How employers can be allies



Throughout LGBTQ Pride Month in June, many companies showed solidarity with the community by changing their logos to rainbow designs and offering inclusive ads. Activists are now pushing companies to go beyond gestures of support and adopt inclusive and tangible policies.

Calls for accountability come at an uncertain time for LGBTQ equality. President Joe Biden has lent his support, from expanding federal protections against discrimination to LGBTQ people on the first day of his term in office to last week’s commemoration of the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016. But many anti-discrimination laws -LGBTQ have been introduced at the state level, many of which target transgender students.

Pride all year round

Companies that actively support LGBTQ employees do so not only during Pride Month, but throughout the year.

Bank of America’s LGBTQ strategy, known as Pride 365, is a year-round process. The bank places particular emphasis on important dates for the LGBTQ community, and not just Pride Month. “Throughout the year, whether it’s Pride Month or National Coming Out Day in October, International Transgender Visibility Day in March or Transgender Day of Remembrance in November, it always happens. something, â€said Alex Rhodes, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion. and Head of LGBTQ Corporate Strategy for Bank of America.

Four years ago, Rhodes oversaw a discussion on International Transgender Visibility Day on March 31. About 25 people attended. “This year in March, we had over 500 people online to talk about the visibility of transgender people, be allies of the community and learn about the impacts that are happening on this community,†he said. .

Bank of America helps other large corporations develop their own LGBTQ strategies. As the bank was one of the first companies to create a framework for welcoming and retaining transgender employees, it is now working with other companies to help them do the same. This type of outreach has provided LGBTQ employees at Bank of America with opportunities for leadership development and public speaking; they regularly speak at events such as the annual Out & Equal Workplace summit.

One of Bank of America’s partner companies is Owens Corning, based in Toledo, Ohio, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of fiberglass composites. Lindsey Kauffman, circular economy leader for Owens Corning, noted that June is actually the least busy month for her company when it comes to LGBTQ programming.

Kauffman, who heads Owens Corning’s LGBTQ employee resource group, first met with representatives from Bank of America at the Out & Equal 2019 conference. The bank was discussing best practices for supporting employees who are in the gender transition process, which quickly came in handy when Owens Corning began to reassess its own guidelines. “We had transition guidelines for employees, but they were pretty outdated and not that specific,†Kauffman said. “Some of the things we saw at the conference were more where we wanted to be.”

Owens Corning then began working directly with Bank of America to reshape its transition guidelines. “We have created a guide for employees,†she said. “So if you’re considering a transition and you’re working here, there’s a communication plan: who you can talk to, resources, expectations, and medical benefits. And then at the other end for the manager of that person, [the guide shows them] how they can help the employee and discuss some things that may arise and how to respond to them. “

Inclusive hiring practices

Hiring is one of the most visible ways to support the LGBTQ community, and it also benefits the business.

Millennium Management LLC, based in New York, is the largest employer in the hedge fund industry. James Malick, Global Head of Strategy at Millennium, stressed that human capital is the key asset of his industry. Therefore, it is imperative that Millennium implements best practices to attract, develop and retain talent.

“The top management of Millenium places a very high value on diversity and inclusion,†said Malick. “And it’s not just because it’s the right thing to do. It’s also because it’s the best thing for our employees. It’s important to engage our workforce, and so on. equally important in recruiting the next best person. “

Adzuna, an Indianapolis-based job search engine, recently analyzed job postings in 10 countries that host major Pride Parades to determine which regions have the most LGBTQ job postings. The study found that only about a quarter of job postings in the United States actively encourage applications from job seekers within the community.

It should be noted that many employers welcome LGBTQ workers, but have not updated their job postings to reflect this; Adding inclusive language or a diversity statement is a simple step to encouraging applications from minority groups, explained Andrew Hunter, Adzuna co-founder.

Hunter added that publicly showing solidarity with the LGBTQ community for Pride Month is a positive step towards inclusion. But true LGBTQ inclusion must go beyond a branding exercise. “We strongly encourage all companies that embrace the Rainbow for June to take a close look at their internal hiring processes and policies to ensure they truly support the LGBTQ + community, starting with using inclusive language. in the hiring process, â€he said. “Beyond that, employers should also consider updating the policy with gender-neutral language as well as adding options like parental leave for all genders, or other benefits like adoption leave. . These policies should be clearly outlined in employee literature so that existing and new employees know what support will be available to them without needing to ask. “

[Want to learn more about how you can support your LGBTQ employees? Join us at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2021, taking place Sept. 9-12 in Las Vegas and virtually.]


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