Senior Account Manager Chloe Chescoe attended the LGBTQ+ Business Conference in Guernsey a few months ago. Liberate organised this Conference following its successful Guernsey PRIDE event again this year.
It became very apparent during this conference that the importance of internal communications around LGBTQ+ understanding, acceptance, support and allyship still has a long way to go for some organisations.
Most representatives in the room quickly identified that cultural behaviour and education were the top two priorities for making workplaces LGBTQ+ inclusive today. In addition, the difficulties with generational understanding and leading by example from the top seemed to be a common theme discussed by attendees. Indeed, many saw this as an opportunity for leaders.
An excellent address from a gender-fluid Director and Head of Investment Banking for a global organisation, highlighted how internal communications could help with some of these opportunities.
Some prominent themes included the need for allies:
- Understanding what allies should be doing and don’t need to do
- External and internal perception
- Understanding the importance of corporate values and policies.
Whether your company has an advanced D&I programme with a dedicated team in place, the internal communications function should be the authentic, outspoken voice and reliable ally for every employee. Some ideas discussed include:
- Regularly communicate the company values to all the employees (always use inclusive language).
- Share positive stories of your diverse workforce within the organisation or their children, friends and family. This helps employees see that the company gives a fair opportunity to people from various backgrounds to grow and succeed.
- If you don’t have anyone in your workforce, ask organisations like Liberate to bring in speakers as part of a regular schedule to facilitate these conversations.
- Ask yourself the question, what more can we do as an organisation?
- Take progressive steps to be seen as a visible ally, which can be achieved by attending events, practising compassion and communicating your passion for the LGBTQ+ community. By actively listening and asking questions, you demonstrate that you are the change you want to see.
Equity and equality
Establishing the key difference between equality and equity is essential. Equity should be the focal point within a business, meaning the same measure, quantity, amount, or number as another.
So, how can we make internal communications more equitable? By speaking to underrepresented groups in the organisation, you can discover their needs and whether they feel comfortable sharing this information.
Offering fully inclusive policies, healthcare and training on both diversity and inclusion extends the knowledge across your organisation. In addition, by spreading awareness of intersectionality, you act as a role model for your employees to maintain momentum while promoting discussion.
These positive transitions are in aid of celebration and not toleration.
Diversity and inclusion should be placed at the heart of an organisation’s people and purpose policy. There should be an ongoing effort to involve everyone to create a safe space and achieve a positive shift in organisational culture. Highlight this importance through recruitment opportunities, increased creativity and innovation and high employee retention.
You should be clear on the following:
- Why you feel equity is fundamental to your organisation
- Measure meaningfully
- Challenge the status quo
- Remove the barriers
- Collaboration across communities
Shellene Drakes-Tull, Founder of Sweet Lime Communications, shared: ‘Internal communications should be a tool to build a culture that encourages open and honest conversations, leading to better outcomes for everyone.’
At Black Vanilla, we believe that by giving organisations the right tools and training they can increase their in-house communications capacity and make a greater impact on their customers, stakeholders and employees.
If you’re interested in strengthening your internal comms, please contact Chloe at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01481 729 229.