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Pride Month: How to make your hiring process LGBTQIA+ friendly

June 1, 2023
Rainbow hearts

Get your rainbow flags ready — the most colourful month of the year is upon us! Pride Month is a favourite among many, but for LGBTQIA+ employees it’s a special celebration that all workplaces should definitely be taking part in.

While an overall diversity and inclusion policy is important for every business, it all starts with your hiring process. So, how can you attract and recruit LGBTQIA+ employees?

What is LGBTQIA+?

LGBTQIA+ is an umbrella term for all sexual and gender identities that divert from those who are heterosexual or cisgender (those who feel comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth). It stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual, while the plus represents all the other identities and orientations, such as pansexuality.

What is Pride Month?

Pride Month is a month celebrating LGBTQIA+ communities around the globe. It takes place in June, commemorating the Stonewall riots — seminal protests that occurred in the US in 1969, that led to a significant change in gay rights across the world. During Pride Month, the LGBTQIA+ community celebrates the victories and acceptance it has won in the past few decades, while fighting back against the LGBTQIA+phobia and discrimination that still exists today.

Why is LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the workplace important?

The main reason why companies should seriously consider LGBTQIA+ inclusion policies is because so much of the workforce identifies with this label. That means, making queer people feel welcome is essential. Not only will this encourage them to join your company instead of another, it will also support your bottom line, as happier employees are more productive.

But it goes far beyond this. One in five Gen Zers identify as LGBTQIA+, and 68% of them would leave a job that didn’t allow them to be comfortably out at work. Not to mention how a diverse workforce is more creative and innovative. So, accommodating LGBTQIA+ workers is about retention, productivity and profitability.

How can my hiring process be more LGBTQIA+ friendly?

Creating a strong, LGBTQIA+-inclusive workplace starts with the right recruitment strategy. Here are our top tips for developing an LGBTQIA+ friendly hiring process.

1. Incorporate gender-neutral language

Consciously considering the language you use, be it in your job descriptions or interviews, is a generally useful practice. But when it comes to trans and non-binary candidates it can be the difference between attracting them to your workplace or making them flee the scene faster than you can say Marsha P. Johnson.

Avoid terms like ladies and gentlemen, opt for ‘partner’ rather than boyfriend or wife, and definitely don’t say you’re looking for the ‘best man for the job’. In application forms, don’t confuse sex and gender (but preferably, remove any question about it altogether other than for diversity and inclusion purposes). Make a conscious effort to use neutral pronouns and language, and you’ll make those who might not be out to you yet feel far more comfortable.

2. Rely on skill

Biases exist all around us, even when we’re not aware of them. Making sure that your recruitment process is structured around skill, values and cultural fit, rather than abstract ‘vibes’ (which we all know mean ‘someone who seems similar to me’), will help you avoid these biases and show your candidates you take their merits seriously. This can be invaluable for an LGBTQIA+ candidate who might be worried that they come across as different or not be understood.

Incorporating assessments for cognitive ability or personality is a great way to do this. At Thrive, our assessments ensure that hiring managers can avoid making assumptions based on factors unrelated to the job, such as a candidate's sexual preference, age, gender or ethnicity. We provide interview questions based on objective data, helping you to create a more structured process that is fair for everyone.

In our platform, you can also conduct culture surveys to your current workforce to view whether your employees right now feel respected, cared for and appreciated, and learn how to adjust your culture accordingly.

3. Become a visible ally

If you ignore the LGBTQIA+ community, they will probably ignore you. Make sure you’re sharing your support and inclusivity on your website and social media, showcasing your allyship to the community.

However, placing a rainbow flag on your LinkedIn logo once a year and calling it a job well done is simply not enough in today’s world. LGBTQIA+ candidates, and especially Gen Z, are looking at you critically, and there’s nothing they hate more than companies trying to make a quick buck off their back without any substance. You need to show that the LGBTQIA+ is truly important to you, for example, by sharing the steps you’ve taken for inclusivity or letting your queer employees lead the campaign.

Rainbow eye

4. Support LGBTQIA+ causes

Supporting LGBTQIA+ causes in your area, community centres, or even national charities can be a great way to show your candidates that you mean business when it comes to queer rights.

You can do this by either donating to these causes, or encouraging your employees to volunteer there. This won’t only represent your commitment to the cause, but will also promote your brand’s support and allow you to reach LGBTQIA+ candidates more easily within those organisations.

5. Create a community

You probably already have LGBTQIA+ members on your team. Motivating and supporting them to set up a network or community within your organisation for their peers will not only make them feel happier and more engaged, as well as comfortable with their identities, but it will also prove to LGBTQIA+ candidates that they would be supported if they choose to apply and accept a job with you.

Whether it’s a queer-focused Slack group or a monthly get-together for queer employees, there are many initiatives you can take to promote this idea. Why not give this new community the reins to your social media presence during Pride Month, for example?

6. Ask for feedback

It doesn’t matter if you end up hiring someone or not, you should always ask for feedback about your process. This becomes even more vital when you’re trying to adjust your recruitment to be more inclusive. Ask specific questions that are directed towards understanding how a candidate perceives you and your approach to LGBTQIA+ causes. You may find the answers insightful.

If you want to learn more about how Thrive can help you make your recruitment process more inclusive to LGBTQIA+ candidates, book a demo today.

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