Workplace Guides: Monitoring Sexual Orientation

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Preparing to monitor | What to monitor |What to do next

Top Tips 

Top steps to monitor sexual orientation in the workplace:

  1. Ensure that the culture of your organisation is LGB inclusive and that you have developed policies and practices to make homophobia and discrimination unacceptable in the workplace.

  2. Establish the business case for monitoring sexual orientation. Know why you are monitoring and what you want to find out.

  3. Gain the support of senior management to demonstrate to the wider workforce that sexual orientation monitoring is an essential component of the corporate equalities agenda.

  4. Consult with key stakeholders, including LGB staff, to establish the best way to introduce sexual orientation to your existing monitoring procedures.

  5. Develop IT systems to support the addition of sexual orientation data to existing diversity monitoring, such as recruitment monitoring and staff surveys.

  6. Be clear about what the data will be used for, and how findings will be reported back. Guarantee confidentiality and compliance with the Data Protection Act, and ensure individuals cannot be identified from the findings.

  7. Communicate the purpose and importance of sexual orientation monitoring to the wider workforce, especially LGB staff. Emphasise confidentiality and data protection, identifying which trained personnel will have access to the data.

  8. Treat preliminary data with caution. It may take up to five years for the numerical data to become reliable, as staff get used to the process and LGB staff develop the confidence to self-identify. Commit to repeating the exercise so that an internal benchmark can be established over time, to measure performance and progress.

  9. Take positive action to address any issues revealed by monitoring. Make this known widely, to encourage staff participation in monitoring exercises.

  10. Treat monitoring as just one part of an integrated sexual orientation equality programme. It is not a substitute for robust policy, training or workplace initiatives such as LGB staff networks.

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