With Pride Month well under way and the parade just around the corner, it’s a time when we're all looking inwards as a society into how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go in supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Integral to this will be ensuring that all individuals feel accepted and appreciated at work. With 65% of UK employees expressing they felt safe to disclose their sexuality/religion/identity in the workplace without repercussions or being treated differently, it shows both the progress that’s been made and work that needs to be done. Especially when you consider that 11% of those asked disagreed with that statement, while 18% neither agreed or disagreed.

Creating a truly inclusive environment for the LGBTQIA+ community in your organisation requires understanding, education, proactive policy-making, and genuine allyship. Here are some actionable steps you can take.

Understanding LGBTQIA+

LGBTQIA+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual/Allied. The plus (+) signifies the broad spectrum of sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions beyond those letters. Respecting and understanding this diversity is the start of creating an inclusive environment.


Learn the Terminology: Understanding the correct terms and definitions can prevent misunderstandings and show respect. Familiarise yourself with the language & different identities used within the LGBTQIA+ community. If you’re corrected by somebody, apologise and move on.

Stay Informed: Keep up with current issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community by reading articles, attending events, and engaging with educational content.

Ethical responsibilities

Mind Your Language: Language is important. Using gender-neutral language and pronouns when addressing groups or individuals whose pronouns you do not know can make people feel empowered, included, and protected. Always ask for and respect people’s pronouns. An easy way to do this is when you’re doing an introduction, ask for the person’s name and preferred pronouns - it’s that easy.

Supportive Policies: Advocate for and adhere to inclusive policies in your workplace, such as non-discrimination policies, gender-neutral bathrooms, and health benefits that cover LGBTQIA+ specific needs. Joining programmes like Stonewall’s Diversity Champions is a great way to start as they can help review and enhance your policies to be more inclusive and give you tangible things to work on to really show you care about your people.

Visible Allies: Show your support by displaying symbols of LGBTQIA+ pride, such as rainbow flags or ally stickers. Participate in events like Pride Month and other LGBTQIA+ celebrations. Donate to LGBTQIA+ organisations and Charities, publicly call out injustice in the world to make your people feel safe.
Ensure that your support is consistent and not limited to specific times of the year, integrating Pride and inclusion into your organisational culture. Don’t be a rainbow washer.

Provide support and encouragement

Listen and Validate: Be an empathetic listener. If a colleague shares their experience, listen without judgement and validate their feelings. Create spaces for employees to express their feelings, such as access to mental health support networks and programmes.

Challenge Discrimination: Stand up against homophobia, transphobia, and any form of discrimination. Report inappropriate comments or actions to HR/People Team, use a whistleblowing line if you have one, speak to a manager or a friend. 

Engage in Allyship

Educate Others: Share what you’ve learned about LGBTQIA+ issues with your colleagues. Lead by example and encourage others to join you in fostering an inclusive environment. At Reward Gateway, we have EPIC news - where all of our ERGs can share what’s important to them and their community at any point throughout the year.

Mentorship and Networking: Support LGBTQIA+ colleagues through mentorship programmes and encourage them to participate in networking opportunities. UK Working Lives analysis share that LGB+[TQIA] employees have lower job satisfaction & the intention to quit is stronger, so we need to work harder to retain these employees.

Provide resources and support

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Join or help create an LGBTQIA+ ERG in your workplace to provide support and foster a sense of community. Ensure that participation in these groups is rewarded, as we tend to see lots of work going unpaid that make a huge difference to the company. Budgets are also really important - if getting a speaker in to talk about something important comes at a cost, and you can see that it will add value - do it. 

At Reward Gateway we have the LGBTQIA+ & Allies network - where teams across UK, USA, Bulgaria and Australia share what’s going on in their countries, share important news, organise events and help educate fellow employees.

Professional Development: Encourage participation in professional development opportunities that focus on diversity and inclusion. If this is for a select few individuals, ask them to share what they have learned - or better yet, invite everyone to join in the professional development to show you really care about the community,

Understand Your Staff: Whether through surveys, polls, town halls, or meetings, hearing from your people will help you understand where your focus needs to be. This includes input from both LGBTQIA+ and non-LGBTQIA+ employees. If you do this - you must do something with the results, there’s nothing worse than someone putting time and effort into giving their thoughts and feelings into something for it to be ignored.

Celebrate the openness your people are showing, celebrating authenticity and kindness.

Supporting the LGBTQIA+ community is an ongoing commitment. By educating yourself, creating inclusive policies, and fostering a culture of genuine allyship, your organisation can make a meaningful impact and create a workplace where everyone feels welcome and valued.

Joe Kerns

As one of our Account Managers at Reward Gateway | Edenred, Joe works with our incredible clients to understand their people strategy and create a plan on how to incorporate this into their Employee Experience Platform. Joe is also a Network Leader with our LGBTQIA+ & Allies community, helping to create a more inclusive place to work.

Mid-Market Account Manager

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