Insiders’ insights on how to build a more LGBTQIA+ inclusive people strategy

Two HR leaders share their experiences and tips for navigating LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the workplace.

Yugi the Giraffe - 1 July 2022

Employers are increasingly aware of the benefits of a diverse and empowered workforce. So what steps can your organisation take to proactively champion inclusion and attract, retain and promote the best LGBTQIA+ talent?

HR leaders David Blackburn, Chief People Officer at FSCS, and Emma Cusdin, Director at Global Butterflies, joined YuLife’s Head of People, Cali Gold, to share their views and insights from both sides of the fence.

You can watch the full discussion here.

1) Take the next step

Every workplace is at a different stage on their LGBTQIA+ inclusivity journey – some organisations are much more advanced than others. But the key to success, Emma believes, is simply acknowledging where you are right now and what you can do next to keep progressing.

“Allyship is a verb,” she says. “It's a ‘doing’ word. It’s small steps and often, and it can be whatever that next step is for you. They can be small things and they can be big things, but ultimately you must continue that journey.”

2) Dive into data

There are tangible economic benefits to creating inclusive workplaces. So, how do you ensure that LGBTQIA+ people are represented in your organisation?

A thorough review of your employment data is essential to identifying barriers, says David: “Too often, In my experience, organisations talk about their headline number. What they don't do is drill into the data and say, well, where is that representation? If it's all at the entry level and it's not represented at senior levels, or it stops beyond middle management, what are the barriers to progression? Clearly something is going on.”

3) Scrap unnecessary policies

In order to truly allow people to be their best, David advocates abandoning policies altogether in favour of more accessible frameworks.

“When you look at your policy catalogue, ask, do we need this policy?” advises David. “Is it an enabler? I want people to be able to come in here, be themselves, be able to access all the things that they need – that’s my job. Making it easy for people to access the support in the organisation should be the driver of your approach to policy.”

4) Get senior people talking

When it comes to creating an inclusive culture, senior leaders must set the tone. Getting the most senior person in your organisation to talk about LGBTQIA+ issues is the best way to drive in that this is something you really care about, says Emma.

"I'm a great believer that getting the most senior person to talk about LGBTQIA+ issues is your way into creating a network,” she advocates. “People are waiting for the organisation to take the step that signals it's going to be okay here, we're inclusive, and we want to talk about this."

5) Be comfortable with being uncomfortable

Being a great people leader isn't about knowing everything about everything – we're all human, and for Emma, being open, vulnerable, and willing to learn from others is essential.

“Come to your role with a growth mindset [and] a willingness to to understand other peoples’ perspectives, that are not your perspectives,” she says. “I think leaders who can create the psychological safety for people to be themselves by talking about things, even if they're uncomfortable about talking about them, create real inclusive cultures.”

Yugi the Giraffe

Yugi is our YuLife mascot. Like all giraffes they've got a big heart – in fact the biggest heart of all land animals.