As leaders of financial institutions, it’s important you know your role and how to create an inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees and customers. June is Pride Month, a month where the LGTBTQIA community comes together and celebrates the freedom they have found in themselves. The month is named after Brenda Howard, a bisexual New York activist who organized the first Pride parade to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. She was nicknamed the “Mother of Pride.”
In honor of Pride Month, let’s start with understanding the community. CNN shared, “LGBT is an acronym meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. The term sometimes is extended to LGBTQ, or even LGBTQIA, to include queer, intersex and asexual groups. Queer is an umbrella term for non-straight people; intersex refers to those whose sex is not clearly defined because of genetic, hormonal or biological differences; and asexual describes those who don’t experience sexual attraction.”
Here are tips for how you can encourage inclusion within your financial institution.
You may be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with me?” Well as leaders of financial institutions, it is important to understand your role and how you can be an inclusive environment for both your employees and customers. Diversity, equity and inclusion are pivotal each and every day.
Tips for Creating an Inclusive Environment for LGBTQ+ Customers
- Create a community where LGBTQ+ members and allies alike can “come as they are” and enjoy a financial life that’s supported by a community that understands their hopes, dreams and challenges. Consider the products you sell and how they may (or may not) meet the needs of trans and nonbinary people needs. For example, consider how preferred names can be used without a cumbersome or uncomfortable process.
- Recognize that your employees and customers are not all traditional white families with 2 kids, modern families are made up of all varieties and the culture and services should be reflective of the community. Research shows that customers prefer to do business with companies who have an authentic interest and support in their community.
- Being a supporter of a community means always doing so, and especially in those seemingly quiet, low-profile moments when you have an opportunity to stand for what you believe in — even when there is nothing financially to gain from it.
- If you want to welcome the LGBTQ+ community as customers, include them in your marketing.
- Promote your organization as LGBTQ+ inclusive – ensure that your LGBTQ+ inclusive information is accessible on your website and communicate LGBTQ+ good news stories on social media. Here’s an example of what your website could include: https://careers.adtalem.com/us/en/diversity
How to Build an Inclusive Culture for LGBTQ+ Employees
- Support and celebrate your employees’ differences. Being heard is great but being celebrated is even better so invite your employees and customers to share their differences. It’s all about listening and making sure your team members feel heard.
- Diversity isn’t the same as inclusivity. Let’s say that again. Diversity is NOT the same as inclusivity. Inclusivity is the next step to supporting a diverse workforce. An inclusive workplace culture offers far greater benefits, like innovation and productivity.
- Remember that being LGBTQ+ is about being authentic and not having to lie or hide who we are. It’s about living, loving and expressing ourselves freely and openly, and that affects us all.
- Are your employees effectively trained? Diversity, equity and inclusion training can make a positive impact on your workforce and community, especially when supported by leadership. Effective training is designed to address valuing diversity, unconscious bias, harassment, intimidation and bullying prevention as well as creating awareness on the sensitivity to social and racial identities.
- Take time to understand your staff. Seeking understanding will help ensure you effectively cater to any needs diverse employees may have. Employees who are better understood will be happier and more productive.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion training for the LGBTQ+ community is just the start. Financial institutions need to better understand not only their employees but also the customers and communities they serve. By 2050, Syntrio predicts that 54% of the nation’s population will be a minority. The learning and education begin today!
Interested in jumpstarting a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training program in your financial institution? Contact us today to learn how OnCourse Learning can help support your training program initiatives.