Employers should demonstrate their commitment to cultivating a diverse workforce by offering inclusive employee benefits. As we’re in LGBTQ+ History Month, we advise this is a good opportunity for all employers to review their benefits to ensure LGBTQ+ employees have parity in terms of what benefits are offered, how these benefits are communicated, and the way in which they are accessed.
Employers should not make assumptions about who might utilise which employee benefits. Some employees are naturally more open than others about their personal circumstances when it comes to health and wellbeing matters, and so it is easier to cater for this group, but others should not be overlooked because they are more reserved: this doesn’t mean less support is required. When employee benefits are offered to all without discrimination, all employees will feel welcome and included within the working environment and will receive the support they both need and deserve.
There are some high-growth areas of support where businesses may need to pay particular attention to ensure both the support, and the communication, is inclusive.
Support for menopause must be inclusively delivered to all, to appeal to women and to those who do not self-identify as female, all groups need to know what support is on offer so they can opt-in if necessary. In addition, every member of the workforce will benefit from understanding how a change in hormones can affect some employees, and by taking a broad approach to educating staff, all employees will understand how to support each other.
Similarly, urology support, traditionally aimed at men, should also be delivered to all employees. If communication is selective to specific groups, some employees may not receive the support they require. Additionally, it benefits the whole workforce to understand more about men’s health and support needed.
It isn’t just heterosexual couples considering starting a family that may face fertility issues. LGBTQ+ employees can often also face fertility problems and so employers need to ensure that any fertility support they offer has the capacity to cope with the complexities that LGBTQ+ employees face. This may include support for people going through donor insemination or surrogacy, as well as those experiencing alternative journeys to parenthood such as adoption and fostering.
Parental support is an area where employers may need to reassess their employee benefits provision, as all too often it is worded around common genders when in fact, inclusive language would reach a wider number of employees and help create a smoother transition to becoming a new parent.
Demonstrating a commitment to supporting its LGBTQ+ community can give an employer a competitive edge: where there is significant competition for employees, those employers who embrace diversity and inclusion will find themselves in a strong position to recruit the best people. In addition, a workplace culture can have a big impact on employees’ emotional wellbeing and when staff feel ‘at home’ within a company, they are much more likely to be productive and stay loyal.
When a business is diverse it is proven to be more creative and has a better understanding of its customers, both of which can lead to better financial performance. When employers are good to their people, it’s good for business too.