For June, which is LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Pride Month, we’re providing a valuable tool to share with all your employees as you continue their education in cultural competence.
[This Meeting in a Box tool is designed for distribution to all employees. You may use portions of it or all of it. Each section is available as a separate PDF; you can forward the entire document or link to it on DiversityInc Best Practices; or you can print it out for employees who do not have Internet access.]
• Below is a Timeline of barriers that have been broken, major legislation and legal decisions, protests and landmark events impacting LGBT people and their allies.
• Facts & Figures on demographics of open LGBT people; income/buying power/customer loyalty; and major LGBT people in business, sports, entertainment and politics.
• And our cultural-competence series, “Things NOT to Say,” focuses on LGBT people this month. This information should be distributed to your entire workforce and used by your LGBT/allies resource group, internally and externally, as a year-round educational tool.
[CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the full Meeting in a Box, our diversity-management training and educational tool available only to Benchmarking customers and DiversityInc Best Practices subscribers.]
1. HISTORIC TIMELINE
The landscape for LGBT rights and being open has changed dramatically over the past few years, perhaps most notably with the legalization of same-gender marriage in June 2015. It’s more vital than ever for your workforce to be culturally competent and to understand what LGBT equality means. We recommend you start your employees’ cultural-competence lesson by using this Timeline, which documents LGBT organizations, important “firsts,” fights against discrimination and significant political and legal changes in the United States. It’s important to discuss how rapidly rights for the whole LGBT community are evolving and what that means for corporations, schools, religious institutions and government.
Discussion Questions for Employees
How can we build an atmosphere of inclusion, regardless of our personal or religious views?
Have you ever heard people at work making homophobic comments? What did you do? Do you know what your corporate policies are on hate speech at work? Discuss what it’s like for companies located in states like North Carolina and Mississippi and what your company would do in those circumstances.
Why are “firsts” important to note? What other barrier breakers have you witnessed in your lifetime?
This is a personal discussion designed to help employees note other barrier breakers historically. How does someone prominently in the news, like Caitlyn Jenner, impact others in the LGBT community? This discussion can be further explored after the Facts & Figures section below is discussed.
2. FACTS & FIGURES
After discussion of the Timeline, the next step is to review available data and understand why the ability for more LGBT people to be open and treated equally under the law has profound societal and business implications. It’s also critical to note that almost everyone has an LGBT relative or friend, and that straight allies also frequently make purchasing and business decisions based on whether they perceive an organization to be inclusive.
This page includes the DiversityInc Top 9 Companies for LGBT Employees. In compiling this list, we look at best practices that create an inclusive workplace for LGBT employees, as well as relationships with LGBT communities outside of the company. All companies have the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) 2016 rating of 100%. Other best practices examined for this list include:
• Having active LGBT employee resource groups
• Percentage of philanthropic endeavors aimed at LGBT nonprofits
• Whether the company attempts to track the number of LGBT employees, including voluntary disclosure
• Whether the company certifies LGBT vendors with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
• Percentage of procurement spent with certified LGBT vendors
Discussion Questions for Employees
Since many national figures have come out, is it easier for employees in your organization to come out?
How would you feel if you couldn’t show a photo of your significant other at work or talk about what you did over the weekend? Discuss if this has gotten better as more prominent people have publicly come out.
Is there a difference for gay and lesbian people coming out and bringing their full selves to work compared to transgender people?
Transgender rights specifically have been brought to the forefront this year, particularly with North Carolina passing its discriminatory bathroom law, which prevents transgender people from using the public restroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Discuss other possible challenges unique to transgender employees.
Why are LGBT people and their allies so loyal to specific customer brands?
How should consumer-facing companies let them know that the company is gay-friendly? How should B-to-B companies communicate to clients about their inclusive culture? Discuss the positive impact this transparency could have on a company’s reputation — and its bottom line.
How can you use your resource groups to reach out to the LGBT community and its allies, internally and externally?
Does your company have an LGBT resource group and, if so, are you a member? Does your group have the words “allies, friends or straight” in its title, and does it clearly communicate that it’s a group for everyone? Is your group sponsoring community events as well as internal events?
3. THINGS NOT TO SAY TO LGBT PEOPLE
Our popular “Things NOT to Say” series includes interviews with LGBT leaders about offensive phrases they’ve heard in the workplace and how to best respond to them to further cultural-competence education. We also published “5 Things NOT to Say to Transgender People.”
Discussion Questions for Employees
What other phrases have you heard, often uttered “innocently,” in the workplace that are offensive to LGBT people (comments like “That’s so gay” or “I don’t care about a person’s sexual preference”)? When dealing with a transitioning employee, do you know what pronouns are preferred or what questions are considered rude?
Discuss how these phrases and stereotypes impact office morale and productivity. For more information on appropriate terms and definitions regarding transgender people, visit GLAAD’s Transgender FAQ.
What active role should the company play when offensive comments occur?
Have the employees talk about under what circumstances they would report offensive comments and what they believe the company should do.
Video on why one diversity leader — Wyndham Worldwide, No. 27 on the 2016 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list — supports LGBT movements: