By expanding diversity and inclusion policies to support the needs of LGBTQ talent more extensively, organizations can reap a host of benefits.

As the workforce continues to diversify, it's increasingly important for employers to do all they can to create supportive, respectful and inclusive work environments — including having an LGBTQ diversity and inclusion policy that is reinforced through diversity training.

Diversity Benefits the Organization

By expanding diversity and inclusion policies to support the needs of LGBTQ talent more extensively, organizations can reap a host of benefits.

"With an engaged, diverse, and inclusive workforce, you are fostering an environment where employees are productive, feel valued and feel free to express ideas that may be the next big 'change' to move your company forward," says Mollie Mantia, Director of Compliance for Talent Products at ADP. "Additionally, employees who feel valued are more than likely to send referrals your way."

The most inclusive organizations also have "gender identity and expression" as a protected category, address transgender rights in their policies and work to foster a welcoming workplace for transgender talent by creating a preferred name policy.

Inclusive Work Environments Require More Than a Policy

Having a policy you review and update regularly is the first step. Mantia says, however, it's imperative that the actions and behaviors of everyone in the organization also support the policy.

"Ultimately, by having an inclusion and diversity policy and showing through your actions you are supportive of this policy, you create a collaborative and focused environment, which leads to positive interactions at all levels due to feeling value and worth," she says.

While it may be easy for an organization to check the box and appear to support diversity and inclusion on paper, creating a truly inclusive environment takes work.

HR Plays an Important Role in Diversity Training and Inclusion Efforts

To reinforce and communicate the organization's policy, HR must implement regular diversity training and workshops to reinforce LGBTQ inclusion. Diversity training featuring workplace scenarios is one way to provide employees with examples of how to respond, while also reinforcing everyone's role in creating an inclusive environment.

Imagine this scenario:

An employee named Lucy pulls a colleague aside and says, "I was just talking with John and learned that he is gay. I'm not really sure what to do?"

Lucy's colleague might be caught off guard by the new information or by Lucy's uncertainty, and she might not know what to say without offending Lucy or negatively impacting John. Diversity training can help employees learn and practice how they might respond if faced with a similar situation.

To observe one potential way to respond, check out the full scenario in this ADP Pride video in which Lucy's colleague reassures her that getting to know people at work happens naturally. Lucy realizes that learning John is gay is just another piece of information to know about him.

Workplace conversations around diversity and inclusion can be difficult for employees to navigate. With a relevant LGBTQ inclusion policy, support from HR and diversity training that empowers employees to do the right thing, it's more likely that your organization will enjoy the benefits of a workplace that reinforces and celebrates LGBTQ inclusion.

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Tags: People Management and Growth Company Culture Diversity and Inclusion