Pride Month 2022: How Inclusive is Your Business?


According to a 2022 Gallup poll, one in five Gen Z adults, and more than 7 percent of Americans altogether, identify as LGBT. This segment of the workforce population grows year over year, and your company could miss out on recruiting and retaining top talent from this community if you fail to offer an authentically welcoming and accepting environment.


June is Pride Month, an occasion to lift up our LGBTQ+ community and the perfect reason to take stock of how inclusive and welcoming your company is to these individuals. It’s one thing to have a non-discrimination policy in your employee handbook – a great start, no doubt – but there’s so much more business leaders can do to better include their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other (LGBTQ+) employees, and attract those who may not yet be on the payroll. 


In this article, we dive into ways businesses can offer more to LGBTQ+ team members, from protections to support and beyond. 


The Basics: Commonplace Policies


In your employee handbook, as well as in each of your job postings you should have a version of “We don’t discriminate against,” followed by a list of all protected classes – from gender and gender identity to age and ethnicity. This is called an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement and is required for certain employers (those with over 100 employees) but is best practices for every company who wishes to avoid discrimination charges. It also signals to candidates and new hires the kind of environment they’re joining – one that is welcoming and does not discriminate.

Your anti-harassment policy and reporting procedure should of course mention sexual harassment, but also cover additional types of harassment based on protected classes. It should also list several different points of contact for reporting this harassment – whether that be a direct manager, a member of the executive team, or even a confidential third-party hotline (like the Montani team). This increases the possibility that an employee will come forward with a claim without fear of retaliation, and further protects your business from a discimination claim. 


Even before the June 2020 Supreme Court ruling that determined federal employment law shields workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, most states already had protections in place to prohibit discrimination of this kind. If you are a multi-state employer, your EEO statement must cover all the protected classes as dictated by each state in which you have an employee. This can get confusing, but it’s not something to take lightly. If you’re unsure whether your policies fit the bill for your workforce, partner with professionals (like the Montani team) to review and revise as needed. 


In addition to policies listed in your employee handbook, it could make sense for your business to create an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) that spells out non-discrimination policies. An AAP is required for federal contractors and subcontractors who meet certain requirements, including those that employ at least 50 workers and have a federal contract of at least $50,000.


The Bonuses: Training, Support Groups, and More


It’s not enough for company policies to dictate that team members must be welcoming and accepting of LGBTQ+ peers. Employees, and especially company leaders, must possess the capacity and desire to live this out – and may require sensitivity training or Diveristy & Inclusion (D&I) training to do so. Consider providing training as part of your general onboarding process. Better yet, require a refresher course on an annual basis for all employees.

Internal support groups or Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are also a great idea. Encourage passionate team members to spearhead support and resource groups around topics, lifestyle, and hobbies of interest. A support group for team members who identify as LGBTQ+, as well as for allies of this community, is a simple offering that can go a long way in making employees feel seen, accepted and celebrated in the workplace (virtually or in office). If you have any ERGs or support groups, go the extra mile by covering the cost of coffee and / or snacks – a small investment that can pay dividends in showing your support for the group. Better yet, ensure at least one team member in leadership takes the time to participate and show their support and encouragement.


If your company wants to showcase their support of the LGBTQ+ community, consider showing your alignment through company social media channels. We see a lot of this throughout the month of June to celebrate Pride Month (such as temporary pride-inspired logos as profile images). But don’t be afraid to hold space through the other 11 months of the year. Looking for inspiration from businesses that have turned to social media to get the word out? Check out these example posts from Brooklyn Brewery, Bayard Advertising, and Brightly Software


Pride Month is the perfect reason to review your company’s current inclusivity and diversity practices, but it’s something that should be top of mind year-round. It’s vital to recognize and welcome this population – so much so, the Society of Human Resource Management’s BASK (Book of Applied Skills and Knowledge) recently changed “Diversity and Inclusion” as a functional area to “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” as a behavioral competency. This means it’s something HR professionals not only need to know, but must be competent in. That says it all. 

Could your company use help reviewing current inclusivity practices or recruiting top talent from the LGBTQ+ community? Montani is here to help. Contact us today to get started.

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