While the rights of the LGBTQ+ community have been expanded and workplace inclusion is becoming more prevalent, succeeding in the workplace as an LGBTQ+ employee can still be challenging and stressful. There are many resources out there for LGBTQ+ individuals to help them find and secure employment and develop a better understanding of the ways in which corporate culture can impact their professional experiences. Zippia, a platform designed to help college students and graduates find jobs and explore different career paths, has created this LGBTQ+ Workplace Resource Guide to help LGBTQ+ employees feel more comfortable in the workplace and assess workplace inclusion as they consider different employment opportunities. While this blog provides an overview of some of the main components of the LGBTQ+ Workplace Resource Guide, there is a lot more information in the guide itself, so please review the guide for more information on LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion.
One section of the guide provides information on finding inclusive companies for the LGBTQ+ community. While Connecticut is a state that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, companies can take different approaches to make sure their employees feel welcome in the workplace. One of the recommended ways to assess an employer’s LGBTQ+ inclusion is to find out if the company has LGBTQ+ networks, affinity groups, or employee resource groups specifically created for their LGBTQ+ employees. Information about these groups can usually be found on an organization’s website, in the Diversity & Inclusion section. Having an LGBTQ+ network in the workplace can be an indicator that there are other LGBTQ+ employees working at that company, and there is a sense of community that someone can align themselves within the workplace. If information about workplace inclusion cannot be located on the company website, questions relating to this topic can be addressed during a job interview. It’s best to prepare these questions ahead of time and think about what values of an organization are the most relevant in helping determine whether or not to accept an offer of employment.
Another section of the guide suggests using the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index and Zippia’s database to determine the best companies to work for LGBTQ+ individuals. Guidelines for evaluating corporate equality include assessing inclusive benefits, supporting an inclusive culture and corporate social responsibility, and responsible citizenship. A company also needs to rank well on salary, company financial standing, and healthcare coverage to be considered a favorable place to work for LGBTQ+ employees. Those who are interested in looking at statistics and data that evaluate these criteria for specific companies in the United States can review these resources to compare how competitively companies rank against each other.
The process of coming out at work can also be tough, and a choice that each individual gets to make based on their personal level of comfort. Weighing the risks and benefits can be helpful in making a choice to come out at work, and it is important to know what action steps are available if a work environment is not accepting of LGBTQ+ employees. The guide provides resources on seeking help if an employee feels that their rights are being violated in the workplace.
There are also many local and national LGBTQ+ community groups, including community centers, advocacy and support groups, legal support resources, health care organizations, and social activities that LGBTQ+ members can join to find out more information about which workplaces provide the best resources and support for their employees, ways to make the workplace more inclusive, and tips to become a better ally to advocate for LGBTQ+ employees. These groups can also be a great way to meet LGBTQ+ people from different organizations and ask them about their work and how welcome they feel at their job.
To wrap up their guide, Zippia lists LGBTQ+ educational resources to learn more about inclusive language, the importance of using pronouns, and utilizing appropriate terminology. It is necessary to be mindful of the way we speak to and about others, and these resources can be a good first step to ensuring that our language remains inclusive of all members of our community.
It is important that you feel safe, respected, and included in your workplace. If you’d like to discuss some ideas on how you can implement this guide’s advice with your prospective employer and as you look for jobs, please schedule an appointment with a Career Coach at the UConn Center for Career Development.