By Apoorva Ravi
Inclusion, an important indicator of a workplace that cares for its employees, is a vital prerequisite for every organization today. The term inclusion has multiple layers, and building an inclusive workplace is much more than just enabling people to be a part of the group culture of the organization. Inclusion also means giving the right to an employee to say no and refuse to be a part of the group culture if they wish.
A multitude of challenges persist for LGBTQIA+ employees, including workplace harassment, unwarranted inquiries about their identity from colleagues, limitations on expressing their viewpoints, pressure to conform, and various other obstacles. Following the repeal of section 377 of the IPC and the recognition of gender and sexual orientation as fluid and non-binary, it is imperative for organizations to acknowledge the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) employees in order to achieve genuine inclusivity.
Organizations that support the LGBTQIA+ community must commit to being equal opportunity employers, free from discrimination in their hiring practices. While recognizing and embracing individual differences is paramount, organizations should also pay attention to specific details. This includes establishing inclusive infrastructure, such as gender-neutral restrooms, encouraging the use of preferred pronouns as identifiers, implementing LGBTQIA+ inclusive policies (e.g., “Gender Neutral Childcare Benefits”), promoting gender and sexual orientation sensitivity training for employees, and crafting Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) policies that favor all genders and orientations.
When an organization safeguards employees’ rights and fosters an inclusive work culture, individuals can express themselves freely without fear of judgment. LGBTQIA+ members in such organizations need not conceal their identities or orientations, enabling them to be authentic without pretense or scrutiny, and without conforming to heteronormative norms. Inclusive infrastructure, including gender-neutral restrooms, empowers LGBTQIA+ employees to make choices comfortably. Furthermore, when workplace policies embrace non-discriminatory practices, such as childcare policies for all genders and POSH policies for the LGBTQIA+ community, every employee experience safety, acceptance, and respect.
An inclusive work culture that embraces the LGBTQIA+ community can encourage the hiring of diverse candidates. This diversity enhances organizational productivity by bringing together various experiences and thought processes, thereby enriching the collective knowledge of employees. Being an LGBTQIA+ ally, the organization will also receive positive recognition from external stakeholders and earn the trust of clients and investors. By providing gender sensitization workshops for all employees, including top management, the organization will be seen as more compassionate, empathetic, and accepting.
In conclusion, many LGBTQIA+ community members still grapple with the reality of concealing their true selves and facing self-imposed restrictions, impacting not only their mental but also their physical health. Despite the existence of laws and policies supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, societal and self-stigma continue to pose challenges for many employees. However, as more organizations cultivate inclusive cultures and acknowledge the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community, employees will gradually find greater security in both their personal and professional lives.
At KelpHR, we firmly believe that cultivating safe, happy and inclusive work environments serves as the foundation for business transformation and expansion. We will help you and your organisation embark on a journey towards a more inclusive and respectful workplace culture.
KelpHR was incorporated in 2013 to provide the best HR solutions to organisations, and to improve workplace culture across the board. Over the last 10 years, we have serviced more than 800 clients in India and a few overseas, across various industries in the areas of PoSH (prevention of sexual harassment at workplace), D, E & I (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) and EAP. But the common objective of all these services is to build safer, productive, inclusive and happier workplaces.
For our services related to Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH), Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (D,E &I)or Employee Assistance programs (EAP) do get in touch with us at email@example.com, call +91-95001-29652 and we will help you with customized offerings suited to your organization.