive and productive workplace. Our Talent & Recruitment Programs are designed to support organisations in identifying and harnessing the strengths of their LGBTIQ+ talent. We work closely with organisations, irrespective of size, to bring diverse teams together, grow leaders, and build cohesive, high-performing teams.

For larger organisations, we provide targeted support for existing LGBTIQ+ rising and critical talent, enhancing diversity through talent acquisition projects. Our bespoke programs involve program planning sessions, individual assessments, and debriefs, fostering a culture where strengths are recognised and utilised for success.

Recruitment with a Strengths Approach

Are you an LGBTIQ+ business owner or leader looking to build out or replace talent? HiR Strength is here to support you with our full-service recruitment expertise. Our consultants can act as partners, supporting specific stages of the process and leveraging the power of Strengths to drive your organisation forward.

We provide project-based support for organisations committed to a more diverse workforce but need help attracting a wider variety of applicants or achieving diversity and inclusion goals. Helping to ensure you get all the benefits of having LGBTIQ+ talent in your workplace.

Talent Development Tailored for LGBTIQ+ Colleagues

At HiR, we believe in a tailored employee experience and offer support for you and your LGBTIQ+ colleagues. Our Development Programs are designed to support LGBTIQ+ employees, with customisable content aligning with your corporate training and development strategy.

As an alternative to mainstream providers, we support Graduate and Apprenticeship Programs, rising and critical talent, or assist with performance improvement interventions through an LGBTIQ+ lens. Suppose you find yourself in the challenging position of making redundancies or downsizing involving LGBTIQ+ team members. In that case, our programs combine established content and lived experience to ensure this cohort is catered to effectively.

We aim to enhance employee engagement, connection, and well-being in every instance, contributing to a workplace where individuals, teams, and organisations can thrive.