Written Wednesday 1st February 2023

LGBT History Month 2023: How to retain LGBT employees

Your recruitment processes may be proudly inclusive, and you may be vocal about hiring people from all backgrounds. However, if you don’t work hard to retain your new colleagues and continue this inclusive experience throughout their tenure with you, it’ll all have been in vain. 

Honestly? It’ll show that your so-called inclusive workplace isn’t very inclusive, after all. It’s almost akin to false advertising.

For this blog post, we’re focusing particularly on your LGBT+ employees, in recognition of LGBT+ History Month 2023.

Last year, a LinkedIn and YouGov survey called ‘The State of LGBTQ+ workforce 2022’ found that 75% of LGBT+ employees felt that being able to fully express themselves and “bring their full selves to work” was important to them. Crucially, if they weren’t able to do so, they would engage less socially, experience less career advancement, and ultimately, consider leaving.

What’s more, if the LGBT+ community does not feel supported and protected against discrimination (and discriminatory legislation, for example) by their company, 36% would also consider leaving – and almost half (49%) would refuse to work for a company that had zero LGBT+ benefits.

It’s clear that creating that all-important inclusive community can be a game-changer when it comes to ensuring you, as a company, are a true ally. In order to keep your LGBT+ employees happy, safe and on your payroll, you need to ensure your company is doing all it can to protect them and give them space to be who they want to be, or who they are.

This will all have a knock-on effect. A 2021 report titled ‘Inclusion at work: Perspectives on LGBT+ working lives’ by CIPD states that:

“Research shows that when LGBT+ employees perceive their co-workers and line manager as supportive and concerned with their wellbeing, they are more likely to be satisfied, both with their work and their life in general […] This immediate support leads to more positive feelings towards the workplace climate more widely, which functions as a powerful signal to LGBT+ workers to be open about their identity.”

In summary? Create a supportive, inclusive, safe and accessible working environment for your LGBT+ employees, and you will all feel the benefits.

So if you’re not already doing it, how can you keep your LGBT+ colleagues safe and happy in your workplaces? Here are some ways to improve retainment once you’ve sorted your inclusive recruitment process.

Make parental leave gender neutral

Enabling and encouraging all new parents – regardless of their gender identity – to take the same amount of time off work to care for their children is a huge step forward in equality. Breaking down archaic gender imbalances starts here. 

This can start at the very beginning, by ensuring the traditional concepts of maternity or paternity leave are scrapped and minding your language; we love the gender neutrality of parental leave. Give equal clout to adoption leave, too, and make sure this support continues regardless of the child’s age. 

Normalise pronouns

Last year we wrote a whole blog post about how to normalise pronouns in the workplace.

Some simple steps include encouraging all colleagues to add pronouns to email signatures, and suggesting people share their pronouns when introducing themselves in meetings and networking events.

However, remember to respect peoples’ decisions; if they don’t feel comfortable with this, that’s ok too.

Create protected spaces 

Offering staff LGBT+ networks and communities within your team will ensure you and your LGBT+ colleagues have somewhere dedicated to finding (and sharing) support and advice. Lack of representation can be a huge issue when forming an inclusive workplace, so make sure people can see themselves in others within the community.

Provide training

This is a simple one – but providing inclusivity and diversity training (and regular refreshers) for all colleagues will ensure you are all up-to-date with ensuring your employee community is as inclusive as possible.

In addition to this, be firm and vocal about your workplace’s policies regarding discrimination and diversity, and ensure all colleagues are aware of them.

Go beyond Pride

Do you pride yourself on your Pride celebrations? If you limit your LGBT+ events, awareness sessions and celebrations to just this period, you’re not doing enough. LGBT+ inclusivity is a year-round thing. Ensure you are on top of your policies constantly, be aware of events going on in the world (and react to them where appropriate) and protect your employees’ rights.

You could even partner with LGBT+ charities or offer philanthropy days, for example. Make sure your LGBT+ support extends beyond updating your Twitter logo with a rainbow once a year, and other questionable, tokenistic gestures.

Think globally

Consider cultural differences and what this might mean for your LGBT+ team members. Different groups and communities have different lived experiences, and laws surrounding LGBT+ rights vary around the world. Stay up-to-date on any legal changes, and tune into expectations, concerns and attitudes within your diverse team.

At Druthers, it’s our mission and our passion to empower organisations to find the best person to make an impact on their work, from a diverse shortlist of remarkable talent. Get in touch with us to find out how your business can make a positive change to your hiring and retention processes.