12 Ways to Create a More Gender Inclusive Workplace
Director of Innovation, Recruiting and Training, Ivar’s and Kidd Valley Restaurants
“Closing the gap to full acceptance of LGBTQ people will not come from legislation on judicial decisions alone,” says Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD in its 2019 Accelerating Acceptance Report, “but from creating a culture where LGBTQ people are embraced and respected. This year’s results demonstrate an urgent need for GLAAD to reach younger Americans with stories and campaigns that build acceptance.”
CHART is at the forefront of the hospitality industry. We come into contact with millions of people across the nation every day. Because of this, we’re in a position to lead great change for gender diverse people and having it ripple beyond our hotels and restaurants and into the communities we live in and serve. So, here’s our top list of ways to make your workplace more gender inclusive.
Knowledge is always the key to acceptance. Offering training to your teams helps them to better understand the difference between sex and gender, the different types of gender, and how they can contribute to a more inclusive workplace.
For those who are comfortable, encourage the sharing of pronouns in the workplace. You can normalize this by sharing your own first. “Hi, I’m Patrick and I go by the pronouns he/him.” This step can be taken before a meeting with attendees at the table, between a manager and employee during the hiring process, on nametags, or in email signatures. It’s an easy and effective way to let co-workers know how you would like to be addressed and cut down on confusion.
Strike the Gender Question from Your Applications
Go through your employment applications and see if your company still asks for a candidate’s gender. It’s not really a necessary question for most jobs, and in some states it’s actually illegal.
Review Your Benefits Paperwork
Take some time to review your benefits paperwork and make sure there is no gender identity discrimination for those who may not identify as male or female.
Go through Your Employee Handbook
Remove any unnecessary gender language, and if you haven’t done so already, add gender identity or gender expression to the list of areas in which harassment will not be tolerated.
Remove Gender-based Language from Your Dress Code
For example, remove gender-specific sayings like “men with short hair” or “women with long hair.” Also remove gender-based restrictions such as policies allowing women to wear earrings, but men cannot. As with the application question, gender-based dress code restrictions may be illegal in your state.
“Adapting your company policies, educating your workforce and making it a point to be gender inclusive with both your employees and guests will go a long way to set your company apart as the gender diverse community grows.”
Celebrate Your Gender Diverse Employees
For visibility, here are two suggestions that can be easily implemented. First, help celebrate Pride Month (which happens every year in June) by allowing gender diverse employees to add a Pride flag sticker or pin to their nametag or uniform. Please be aware there are many different Pride flags, so you should allow employees to wear the ones most meaningful to them. Additionally, you could ask if any of your gender diverse employees would like to be included in photo shoots for training or recruiting materials to demonstrate your company’s commitment to inclusion to potential candidates or new hires.
Make Single Use Restrooms Gender Neutral
If you have single use restrooms for employees in your hotel or restaurant, consider changing them from one men’s room and one ladies’ room to two gender neutral rooms. This makes it so anyone of any gender can use either bathroom at any time.
Invite Gender Diverse Staff to Participate in Meetings on the Topic
If your company is considering inclusion measures to make gender diverse employees or guests feel more welcome in your hotels or restaurants, invite your current gender diverse staff members to participate in any meetings on that topic because they will be able to add a very relevant perspective. Partnering with them will help to make the end result much stronger.
Make Gender Identity Changes Simple
Make it as easy as possible for anyone who wishes to change their gender identity. This is often accompanied by a name change that will need to be reported to HR and payroll. Make sure the needed information is posted in your employee areas or accessible to them so they can make these changes in a timely manner and not miss any paychecks.
Review Your Vendor Systems and Programs
Look at the different systems and programs provided by your partners or vendors, such as an LMS or scheduling software. If employees are still asked about their gender or there is language that references males or females, contact your rep and see if it can be changed or removed.
Offer Counseling and Services
If you offer an Employee Assistance Program, check to make sure it offers counseling or services for folks who might be struggling with their gender and make sure that information is communicated to your staff members.
As acceptance of LGBTQ people grows, so will the number of young people who describe themselves as LGBTQ. Adapting your company policies, educating your workforce and making it a point to be gender inclusive with both your employees and guests will go a long way to set your company apart as the gender diverse community grows.
For more information on gender inclusivity or to foster the conversation of gender diverse groups in your workplace, visit the links below.
Conversation Starters on Gender Inclusivity of Guests