Celebrating LGBT+ History Month – Embracing diversity and fostering inclusion

Celebrating LGBT+ History Month – Embracing diversity and fostering inclusion

Alana Birchall, Business Solutions Architect at ManpowerGroup, guest blogs for LGBT+ History Month.

In a world that’s constantly evolving, where identities blur and perspectives widen, it’s no surprise that the landscape of sexual orientation and gender identity is shifting too. Recent studies show that just 53% of Gen Z identifies as exclusively straight, with 40% expressing a pattern of attraction outside the scope of exclusively heterosexual attractions between cisgender people. This seismic shift suggests a remarkable journey within a single lifetime from the shadows of concealment and criminalisation, to a vibrant blossoming community today.

While we celebrate the strides we’ve made in addressing inequality, it’s crucial to acknowledge the hurdles that still loom large, especially for young LGBTQ+ individuals. For many, their formulative years are marred by a lack of support and acceptance, which can have profound and enduring effects on mental wellbeing, self-esteem, career trajectories and overall happiness. According to the Just Like Us Positive Futures report, LGBTQ+ youth are more than three times as likely to feel pessimistic about their future compared to their heterosexual peers.

Even more concerning is the reality faced by LGBTQ+ young adults in the workplace. Shockingly, a quarter of them feel compelled to retreat back into the closet after stepping into the professional world.

But change is within our grasp. Embracing diversity and fostering inclusion isn’t just a moral imperative – it’s a smart business move. Studies consistently demonstrate the tangible benefits of inclusive practices, from driving innovation through diverse perspectives to outperforming competitors by cultivating deeper trust and engagement among employees. Inclusive workplaces don’t just promote individual wellbeing; they also translate into higher revenue growth, enhanced recruiting efforts and improved employee retention rates. When employees feel their ideas and contributions are valued, they are 9.8 times more likely to look forward to work.

So what can employers do to support their young LGBTQ+ colleagues as they navigate their transition into the workplace?

We can all remember how daunting our first day at work was; now imagine the trepidation of entering the workplace for the first time, compounded by the fear of not being able to be your authentic self. What if you felt you had to hide talking about your personal life and partners? Affect your tone of voice when speaking to colleagues? Or avoid using pronouns? Creating an environment where everyone feels safe and valued requires a commitment to inclusive behaviours grounded in respect and appreciation for diversity. Because true belonging is the cornerstone of individual and organisational success and when you feel like you belong, you’re better able to thrive.

At ManpowerGroup, we believe businesses have a responsibility to be a positive contributor to societal change. That means intentionally building diverse and inclusive workplaces and hiring the best employees based on talent without discrimination. Across the hundreds of thousands of clients ManpowerGroup works with globally, we are helping our partners align their big ambitions with clear, actionable plans to hire more inclusively and keep the diverse talent they hire.

One impactful initiative is the UN’s LGBT Inclusion Standards which provides a roadmap for employers committed to fostering inclusivity. ManpowerGroup proudly stands among the ranks of prominent global organisations to have signed up to these.

Additionally, we have also developed our LGBTQ+ Inclusive #WordsatWork Guide which offers practical advice on navigating pronouns in the workplace along with 10 actionable strategies to  promote a culture of respect and belonging for LGBTQ+ employees.

In embracing diversity and championing inclusion, we’re not just shaping the workplace of tomorrow; we’re crafting a future where every individual has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of who they are or who they love.

To learn more about diversity initiatives and how we can implement these within your organisation, please get in touch.