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How do we promote the inclusion of LGBT+ employees in the workplace?

rainbow staff

At Berkshire Healthcare, we're celebrating the benefits of diversity and inclusion for staff and patients, working to make our workplace a safe space for all LGBT+ communities and promoting the wellbeing of the LGBT+ people who work for us.

We spoke to Carol Carpenter (Director of People), Laura Davis, (Equality and Diversity Manager), and Nicky Augustus, (LGBT and Friends Network Lead), about how to be an inclusive employer.

The wellbeing of all employees is so important and it's also essential that this is inclusive of everyone.

Here are five things we do to promote the wellbeing and inclusion of our LGBT+ employees:

1. Listen to staff

The best way to support the wellbeing of all staff is to listen. We receive feedback directly, through the network and through things such as our national staff survey. 

We take action based on this feedback and as a result of working with Stonewall we've developed a workshop for senior managers to help them to think about their behaviours and the impact they have on staff.  We want to help them to develop the skills to enable them to feel confident and competent to talk to their team and support them as an inclusive manager.

2. Be there for employees

We have an employee assistance programme that ensures all staff have access to a 24/7/365 advice and support service. This service provides access to independent counselling and wellbeing services and can support our staff through every day matters or one off support.

3. Have an LGBT network

We think it is important to be your authentic self as this lends to a more harmonious and productive environment. Our network helps to promote an inclusive environment for all employees regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. It is a key part of our belief that diversity makes us stronger. Our network meets to discuss any issues faced within the workplace and we also celebrate our uniqueness by holding events and away days throughout the year.

4. Feeling empowered to support your LGBT colleagues

There are things we can all do to support our LGBT+ colleagues:

  • Read up on what LGBT+ means, so individual team members don't always have to explain.
  • Step up and be visible - this can be achieved by wearing a pin, having a poster or having conversations with others that relate to the LGBT+ community.
  • Speak up and feel confident in challenging others when you hear or witness inappropriate behaviour. Let all your colleagues know that you are there to listen and respect personal decisions around disclosure

5. Support LGBT in the community

Visibility within the community is an important part in making sure the LGBT+ community feel safe, supported and understood. Attending events like our local Pride, is a great and fun way to not only show our LGBT+ colleagues that we stand united but also the wider community, including our patients. By supporting this we can send a powerful message and have lots of fun in the process.