What exactly does being an ally mean?
In short, an ally is a person who does not identify themselves as part of the LGBTQAI+ community but actively supports it. For more detailed information and how individuals can best assist, you can also read more specifically in the article “How Can I Support the LGBTQIA+ Community as an Ally?”
Why is it important for a company to be an ally?
Companies with significant reach can serve as role models for others and lead by example, as 37% of the queer community still fear that coming out at the workplace will have professional consequences. According to GLAAD, 40% of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals, as well as almost 90% of transgender individuals, have experienced discrimination, harassment, or mistreatment in the workplace. In addition to the role-model function, extensive education and awareness about the issue can foster a stronger awareness and greater tolerance.
Why does it benefit not only society but also a company?
Often, it’s unclear whether or to what extent companies genuinely support the LGBTQAI+ community or if they merely put rainbow stickers on their products for profit-driven reasons during Pride Month. However, public solidarity can bring benefits for all involved parties.
Why is it worthwhile for a company? Firstly, individuals who can be themselves at their workplace are happier and consequently more productive, which in turn positively impacts others. Furthermore, members of the queer community have a purchasing power of $700 billion, and 23% switch companies upon learning that the community is not genuinely supported or even that employees are discriminated against. And that information can spread quickly.
What possibilities are there?
But where is the best place to start? To provide a good overview, here are 5 tips on how companies can support the queer community.
The right know-how
To learn how to interact appropriately, there is diversity training. Usually, the modules cover sexual orientation and gender identity. It’s important to educate that most hurtful actions and words stem from ignorance.
In a job advertisement, it’s important to use inclusive language or make it gender-neutral so that everyone feels addressed and included. Care must be taken not to address only males and females; the best approach is to use “all genders.” In the subsequent application process, sensitive interaction is equally important to create a comfortable work environment. This includes, for example, asking which pronoun the person would like to be addressed with and respecting it in the future.
To secure the foundation, principles, and values are needed. What is learned in seminars and promised during an interview must become an integral part of the company’s policies. The team needs to know that discriminatory behavior comes with consequences. Even when writing guidelines, attention must be paid to using appropriate language to prevent exclusion from the outset.
Conveying the message externally
When large companies publicly advocate for the queer community, they not only support their own team but can also draw attention to important issues. In advertising, for instance, it’s also advisable to seek advice from experts to ensure proper implementation. Fundraising campaigns for organizations that support the queer community can also make a public statement.
Criticism and Communication
It’s important to provide a safe environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing criticism or communicating when a person feels discriminated against or uncomfortable. The management should demonstrate that such cases are taken seriously and that the feedback is acted upon.
We all understand that mistakes are human, as long as efforts are still directed towards a progressive corporate culture in this regard. Inform yourselves, listen, and support. Help people feel comfortable and make a difference.