The past year has been anything but normal and a lot has changed because of the coronavirus pandemic. One thing that hasn't changed is that diversity and inclusion remain to be vital values. In line with this, it's more important than ever to make sure all employees feel appreciated and valued.
What is LGBT+ History Month
LGBT+ History Month is an observation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history. It's a great time to recognise the contributions of LGBT+ peers, learn a little more about the history, celebrate diversity and consider the ways to create a more inclusive workplace. The aim of the month is to not only highlight the progress that the world has made in regard to LGBT+ inclusion but also highlight the steps we need to take.
Why is it important to celebrate LGBT+ History Month?
Employment laws regarding sexual orientation and gender identity have only been implemented in the last 20 years or so. Nowadays more and more employers are understanding the need to comply with equality laws, recognising that workplace diversity cannot be ignored and needs to have HR policies in place to ensure the inclusion of all people, from all walks of life.
Overall, it’s important that business and HR leaders check in and ensure their employees are feeling happy to come to work and remain happy within their teams and the wider workplace. A report from Stonewall indicated more than 30% of LGBT+ workers say they have hidden their true identity at work, so this tells us just how important it is to address LGBT+ equality.
Here’s how you can celebrate LGBT+ History Month in the (albeit remote) workplace:
Before creating educational opportunities for employees, business and HR leaders need to make sure they’re well versed in the history and weight of LGBT+ History. Undertaking diversity and unconscious bias training ensures a greater awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion. Another opportunity for employers to promote LGBT+ History Month is by providing general information to the wider employees, this could be using posters and online content. Stonewall have created several resources that can be used to help raise awareness.
Volunteering and supporting LGBT+ causes
Small LGBT+ community centres are always looking for extra support. While most of the time, they’re ideally looking for monetary donations, giving your time and skills can also be an important contribution. If your company has a marketing, web development or design department, your help could directly increase awareness of their centre. As we’ve mentioned before, money alone is no longer an effective method for employee recognition, more and more employees would rather opt for something else than just monetary incentives. Why not offer paid for voluntary days or other options, so employees can easily contribute to LGBT+ charities?
Hold celebratory workplace events
Whether this be a quiz over lunch or after work or some other form of educational event, part of celebrating LGBT+ History Month is learning about the leaders and activists who have worked tirelessly to achieve rights for LGBT+ individuals. By holding internal panel discussions, LGBT+ colleagues within an organisation can share their personal stories and highlight the support their company has demonstrated. Has your company ever hosted a happy hour, meetup or celebration for a big milestone? If not, there’s no better year than 2021 to create events, even if they’re virtual, to mark such occasions. Perhaps, you work with several clients or suppliers who would also be interested in participating in such events.
Demonstrate a commitment to equal policies
LGBT+ month is as a greater time as any to celebrate a diverse workforce. It’s key to promote equal opportunities in employment and remind employees of policies already in place, designed to safeguard the interests of all employees. The direct impact of this will encourage inclusion and eradicate any prejudice that may arise in your workplace.
Establish an ally network
An employee network is designed to create a safe and inclusive workplace, making it clear that there is an open and tolerant mindset within an organisation. LGBT+ History Month is the perfect time to host an ally launch event, to raise awareness of the importance of allies, especially amongst senior management teams.
If you would like to find out how Virgin Incentives can help to enhance your diversity and inclusion programmes, call our team on 0330 111 3131 or complete this short form and we will be in touch.