Better LGBT+ programmes needed to avoid conflicts

LGBT+ employees are experiencing high levels of conflict and low levels of psychological safety in the workplace, according to new research by the CIPD.

The report, Inclusion at work: Perspectives on LGBT+ working lives, has found that over 40% of LGBT+ workers have experienced a work-based conflict in the last year, compared with 26% of heterosexual workers.

This figure rises to 55% among trans workers, with at least 50% of these conflicts going unresolved.

Speaking to HR magazine, Joanne Lockwood, founder and CEO of diversity and inclusion specialist SEE Change Happen and trans woman, said it is the responsibility of HR and people teams to create awareness of trans identities.

She said: “They must put in place robust and tangible allies’ programmes and create a forum where trans voices can be heard and amplified in organisations.

“There are many great organisations where trans and non-binary people do thrive, but even then, they are often breaking new ground on HR policy, IT systems other cis-normative environments that need to be tackled on a case-by-case basis.”

Lockwood said she was not surprised that trans people often find themselves dissatisfied with the workplace.

“The reality is that it is often a battle to make changes and often there is no well-trodden path to do this.”

Kate Williams, associate director of workplaces at LGBT equality charity Stonewall, said the report’s figures are upsetting and yet another reminder that LGBT+ people still face abuse and harassment in Britain’s workplaces simply because of who they are.

Williams told HR magazine: “Our own research shows that more than a third (35%) of LGBT staff have hidden their identity at work for fear of discrimination, and one in four trans people (26%) aren’t open with anyone at work about being trans.

“Employers must be clear that they have a zero-tolerance approach to anti-LGBT+ discrimination and take steps to ensure that all their lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff are safe, confident and supported at their workplace.”

Further reading

Is using umbrella terms such as BAME, LGBT+ and disabled hindering inclusion efforts?

Gender-fluid and non-binary ruling in Jaguar Land Rover case calls for a rewrite of equality policies

Twenty years on: the continuing fight for LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace

Most LGBT-friendly places to work announced by Stonewall

Melanie Green, research adviser for the CIPD told HR magazine that the research highlights that organisations need to take action to make workplaces more inclusive for LGBT+ people.

She said: “A key part of this is recognising that people across the LGBT+ spectrum may have different experiences and needs at work.

“To be truly inclusive, we need to take an individual approach that supports people to thrive, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and avoids a blanket approach.

Green said HR practices are integral to creating an inclusive work environment.

“People professionals need to take a leading role in strengthening people management practices to be LGBT+ inclusive, supporting line managers to sensitively respond to individual needs, and to build an organisational culture that is safe and open for all,” she said.