Alejandro Paz
Country Manager
Robert Walters
Expert Contributor

Pride: Actions Beyond Marketing Strategies

By Alejandro Paz | Mon, 08/01/2022 - 09:00

While organizations are looking to reduce the gender pay gap and reduce gender inequalities, the differences only go so far in enabling employers to create an inclusive workplace. That is to say, nurturing an environment where anyone, regardless of their gender identity, sexuality, race, religion, or socio-economic background, can be successful and develop their potential.

In some countries around the globe, June is full of colorful parades, with floats and celebrities, joyous festivals, organizational workshops, campaigns, logos and parties to commemorate years of struggle for civil rights and the ongoing pursuit of equal justice for the LGBTTTIQi+ community. However, after this date many organizations forget about the purpose and fail to continue with a proper diversity and inclusion strategy.

Research from Robert Walters, a specialist professional recruitment firm, shows that 32 percent of transgender professionals disagreed that everyone in their organization can easily access its resources and facilities and in terms of salary increases, 26 percent of LGBTTTQi+ men and 40 percent of LGBTTTQi+ women haven’t received a raise while negotiating their salaries.

Confidence barriers seem to be even more prominent within the LGBTTTQi+ community. A quarter (24 percent) of LGBTTTQi+ women are not confident enough to approach the salary conversation (three times the proportion of heterosexual men).

When exploring the reasons why LGBTTTQi+ professionals lack the confidence to negotiate their pay, it’s clear their relationship with their line manager or company leadership is an important factor. Notably, more than a third (37 percent) of LGBTTTQi+ professionals do not think their manager has taken the time to understand them personally.

Delivering Diversity on all Fronts

LGBTTTQi+ professionals feel they could be better represented at leadership levels. Only 40 percent of the LGBTTTQi+ community and only 32 percent of LGBTTTQi+ women are in positions at the managerial level or above, in comparison to 43 percent of heterosexual men  and 36 percent of heterosexual women.

More so than heterosexual men, LGBTTTQi+ professionals, in particular women, feel that their organization’s approach to diversity and inclusion could be improved. A quarter of LGBTTTQi+ women do not think their organization has taken active steps to be demographically representative, in comparison to 17 percent of heterosexual men.

Building a Connected, Engaged Community

There is still some way to go for all LGBTTTQi+ professionals, and in particular, the transgender community, to feel accepted in their organization:

• Over a quarter (28 percent) of LGBTTTQi+ professionals and 50 percent of transgender professionals do not think that their organization has initiatives that help them feel part of a connected community of colleagues

• 37 percent of LGBTTTQi+ professionals do not think that their manager has taken the time to understand their personal circumstances

• 26 percent of LGBTTTQi+ professionals do not think that their organization celebrates peoples’ differences

LGBTTTQi+ and non-cisgender professionals often feel misunderstood and unheard by their organization, with a lack of diversity initiatives or programs in place to better educate employees or give a voice to underrepresented groups.

Steps for Boosting Diversity all Year Long

  • Start with your hiring strategies; attract a more diverse workforce and mitigate bias. You can start with your employer branding strategy and changes to your recruitment process, such as writing more inclusive job adverts and avoiding exclusion in your data collection forms. Include anonymous CVs and create interview manuals for your team to help them approach candidates in a better way.
  • Use a data-based approach to managing diversity and inclusivity – understand that the data crunching needs to be granular for the numbers to be understood.
  • Create and execute a plan. Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is a business imperative, not a “nice to have.” Have a systemic, business-led approach to inclusion and diversity. Focus on devising a clear diversity strategy with milestones in place to achieve greater representation at all levels of your business.
  • Define champions and create a D&I committee that can follow up on the plan during the year. Diversity committees are responsible for supporting management on how to address the main challenges so that LGBTTTIQi+ diversity and inclusion actions are part of the organizational culture. The ERGs must be made up of people who are within the LGBTTTIQi+ community and who understand and share the vision inside and outside the organization.
  • Open communication channels: Create safe spaces for people to express their concerns and proposals. More than a third (36 percent) of LGBTTTQi+ professionals are not aware of any diversity initiatives in their organization. We can all make a difference and help to create and maintain inclusion. Inclusion is a choice we make in every single human interaction.  
  • Training and education: With employees from different generations, it is important to train and embrace change through open and honest conversations. Asking the right questions is key, and research-led surveys can be a vital part of that. But it’s advanced text analysis that can allow you to hear the voices of everyone within your organization and understand the complex experiences that specific groups have had. With those insights, you can push for a more diverse and inclusive organization as you’ll know exactly where to focus your change-making efforts.
  • Engage your leadership board: The main method to break the paradigms within the organization is to involve the leaders directly, working together with the representatives and allies of the LGBTTTIQi+ community.
  • Don’t wait until June to start: Changing your company logos can give a sense that the company has the intention to be inclusive but gives talent no real indication of how current employees bring their whole selves to work. Photos of real employees at real events have much more impact than photoshopped corporate images. Transparency and being a genuine ally to the LGBTTTQi+ community 12 months of the year is fundamental.
  • Accountability – Measure and track the results: The main benefit is the integration and retention of talent, which does not discriminate against people from the LGBTTTIQi+ community and also has a direct causality in the profitability that the company generates since talent predominates within the organization. Companies that have a higher index of diversity and inclusion are going to achieve greater profitability. When you move toward diversity and inclusion you will attract more performance benefits and employee satisfaction.
Photo by:   Alejandro Paz