Work is often where people spend most of their days.
It’s a place to contribute, meet peers, grow and learn. Everyone should feel safe, supported and comfortable at work, but this is unfortunately not guaranteed. For lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) people, work can be a safe haven, perhaps the place where they first come out. However, it can also be a place of fear, where they feel unable to be themselves without experiencing discrimination or harassment.
LGBT people who feel able to bring their whole selves to work have increased energy, better performance and stronger relationships with their peers. The more you're forced to be somebody else or hide who you are, the more your happiness and performance at work will be affected. When you spend more time thinking about how to describe your weekend without outing yourself than on that looming deadline, you and your work will suffer. Simply put, people perform better when they can be themselves.
LGBT employee network groups can transform the experiences of LGBT people at work. They do this in three main ways:
- Peer-to-peer support – providing a space for LGBT employees to support each other, express concerns they may have, and spend time around people who understand their experiences. This can radically improve their day-to-day experience at work by helping them feel less alone, access the support they need and grow in confidence.
- Awareness raising – promoting a better understanding of LGBT inclusion and making LGBT experiences more visible in the wider organisation. This can empower all employees to step up as allies and improve the workplace culture for everyone within your organisation.
- Accountability – scrutinising your organisation’s policies and processes, feeding back concerns, and suggesting how these can be improved. This gives LGBT employees a critical voice and helps ensure that LGBT inclusion is embedded across your organisation. This guide will help you take the first steps to forming a network, going through how to get support from your organisation, how to build your membership base, and more. For more guidance on how to run a successful and diverse network group, visit our ‘Finding your collective voice’ resource, available exclusively for Diversity Champions.
Speak to us about becoming a Diversity Champion
Diversity Champions is the UK’s leading programme for ensuring all LGBT people are accepted without exception in the workplace. As part of your organisation’s membership, Stonewall would support you in setting up and running your network group, and give you access to discounted tickets to all of our events and conferences, including our Network Group Masterclass.
We’ll also review your organisation’s policies, give you access to networking with more than 750 organisations, and support you every step of the way. Find out more.