Workplace Guides: Career Development

Home | Introduction | The business case
Developing policies and top level buy-in
Good practice examples | Communicating with employees | Evaluating success

Top Ten Steps to Support Career Development

1. Consult the lesbian and gay employee network and other lesbian and gay employees on what issues they have identified with regards to their career development.

2. Learn lessons from other groups such as female, disabled and black and minority ethnic employees. Consult these network groups as to what lessons they have learnt from the establishment of existing schemes and identify how they could be adapted to address the needs of lesbian and gay employees.

3. Assess all career development opportunities the organisation has on offer to identify whether they fully meet the needs of lesbian and gay employees, as identified through consultation. If they do not, alter them and promote that you have done so to lesbian and gay employees, or consider establishing new schemes specifically tackling the issues raised.

4. Promote existing career development opportunities to lesbian and gay staff and allow all staff access to comprehensive information on all the career development opportunities throughout the organisation, rather than rely on their line manager for information.

5. Encourage and support lesbian and gay employees to come out. Ask them if they want to be a role model, provide support, and promote their existence in the organisation.

6. Understand the issues that affect lesbian and gay people. Provide careers guidance and support to all staff which can respond to issues raised by lesbian and gay employees that relate to their sexual orientation. Ensure that this guidance is available through different channels and enables lesbian and gay employees to assess their own strengths, weaknesses and potential.

7. Manage the expectations of lesbian and gay staff who undertake career development opportunities. Make it clear to participants precisely what they will obtain from the opportunity and remind all staff that all promotions are based on merit.

8. Ensure that if offering tailored initiatives to lesbian and gay staff, similar training is provided for other staff. For example, if a course offering advice on coming out entails confidence building and assertiveness training, similar generic confidence and assertiveness training should be on offer for other staff.

9. Communicate with all staff as to why the organisation is addressing the career development of lesbian and gay employees. Consider funding the lesbian and gay network group to begin a visible campaign educating all staff about the difficulties lesbian and gay employees face.

10. Monitor sexual orientation across all levels of the organisation to obtain reliable data on the representation of lesbian and gay people across all levels, including internal promotion and exit interviews.