June is LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) Pride Month. Celebrated each year, Pride honors the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, a historical tipping point the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.
Major cities across the country hold a month-long series of events that include workshops, concerts, parties, and, most notably, a Pride parade that attracts millions of participants not just in the U.S., but worldwide.
There’s no shortage of ways to celebrate Pride, and there are several initiatives HR leaders can enact to create LGBTQ-inclusive workplaces:
Create support networks. LGBTQ+ employees are part of an underrepresented group. Having an employee resource group (ERG) is one way to build community for LGBTQ+ employees and allies.
Effectively structuring an ERG is important to its success. Have executive leaders provide stakeholder support, establish metrics of success for the group (like increasing diverse leadership), and, most importantly, provide funding.
Enlist the participation of non-LGBTQ+ employees. HR teams can lead by example when it comes to making sure every employee is doing their part to build and sustain an inclusive environment. For instance, you can encourage all employees to add their pronouns to their Zoom or Slack profiles and email signatures, or start a round of introductions by giving their name and pronouns automatically, so that everyone feels comfortable in every discussion right off the bat.
One great way to rally the allies? Have leadership commit to matching employee donations made to LGBTQ+ organizations throughout the month of June. Eden Health is matching up to $10,000 in donations across four organizations: The Trevor Project, Callen-Lorde, The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP), and The Audre Lorde Project.
Do a deep dive. HR has unique access (and say) into what’s covered by employee healthcare plans. Take some time this month to review your company’s policies and make sure that there are no exclusions for transgender care. If you notice that this is a stipulation, ask your employer to remove it. Review your parental leave policies and ensure that your existing benefits for those employees who have given birth are also extended to partners and adoptive parents.
Pay attention to details. Even something as simple as including alternative gender options in your job applications or on your new hire paperwork will go a long way in making all applicants and employees feel seen.