The word diversity has different meanings for so many people. For some it means people of all ages, for others, it’s a matter of ethnicity, while there are many more who think of diversity in terms of male and female. But what about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identification? While the recruitment industry works tirelessly to create an inclusive hiring process that appeals to people of all backgrounds, have some of us forgotten to include the LGBTQ community in our efforts?
Why it matters
As we move towards a more inclusive society where people feel more comfortable in taking pride in who they are, there is a notable rise in the number of people identifying as LGBTQ.
In fact, in the US last year, the estimated percentage of the population that openly identifies themselves as LGBTQ rose to 4.5%. This was up from 4.1% in 2016 and 3.9% in 2015. We can only guess what the true figure would be if there were more than 22 states that prohibited employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
CEO of workplace advocacy group Out & Equal Erin Uritus believes that 20% of millennials identify as LGBTQ. And as a recruiter, you are probably well aware that by the year 2025 millennials could make up as much as 75% of the workforce. This means that at some point in the very near future a quite significant portion of the talent pool will be gay, lesbian, or transgender.
If we take the US figures as a very rough benchmark for global figures you can see how having a non-inclusive recruitment process or workplace could have an adverse effect on your search for the best talent.
Casting a wider net in your search for talent isn’t the only reason that inclusivity matters.
Did you know that the unemployment rate for transgender people is three times that of the national average in the US? Or that 27% of people in that group reported being fired or denied opportunities because of their gender identity?
Other stats include one in 10 LGBT employees leaving their role because of an unwelcoming environment or culture and 8% reporting that discrimination affected their environment and ultimately their ability to work to their full potential.
For many recruiters, the job isn’t just about filling roles but also about giving people opportunities, and so these stats make for unhappy reading.
But all is not lost.
What you can do
Before you even think about your recruitment process, it’s essential that you create a positive working environment that welcomes people from all backgrounds.
As we mentioned previously in our post on diversity in the workplace, a more culturally aware workforce helps new employees from minority groups feel welcome and included. The same can be said for new employees who identify as LGBTQ. If their new colleagues understand a little more about the LGBTQ community, then their transition into a new role will undoubtedly run a lot smoother.
This is why LGBTQ competency training sessions are becoming the norm for many companies across the globe. The sessions teach employees how to be an LGBTQ ally and encourage dialogue and answer questions that they may have been afraid to ask.
You can also encourage employees to form an employee resource group that is specifically for LGBTQ employees. This ERG will offer help and support to those that need it while also working as a link to upper management through which LGBTQ employees can make their thoughts and concerns known.
Be open about it
However, one of the most telling steps you can take and the one that will garner the company the most attention is to publicly support an LGBTQ cause. As you know, candidates like to research their potential employers and discovering that the company openly supports an LGBTQ cause is a much clearer indication of your policy towards workplace inclusivity.
Proof your recruitment process
Words carry so much weight and what one person may find unimportant could mean a great deal to someone else. So with this in mind, it’s time to proof your recruitment copy.
So what do we mean by proofing your copy?
Well, it’s simple enough really. Don’t assume that all of your candidates identify as male or female and keep pronouns gender neutral. You really should be doing this anyway.
You should also warn interviewers and hiring managers of the dangers of subconscious bias. Again this is something that you will have touched on before when working towards building a diverse workforce. However, it’s essential that you do not assume your team is on the same page when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity. Reaffirm the company stance that all candidates must be hired based on their talent and suitability to a role and not on the interviewer’s perception that they might not ‘fit in.’
If you have already held an LGBTQ competency training session, then you shouldn’t have to worry too much about it, but it does no harm to offer gentle reminders from time to time.
Ideally, your recruitment process will already include candidates from all walks of life, and so you won’t have to make too many changes. The real key to welcoming LGBTQ employees into your company is the education of your current employees and the company’s attitude towards inclusion. And so you should lead by example, offer LGBTQ employees opportunities based on merit, and if possible support a local LGBTQ event.
Are you worried that you’re not on top of your game with regards to diversity sourcing? Do you think your search is too narrow but don’t know what to do about it? Then talk to us. Diversity sourcing is our thing, and we don’t mind telling you that we’re quite good at it. So book an appointment today and see how we can help you build a truly diverse candidate pipeline that includes people of any race, gender, age, or sexual orientation.