In today's diverse and inclusive world, organisations must go beyond lip service when it comes to supporting their LGBTQ+ employees. 

To explore effective strategies and best practices, a panel of industry experts shared their insights at the BVCA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion LGBTQ+ Reception, sponsored by PER. Stephanie Fuller, CEO at Switchboard, Calu Malta, Business Development Lead at Stonewall, and Alberto Padilla, London Chair at Out Investors, provided valuable advice on attracting, supporting, and championing LGBTQ+ employees.
Showcasing support beyond pride month

While pride month offers an excellent opportunity to demonstrate support, it is crucial for organisations to take action throughout the entire year. Stephanie Fuller advises companies to engage in external activities such as changing logos to showcase inclusivity and attract potential LGBTQ+ employees. Additionally, using pronouns in your email signature is an underrated yet impactful way to promote inclusivity, and tackle assumptions both internally and externally.

Inclusive recruitment and assessment

Calu Malta emphasises the importance of inclusive recruitment practices. Avoid assumptions about gender or sexual orientation, and encourage candidates to state their preferred pronouns. Conduct annual assessments to evaluate the organisation's inclusivity, review policies for inclusive language, and ensure harassment and family leave policies are inclusive. Promote diversity in panel selection, provide training on issues like bullying and harassment, establish employee network groups, and ensure senior leaders are knowledgeable and confident about inclusion.

Creating a safe environment

Once the foundational work is in place, organisations should create a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ employees who may not feel comfortable coming forward. This involves cultivating a culture of acceptance, where employees feel valued and respected for their authentic selves.

Embedding LGBTQ+ inclusivity

Alberto Padilla emphasises the need to embed LGBTQ+ inclusivity throughout the organisation. While network groups often rely on one person as a spearhead, the goal is to make inclusivity a shared responsibility. This includes providing senior leadership training, implementing inclusive HR policies, and expanding and assigning roles to Employee Resource Group (ERG) members to ensure holistic recruitment and retention efforts.

Collecting anonymous data

Calu Malta recommends collecting anonymous data on staff members to gain insights into their needs and identify any gaps in policies or representation. It is important to avoid making assumptions and approach LGBTQ+ inclusion with the same rigour as gender-related initiatives.

Allyship and advocacy

Stephanie emphasises the concept of allyship, urging individuals to go beyond standing beside the LGBTQ+ community and instead stand in front, finding their voice to speak up for their rights. Organisations can encourage and support employees in becoming advocates for LGBTQ+ inclusion both within and outside the workplace.

The panel sparked a lively conversation amongst attendees at the event, and we are very much looking forward to the next BVCA event sponsored by PER - the Next Generation Summer Networking, hosted at Fairgame in Canary Wharf.

Visit the organisations below
Switchboard LGBTQ+ helpline

Stonewall charity

Out investors LGBTQ+ network