How Can LGBTQIA+ Awareness Training Strengthen My Workforce?

by | Feb 8, 2024 | Corporate Governance

February is LGBTQIA+ History Month – an annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and non-binary history, including the history of LGBTQIA+ rights and related civil rights movements. The event is intended to raise awareness of, and combat prejudice against, LGBTQIA+ people and history.

In the United Kingdom LGBTQIA+ History Month is celebrated in February each year, to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28.  However, whilst progress is being made towards a more inclusive society, many people across the LGBTQIA+ community still face discrimination, exclusion and barriers to work. While supporting awareness celebrations is a great starting point and begins conversations, employers should incorporate them into their ongoing workplace trajectory towards creating inclusivity and supporting diversity.

 

LGBTQIA+ Workplace statistics – Inequality for Workers

LGBTQIA+ is an inclusive umbrella term that is often used to refer to the community as a whole. The UK census showed that over 1.5 million people identify as LGBTQIA+ in England and Wales and a 2023 survey by global leader in market research Ipsos of over 22,000 people across 30 countries indicated that the LGBTQIA+ population now averages 9%.

Whilst some progress towards an inclusive society is being made, a significant number of LGBTQIA+ people still face discrimination, exclusion and barriers at work. The Rainbow Britain report by Stonewall has found that:

  • More than 1 in 3 LGBTQIA+ workers have hidden or disguised their sexuality for fear of discrimination.
  • 40% of trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity
  • Two thirds of LGBTQIA+ people had experienced violence or abuse
  • Nearly 1 in 5 LGBTQ+ people said they were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity while trying to get a job

The Equality Act (2010) legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. This means that everyone, of any sexual orientation is protected from discrimination. Despite this, 1 in 8 lesbian, gay and bisexual people, and 1 in 5 transgender people say they wouldn’t feel comfortable reporting homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying to their employer.

 

As an employer, what can you do to fully support inclusivity and promote diversity in the workplace?

 

LGBTQ+ Awareness Training

The first step you can take towards promoting inclusivity in the workplace is to recognise where your organisation is currently and where you want to be. Many employers understand the law and legislation around LGBTQIA+ rights and recognise that The Equality Act (2010) states that “nobody can be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation”. And while the act is a starting point in highlighting unlawful behaviour, it stops short of breaking down all the barriers to equality in the workplace.

Knowing and understanding the law is not enough, employers need to:

  • invest in their people
  • engage with allyship programmes
  • create support programmes
  • use strong inclusive language in communications
  • create LGBTQIA+ networks
  • ensure benefits are LGBTQIA+ inclusive
  • establish senior/board support
  • celebrate your successes
  • train your staff

LGBTQIA+ Awareness Online Training

Organisations that offer LGBTQIA+ Awareness training in the workplace alongside other Equality, Diversity and Inclusion courses immediately demonstrate their commitment to building an open and accepting workplace.

Realsense blog - LGBTQ+ Awareness online training course example

Making sure that all your staff have access to the relevant information needed to create a fully inclusive workplace helps you create an environment that is free from prejudice. It’s important to remember, that while culture change and demonstrating inclusivity needs to start at the top of the organisation, all employees need to be involved and informed, so awareness training is for everyone.

Our industry leading course gives you an understanding of some of the issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community in the UK today and explains how to support diversity to create a positive and inclusive environment. It explores key LGBTQIA+ terminology, LGBTQIA+ history, rights, and law and focuses on the experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly at work.

You’ll learn about sexual orientation and gender identity, and the impact of discrimination and prejudice at work. The course helps support and promote workplace inclusion and explains how to play your part in becoming an ally to the LGBTQIA+ people around you.

Learning about the challenges faces by the LGBTQIA+ community increases empathy and understanding and helps eradicate discrimination. Raising awareness of what it means to show support and become an ally is a really important step towards inclusivity.

An LGBTQIA+ ally is someone who supports and advocates for the rights, equality and wellbeing of individuals within the LGBTQIA+ community. They may not personally identify as LGBTQIA+ but stand in solidarity with the community, actively working to promote inclusivity, acceptance and understanding. Awareness training helps you to learn about allyship, amongst many other things.

Becoming an ally is an ongoing process that requires continuous learning, active listening, and a commitment to support the LGBTQIA+ community. But remember, even small actions can make a significant different in creating a more inclusive and accepting world for all individuals.

 

The benefits of an LGBTQIA+ inclusive workplace environment

Teaching your staff how to reduce stigmatism within the workplace and making sure everyone is happy, comfortable and thriving in their working environment is essential. Much research has also shown multiple benefits of creating a more inclusive organisation. These include:

  • increased productivity and job satisfaction
  • improved creativity
  • improved employee engagement
  • reduced employee turnover
  • improved company reputation
  • improved cultural insights
  • increased profits
  • the potential to improve the customer service experience and reach out to new clients and audiences.

 

If you’d like to know more about changing workplace culture, promoting inclusivity and implementing LGBTQIA+ Awareness online training or find out about any of of our other HR and employment courses then please get in touch. We’re contactable via our website or in person on 01332 208500 and are always happy to share our own experiences of an evolving workplace culture.

Perhaps you need support with implementing your existing policies and procedures into a training or induction course, or want help updating your existing training – a number of the companies we work with have also implemented bespoke training packages and we’re more than happy to talk to you about these too.

If you already know what you need, our ready-to-go courses can be purchased online so you can be up and running immediately, ready to train your staff within minutes.