LGBTQ+ Employees Are Less Satisfied At Work: 7 Ways To Be More Inclusive
It’s been an incredibly turbulent year, with a much-needed increase in focus on social justice and human rights issues, especially within the insurance industry. As a society, we are much more aware of the impact of intersectionality in this conversation, too — discrimination becomes more pronounced where race, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation intersect.
Those issues are affecting people in the workplace as well, where discrimination remains all too real for the LGBTQ+ community.
Even though people with different experiences, culture and knowledge are the fuel that can make a company increase innovation and growth, corporations seem to be falling short in creating a safe environment for all. A McKinsey research shows that three in 20 LGBTQ+ women believe that their sexual orientation will negatively affect their career advancement at work. For LGBTQ+ men, this number is even higher, at six in 20.
Companies can say they are diverse or inclusive, but if employees don’t feel that way, both the company and the employee are being impacted. Companies are missing to hire a portion of talent, and the communities don’t have the same career development opportunities. The McKinsey research shows that:
- LGBTQ+ employees experience “onlyness.” That is, being the only one on a team or in a meeting with their given gender identity, sexual orientation, or race, which increases stress and more pressure to perform. LGBTQ+ women of color are eight times more likely than straight white men to report onlyness.
- LGBTQ+ women, especially bisexual ones, also experience more microaggressions, like hearing demeaning remarks about them or people like them.
- They feel as though they need to provide more evidence of their competence.
- LGBTQ+ women are also more than twice as likely as straight women to feel as though they cannot talk about themselves or their life outside work
- LGBTQ+ employees that don’t feel safe enough at work won’t self-identify, making them feel less happy with their careers and more prone to change jobs.
Glassdoor data shows that LGBTQ+ employees are less satisfied at work compared to their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. LGBTQ+ employees gave their companies an average overall company rating of 3.27 stars out of 5 – that’s below the average overall rating for non-LGBTQ+ employees (3.47).Scott Dobroski, VP of Corporate Communications and a member of Glassdoor’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group. “While many companies will turn their logos and social profiles to rainbows for Pride Month, creating a more equitable company is more than just symbolic or superficial moves. It’s about action. Company leaders should take time to solicit feedback from their LGBTQ+ employees to better understand what’s working well and what needs improvement to further support their workers.”As per Glassdoor research, among ten employers with at least 25 reviews by LGBTQ+ employees:
- Apple has the highest overall company rating among LGBTQ+ employees with a 4.14 rating, followed by Starbucks (3.56) and Target (3.31).
- Wells Fargo has the lowest overall company rating with a 2.65 rating. Other lower rated companies include Walmart (2.70) and Amazon (2.85).
Companies of all sizes should create and sustain an inclusive and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ employees. Lin Cherry, Chief Legal Officer and head of diversity and inclusion at Wizeline, a software development and design services company with 1100 employees, said in an interview with Forbes that “Companies need to take responsibility for diversity and inclusion. Corporations have such an important role in moving public opinion; laws are not enough. If people don’t self-identify, they are not living their life to the fullest.”She recommends that companies demonstrate their support for the community visibly. It is not easy for all companies to create an authentic, inclusive culture. Wizeline for example, had a very diverse employee base from the beginning, given that the founder, Bismarck Lepe, was a minority himself, being a son of immigrants from Jalisco, Mexico.Bismarck created Wizeline in Guadalajara. He knew that talent was everywhere, so he decided to create more opportunities by building Wizeline Academy, which offers free education to fill in some of the talent gaps and help develop the community.Lin Cherry added that they also have ERGs, or employee resources groups that organize LGBTQ+ open talks such as “my journey as a gay man in tech,” or “happy to be me a transgender woman.” They “spark other Wizeliners to feel open about telling their story and promote self-identification.”Cherry highlighted the importance of instilling inclusivity into the recruiting process, as sometimes people don’t even take a job when they feel that the company is not inclusive or safe. Doing a recruitment handbook can help recruiters provide an inclusive experience for all candidates.
Companies can start making a difference by following these seven recommendations:
- Create structural support for trans employees. This includes making health coverage inclusive of trans people, supporting leave for transitioning colleagues (including bathrooms with all-gender options), allowing changes to documents and records, and ensuring that HR systems are inclusive of all employees’ genders and pronouns.
- Provide training to all employees to prevent and address microaggressions and demeaning behavior, encourage a pronoun-friendly culture and create reporting channels to investigate and correct inappropriate behavior.
- Consider diversity throughout the entire employee experience, from hiring to developing and departing. Surveys and pulses can help provide information about how employees feel or why employees are either choosing the company or leaving. Training recruiters by providing booklets and implementing blind resume screenings (removing names and gender signifiers) can also help reduce unconscious bias during hiring.
- Help in their development, providing sponsors to support career progression and individual coaching sessions.
- Create an LGBTQ+ ERG (employee-resource group). ERG’s bring people together to learn about each other and promote respect for everyone no matter what. They create a safe space and organize activities that are open to everyone, not just people of the community, such as films or talks, to learn from and support each other.
- Promote inclusivity in remote-working environments. Working from home and videoconferencing can expose more minority communities because others can see their personal lives and make them feel more isolated. Leaders and team members should help by offering more frequent one-on-one sessions to see how they are doing, make sure everyone participates in meetings and be more aware of personal needs.
- Get certified by the HRC, Human Rights Campaign. Launched in 2002, the HRC Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index has become a roadmap and benchmarking tool for US businesses in the evolving field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer equality in the workplace.
Building a we culture, psychologically safe for LGBTQ+ and other minorities so that they feel OK to be themselves should be a priority for companies to get access to a bigger talent pool, get the best out of their people, and retain and engage them in the long term.