9 Top Tips For Gender Inclusivity in The Workplace
Following the success of our Pride Month webinar, we wanted to summarise some key things to consider when looking at gender inclusivity in the workplace. The issues that the trans community face in the workplace need to be tackled, so here's a starting point!
Gender inclusivity in the workplace has been a hot topic for some time. Now more than ever organisations are recognising that they need to make changes to help their gender non-conforming, trans and non-binary colleagues feel more included.
This Pride month we sat down and chatted to British LGBT Future Leader Award Winner, Kim Warren, about their experiences as a non-binary person. Kim is the Diversity Lead at Credera and Director at Trans in the City, and so also shared advice on why and how you can make your workplace more gender inclusive.
1. Encourage The Use of Pronouns
Display your pronouns. The most common place is in email signatures! Most social media platforms now have the option to display pronouns. Plus platforms like Slack, Discord etc. This creates a more open environment, and invites others to share theirs as well. But ensure that this is optional within your organisation. Some people may not be comfortable and shouldn’t feel pressured to do so.
Explain to leaders and managers in your organisation why it’s important for them to consider displaying their pronouns and how they can be an ally.
If someone has volunteered multiple pronouns - use them. E.g a colleague states that she uses she/they pronouns and that they prefer having them both used interchangeably. Check in with yourself. Are you reverting to 'she' out of habit?
Display pronouns regardless of whether or not you know there is a trans, non-binary (enby) or gender non-conforming person (GNC) in your organisation.
2. Review Your Recruitment Processes
When creating a job description you should consider the following:
Include a statement about your organisation’s values and culture. This reassures applicants that this is a space where they are welcome. Where possible specifically call out how you are working to be gender inclusive.
Evaluate the criteria you set out for applicants. What is definitely necessary or required? You risk alienating people if your essential criteria list is too long. Asking for qualifications can be appropriate. However, in general this practice can be a barrier to marginalised communities. Some trans, enby and GNC people come from difficult backgrounds, affecting their education. This does not make them any less qualified, valuable or worthy. While qualifications and experience are a plus, if a candidate who would be a perfect fit for your company culture comes along, training can always be provided. After all, investing in your company culture and diversifying your team is how we ensure meaningful change.
Try to avoid using gender-coded words in your job adverts. Keeping language gender-neutral, concise and removing unnecessary jargon will go a long way in helping to increase the uptake of applicants. This can be seen as a barrier when applying for jobs as it may alienate those that don't feel they can identify with, or even understand, the language. You can even put your job advert through a gender decoder for free online! Check out LinkedIn’s 5 Must-Do’s for Writing Inclusive Job Descriptions.
3. Consider How & What Personal Data You Collect
An issue that often crops up for trans, enby and GNC colleagues is the disclosure of their gender identities. Some may not have updated their legal documents. This means that they essentially have to out themselves and disclose their “dead” name to the person collecting the information. This can be quite a distressing situation and can even cause dysphoria.
So, what can you do?
You could ensure that gender is an optional field in any forms you have as part of recruitment and onboarding. Or include multiple options as well as a ‘prefer not to say’ option.
In order to ensure your trans, enby and GNC colleagues are protected, you can choose to exclude gender as a data point. Think about the information you’re asking and why you’re asking it.
Certain information is required for payroll etc., and this again means having to disclose legal documents that may not match with how your colleague identifies. We encourage you to reinforce your company's data protection policies and DE&I values. This will help your colleagues to feel more comfortable and safe disclosing this information.
4. Review Your People Policies
Are your policies as inclusive as they can be? Currently in the UK, maternity leave covers the person carrying the child and paternity leave covers their partner/the other primary caregiver. Working families a charity organisation who aim to help advocate for those with caring responsibilities have some useful information and resources on this! Check over your policies surrounding leave and see if you can tweak them. Can ‘pregnant woman’ become ‘pregnant person’? Do you include information about adoption, surrogacy or carers?
Does your organisation have provisions in place for mental health support? According to the Stonewall ‘LGBT In Britain - Health’ report in 2018, 79% of non-binary people and 71% of trans people experienced anxiety. A harrowing 67% of trans people and 70% of non-binary people had experienced depression. These statistics are alarmingly high and so having support available and signposted is very helpful!
5. Mind Your Language!
Gendered language can be really harmful. Not just for trans, enby and GNC people, but for everyone! Gendered language has seeped into many aspects of society and in the workplace the most prevalent example is job roles. The association of certain genders with specific jobs is a barrier to many people.
A big factor to creating an inclusive environment is promoting and enforcing policies against prejudice and bigotry of any kind. Ensure that information is circulated within your organisation about what kind of language is and isn't appropriate, and what is considered a slur. If you need a starting point, check out our ABC’s of LGBTQ+ for an intro to LGBTQ+ terminology!
6. Adapt Your Facilities
Toilets are a hot topic when it comes to issues that the trans community faces. If possible, then gender neutral toilets are the best choice. These benefit everyone. Gender neutral toilets are typically single cubicles and often have their own sinks, meaning everyone has more privacy.
Could you have a room or space that is dedicated to rest/privacy? If one of your colleagues is wearing a binder, they may want to take comfort breaks from it throughout the day. Is there a place where they could do this? Consider implementing a 5 minute allowance between meetings. This would give everyone a chance of a comfort break.
Be conscious of accessibility in spaces you choose to use. This goes for every group and in every situation. Many trans people also have physical, developmental or mental disabilities. Accessibility is the bare minimum.
7. Implement Training
We recommend utilising specialist trainers such as Trans in the City (say hi to Kim while you’re at it!) to implement training in LGBTQ+ issues and specifically gender inclusivity workshops.
Consider training mental health first aiders! This is an excellent way to provide another level of support and education to your employees.
8. Become an Ally
An Ally is not something you can be. It is the actions you take in the effort to combat injustice. Calling yourself an ally is not enough. An active effort needs to be made to unlearn biases and behaviours and call out transphobia. And yes, this includes when there isn't a trans person in the room.
9. Ensure Your Team's Safety
Safety links to the Instinctive brain type in our neuroscience model, and is one of the key factors in achieving happy and engaged employees. Your employees from marginalised communities may already be experiencing additional levels of anxiety and stress. If they aren’t feeling secure, then this can only mean reduced output in the workplace.
Remember - we are all deserving of the same respect, kindness and safety. This is even more important at work where we spend most of our days.
Meaningful change can only come from proactivity, not reactivity. Making the step forward to a more inclusive workplace can only be a benefit. It improves productivity, generates happiness, diversifies creative output and makes us all more open-minded and compassionate people.
If you didn’t catch it, make sure to REGISTER HERE for a recording of the session!
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