Two in five LGBTQ workers feel bullied at work. This staggering statistic reported by a 2017 CareerBuilder survey highlights an epidemic that needs to be openly addressed in workplaces everywhere. Even more discouraging, 72 percent do not report their bullying.
That means well over half of the LGBTQ community who are bullied in the workplace are suffering in silence. A lack of workplace support is just one of the many reasons people are gathering worldwide in comradery during International Pride Month.
The awareness these supporters bring to light as they battle against bias and stand up for LGBTQ equality is inspiring. One major key to that equality is the critical word: “support.”
We believe that with continued support from medical sales leaders, the workplace will evolve into a place where LGBTQ medical sales employees feel both safe and accepted. This can’t be fully realized, however, until leaders initiate ongoing support in their own workspaces all year long.
This June — during International Pride Month — is the perfect time to begin proactively and intentionally making moves for a more supportive and inclusive workplace. Here’s where you need to start:
Openly address workplace bullying
The term “bullies” was traditionally used to describe school-aged children. Over the last few years, though, we’ve watched as adults earn the title as ridicule and harassment in the workplace are brought to the forefront.
LGBTQ employees are no strangers to this behavior, as confirmed in the previously mentioned CareerBuilder survey. And it’s impacting them deeply. In fact, one-in-five have experienced health issues because of bullying at work. Another 41 percent of LGBT workers have left a job because they were bullied.
Enforce a zero-tolerance policy regarding bullying at your company. Take action immediately when harassment is brought to your attention and working proactively. Ask HR to share outlined steps that occur when an employee is harassed or bullied in the workplace.
Explain to your team that bullying isn’t just a face-to-face act. It can occur via email, text messages, and even outside of work. This type of support and affirmative action helps employees feel more comfortable reaching out when there’s an issue.
Use a supportive dialogue with everyone
A supportive environment can’t be nurtured without effective communication. Open communication, however, doesn’t exist if employees don’t feel they’re in a safe space.
Ensure your team feels safe by keeping a supportive dialogue, no matter who you’re talking to. Any type of negative comments, including jokes, should remain out of the office and off of social media. Always use language and terms you wouldn’t be afraid to speak in front of your LGBTQ employees.
Keeping your language supportive at all times makes your employees feel safe and comfortable around you. Additionally, it discourages other employees from engaging in derogatory conversations and using unsupportive language.
Participate in events
Showing your support at the office is a great place to begin advocating for your medical sales LGBTQ community. But it’s when you show up for your team outside of work that they know you’re really invested in their well-being and future.
Prove to employees your support isn’t limited to the office. You’re not putting on a show for good reviews or HR compliance. It’s truly because you care for your employees’ well-being and happiness.
Gay pride events are happening all over the world in June. Gather a team of employees who want to back their LGBTQ colleagues. Make it fun and collaborative. Design t-shirts and attend peaceful protests, parades, or other types of events together.
Use these events as a way to understand your employees on a deeper level. Take note of important topics and how they can be carried into the workplace. While these grand-scale Pride events aren’t year-round occurrences, you can make a huge impact for your team by showing support at smaller events or holding your own any time of the year.