Creating inclusive workplaces where LGBTQ+ colleagues feel psychologically safe

Safeguard Workplace Employees. Inclusive Adults Insurance. Business Diversity

In a professional landscape where the link between wellbeing and DEI is becoming clearer, to mark the start of Pride Month, we’re sharing insights from two recent surveys, highlighting the needs of LGBTQ+ colleagues.

We’ve also collated at the end of the article, a selection of links to useful resources.

Pride Month began after the Stonewall riots, a series of gay liberation protests in 1969. It has since spread beyond the United States and is observed widely across the Western world as a month dedicated to celebration and commemoration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride.

Giving all colleagues a voice

A study from Stonewall, the largest LGBT rights organisation in Europe, indicated that 1 in 5 LGBTQ+ staff members reported being the target of negative comments from colleagues.

Building on this insight, visualisation platform Rethinkly commissioned it’s own study which found that:

  • 35% of LGBTQ+ employees felt they had no voice in the workplace
  • 17% of the British LGBTQ+ workforce have a toxic relationship with their peers and managers
  • 24% have taken time off work due to feeling challenged in communication

Commenting on what the results of the survey tell us about the need to create work cultures where colleagues feel they are is a psychologically safe space for open communication, Andrew Jackson, co-founder of Rethinkly said:

“An unhealthy culture tends to be one where even the fact that something is undiscussable cannot be discussed – the huge elephant in the room. This normally results in avoidance of risk, poor decision making and low levels of creativity all resulting in poor performance. We don’t like working in unhealthy cultures as we know it has a negative impact on our wellbeing and yet we can feel trapped. The only way out is to create ‘psychological safety’, especially at the top. Psychological safety is achieved by increasing levels of self-awareness through some kind of reflective practice – looking in the mirror and listening to feedback”.

What the LGBTQ+ Community wants for a more inclusive workplace

Meanwhile entrepreneurship voice Explore Startups conducted a survey with 500 participants to gain insight into what the LGBTQ+ Community is looking for when it comes to from a more inclusive workplace.

The key findings are in the table below.

Desired Workplace ChangesPercentage of Respondents
Gender-neutral bathrooms72%
Inclusivity and sensitivity training for all employees85%
Clear anti-discrimination policies92%
LGBTQ+ representation in leadership roles78%
Workshops discussing LGBTQ+ rights and issues69%
Comprehensive healthcare that includes transgender healthcare needs81%

While gender-neutral bathrooms and workshops discussing LGBTQ+ rights and issues are significant points, the most compelling finding was that 92% of respondents call for clear anti-discrimination policies, signifying a pressing need for more than just physical accommodations.

It’s also notable that 81% of respondents called for comprehensive healthcare that includes transgender healthcare needs.

Jeremy Reis, the founder of Explore Startups states:

“Our survey uncovers insights and actionable steps that businesses can adopt to create a truly inclusive and respectful workspace. With this kind of data at our disposal, we can truly embark on the journey to bridge existing gaps and make every workplace a safe haven for all employees, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

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