In the last few years, there’s been a greater focus on fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace. That focus will continue to be a priority in 2023 and beyond, especially when it comes to LGBTQ+ colleagues. It’s now common to work alongside individuals with varying gender identities and expressions, which means that leaders play a crucial role in promoting allyship because they are in position to promote inclusivity from the top down.
There are countless ways leaders can create a welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ colleagues; here are a few.1. Foster an Inclusive Culture
It’s important for all colleagues to feel welcome at work and have a sense of belonging. It affects productivity, happiness, and success of the team. An easy and impactful place to start is pronoun visibility and usage. Using the correct pronouns (e.g., they/them, she/her, he/him, etc.) demonstrates respect for an individual's personhood and supports his/her/their gender affirmation. .2. Listen and Engage in Meaningful Conversation
Leaders can practice allyship by engaging in meaningful conversation around the issues LGBTQ+ colleagues face in the workplace. This gives LGBTQ+ employees a voice to evaluate feedback to those at the top and to take actions of their own.3. Advocate for LGBTQ+ Colleagues
Allies should be free to speak up for and with their LGBTQ+ colleagues. When leaders shut down discriminatory and even unintentionally triggering comments, it creates a ripple effect that empowers all to speak up and advocate.4. Foster Inclusivity through Participation
Another way leaders can help move the needle on diversity and inclusion is joining an employee resource group and encouraging colleagues to join. At Day & Zimmermann, our True Colors ERG is a place where colleagues can learn about LGBTQ+ issues and work together to bring initiatives that foster inclusivity to life across the organization.
These principles apply, not just to our LGBTQ+ colleagues, but to all. When all employees feel supported and welcome, teams are happier, more motivated and poised for success. So find your voice, be an ally and help us lead!
Lisa Ann Cooney is Sr. Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary for Day & Zimmermann. She is a member of the Company's Leadership Council, which makes decisions regarding overall Company strategy and policy. She chairs the Company's Ethics & Compliance Committee and is a member of the Company's Executive Diversity & Inclusion Committee. She also is the Executive Sponsor of the Company LGBT & Allies Employee Resource Group.