For many LGBT employees, the choice of whether to be “out” in the workplace is still a difficult one. A quick Google search reveals an assortment of blog posts and recommendations about exactly how “out” to be when going in for a job interview. People all over the internet seem to be wondering whether or not to hide their LGBT-related activities when drawing up a resume, and about which large companies are most LGBT-friendly. One day, hopefully, the question of whether to be “out” at work won't even exist—but for now, companies that establish themselves as notably LGBT-friendly are doing their part to work toward a more inclusive and harmonious corporate world. Below are three important actions LGBT-friendly companies take to help foster and maintain a diverse corporate atmosphere.
1. Non-discrimination Policy
The most obvious practice of LGBT-friendly companies comes in the form of a written non-discrimination policy that covers sexual orientation and gender identity to be included in the employee handbook. While in some states this is federally mandated, the wording and expression of this policy in the handbook can set the tone for the company’s overall position on fostering diversity. The policy should outline your company’s position on discrimination, delineating that it applies to internal promotions, training, terminations, outside vendors, clients, consultants and contractors, and dealings with the general public. Needless to say, truly LGBT-friendly companies also follows this policy on a larger scale, by committing never to engage in corporate action that would undermine the greater goal of equal rights for the LGBT community.
2. Corporate Climate of Inclusiveness
LGBT-friendly companies also maintain a corporate climate of inclusiveness in their day-to-day operations. This includes respectful marketing to the LGBT community and support for LGBT related organizations and events. LGBT-friendly companies are “inclusive,” rather than simply “tolerant.” They maintain a corporate atmosphere in which diversity of sexual orientations is viewed as an asset. The antithesis of this would be a company that only discusses sexual orientation reluctantly in the employee handbook, in accordance with federal equal opportunity laws, as though it were an awkward issue that a company's management wishes it didn't have to address.
3. LGBT Employee Resource Group
One final potential asset to LGBT-friendly companies is the creation of a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employee resource group. This could happen by way of a diversity council or an employee group whose mission specifically includes LGBT diversity. While this model might not necessarily apply to the smallest companies, a company that seeks to be more LGBT-friendly could gauge interest in the creation of a resource group before officially establishing one.
Ultimately, becoming an LGBT-friendly company comes down to a dedication to equality in the workplace and a sense of creativity with which you address this undertaking. These aren’t the only things that should be done to create a diverse and inclusive corporate atmosphere—but this list is a good place to start! To learn more about LGBT-friendly business practices, establish business connections, and see what other LGBT-friendly businesses are up to, create an account with us here at GLBT Directory.
Creativity is key! Let us know what your company does to foster diversity, or what you think LGBT-friendly companies should be doing in the comments below.