By Melanie Green, Research Adviser at the CIPD.
Employee wellbeing has been high on the list of priorities for organisations and people professionals alike in the past year. According to data reported in our People Profession in 2020 research, 65% of business stakeholders and 68% of people professionals saying employee health and wellbeing was a top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And, our Health and Wellbeing at work 2021 survey found that, of organisations who have taken additional measures to support wellbeing during COVID-19, 83% have providing more support tailored to individual needs, like flexible work. This is undoubtedly positive, and indicates that organisations are doing more to understand and adapt to the unique wellbeing needs of each employee.
LGBT+ workers face particular wellbeing challenges at work
That being said, our report Inclusion at work: perspectives on LGBT+ working lives highlights that LGBT+ workers report poorer wellbeing outcomes than their heterosexual colleagues, meaning that organisations need to do more to identify, understand and rectify these wellbeing challenges.
Particularly, we found that:
These figures show that, as well as being aware of, and providing support for, challenges specific to LGBT+ workers, particularly during the pandemic where isolation and lack of normal support networks are affecting us all, we need to look at the wider workplace context when thinking about LGBT+ workplace wellbeing.
We also explored other aspects of LGBT+ working lives and found that LGBT+ employees experience more workplace conflict and lower levels of psychological safety than heterosexual and cisgender colleagues. In other words. Organisations must look at their wider policies and practices and sure their workplaces are inclusive, allow everyone to feel safe and don’t tolerate harassment.
Recommendations for practice
With our research identifying key issues for LGBT+ wellbeing at work, we need to take targeted action. People professionals have a key role to play here in auditing current people management practices and working with colleagues throughout their organisations to create more inclusive workplaces. This could include:
Finally, beyond these targeted actions, it’s important to look at the bigger picture in your organisation; is there an inclusive, safe culture? Policy change will only go so far to enhance LGBT+ employees do not feel safe in their workplace. Our Building Inclusive Workplaces report talks more about inclusive cultures and the accompanying inclusion health checker tool can be used to make a start in understanding inclusion at your workplace.
This blog is the first in a series that will explore the key issues and recommendations for people professions from our report Inclusion at work: perspectives on LGBT+ working lives.
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