The LGBTIQA+ community represents people of diverse sexes, genders and sexualities. The acronym is pretty representative of this – it stands for:
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You’re likely to run into that acronym, or a version of it, in your workplace. And you’re likely to know, or work with, someone who identifies as a member of that community. In the most recent Australian Workplace Equality Index survey that sampled almost 45,000 employees across a broad range of organisations, 19% of people who responded identified as LGBTIQA+, with 61% of those people being out to all or most people at work. Take a look around your workplace – whether it’s an office, a workshop, or a construction site – and notice how different the people around you are: their sex, ethnicity, age, how they dress or what they believe in.
It's pretty safe to say then that today’s workforce is diverse. And while a lot of companies have come a long way to creative workplaces that are LGBTIQA+ inclusive, we’re not all the way there yet. LGBTIQA+ people have historically been excluded through people’s attitudes, language and policy, or outright bigotry. Derogatory comments, jokes, or assumptions can exclude, belittle or bully LGBTIQA+ people, which can negatively impact productivity, staff turnover and mental health. It can also cost a business financially and negatively affect their reputation.
Organisations that make a point of promoting the visibility and strengthening their understanding of LGBTIQA+ people in their workplace, as well as reinforcing the protections that surround their attributes, make workplaces safer for everyone. And a well-informed, safe workforce is more likely to voice their opinions, their concerns or their experiences and provide an opportunity for issues in the workplace to be addressed. The positive flow-on effects of this for a business include reputational respect, economic growth, talent attraction and staff retention. In fact, workplaces that are LGBTIQA+ inclusive have been found to outperform those that are not. An optimistic, enthusiastic, empowered workforce who enjoy coming to work means more collaboration, more creativity, more productivity, more profitability. Happier people inside your workplace means high quality output. The better the workplace culture, the greater the reputation and recognition.
In a workplace that is LGBTIQA+ inclusive, everybody wins. Make a difference in your organisation.
Link to the LGBTIQA+ Awareness in the Workplace course.