June is Pride Month, a month for members of the LGBTQ+ community to proclaim who they are.
While outright discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community was outlawed when the Equality Act came into effect in 2010, workplaces and education institutions can still be challenging places for LGBTQ+ people to safely express themselves, even if companies give their social media a rainbow filter.
You don’t have to use a slur to create a toxic and discriminative work environment; things such as ignorant and tone-deaf banter cause unhealthy work environments as well.
Creating inclusive learning environments is also extremely important to promote greater LGBTQ+ acceptance.
While the further education sector has made great strides in recent years, much more still needs to be done. A report published by World Skills UK identified several strategies to increase LGBTQ + acceptance in colleges, including encouraging out leadership, establishing a data-driven approach, and harnessing the power of networks.
We hope that these recommendations and a systemic approach to tackle LGBTQ+ discrimination will be embedded across all education providers over the next few years.
Homophobia in the workplace also causes far-reaching damage to its employees.
A study commissioned by The World Bank and conducted by IZA showed that gay men earn 5% less than their straight counterparts in the UK. LGBTQ+ workers also report less satisfaction in their jobs.
This lack of satisfaction can be caused by LGBTQ+ employees feeling unable to come out at work and causes them to exist in a state of constant conflict, forcing a rigid divide between personal and professional lives, harming both. Stonewall’s report, “Peak Performance,” spells out how draining it can be to work without ever disclosing their orientation while working in an unsupportive workplace.
A draining and hostile workplace can significantly increase employee turnover rates.
According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation research, nearly one in ten LGBTQ+ employees has left a job because of an unwelcoming atmosphere. Turnover is a huge cost to employers.
The cost of recruiting, training, and the loss of productivity is £30,000, for one employee, according to research by Oxford Economics and Unum. Is £30,000 per employee not a good enough incentive to create a workplace that allows everyone to shine?
What about when you lose top talent to competitors that will enable those employees to be the best versions of themselves?
This Pride is a fantastic opportunity to listen to your employees and learn how to be a vocal advocate for them.
Ash Austin at Collab Group says,
“If I’m not out at work, I stress about how to conceal my home life and, therefore, not being myself or totally focussing on my job. A hostile work environment prevents LGBTQ+ employees from fully concentrating on their work and reduces their willingness and ability to engage with the rest of the team.”
Collab Group is proud to have a diverse workforce in all areas and lead by example when engaging with our stakeholders. In recognition of the importance of these issues, we have integrated a module in the Collab Group Leadership Programme on LGBTQ+ inclusion.
Jonathan Foot at Compass Group UK and Ireland says,
“We support and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community at Compass Group UK and Ireland, we want our people to feel safe, supported and able to be themselves. We’re all about championing individuality and cultivating unity among our colleagues, to ensure everybody is treated with dignity and respect at work."
Compass have sponsored LGBTQ+ pride for a number of years and have been a vocal advocate of LGBTQ+ rights.