Creating a safe and inclusive workplace, Part 2.

 

Our two-part series on establishing a dynamic and protected workplace for employees continues with more of the important initiatives employers should take on behalf of their staff’s well-being. If you missed part one, visit the link here, it’s information you don’t want to miss!

 

Employer-led initiatives for an employee-focused culture, continued…

 

  1. Anonymous survey to reveal any hesitations in employee communication, feeling of safety, ability to teamwork. No better way of taking the pulse of your employee’s workplace experience than taking it to the source and requesting their feedback.
  2. Make collaboration a key component to the culture. Workplaces get cliquey, that happens. But when it gets excessive, it hurts teamwork. So make sure employees have frequent opportunities to collaborate (with new people) on projects.
  3. Know your laws: federal, state, local. You know this but failure to comply with the law does occur. Don’t allow for it. For example, have you recently taken a look at hiring practices to safeguard against preferential treatment? CA’s FEHA protects employees from this form of discrimination.
  4. Set the example. A healthy company culture cannot exist without the employer leading the way through their own language and actions, it simply can’t. The first step before all these others is reflecting upon your own practices and making the necessary corrections. Then your employees will know you’re the real deal!

 

We hope you feel ready for building a safe and inclusive company culture! We know the steps in this blog series will lead to positive change and have a lasting impact on the prosperity of your business. Looking for more hands-on assistance for all things inclusivity? Eos HR can help! We make sure small business employers have the resources they need to lead a productive and inclusive workplace. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

Creating a safe and inclusive workplace, Part 1.

 

All month long we’ve been sharing the resources employers need in order to create an inclusive and safe work environment for their staff, including the terminology used in the LGBTQIA+ community (using the appropriate language is essential for demonstrating respect), and the California laws that protect against discrimination.

In our latest blog we set the stage on how to ensure a safe workplace by discussing why it’s important to do so. We discussed how it not only makes work a space that employees feel respected and valued, but that it also leads to things like a higher retention rate and improved collaboration. Ready to learn the steps to take for a positive and productive company culture? Here’s the first of our two-part series.

 

Employer-led initiatives for an employee-focused culture

 

Your overall goal as an employer is to foster an environment where the employee feels they can be themselves, for example that they do not feel at threat or unsure about revealing that they are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. If you have employees that feel safe to live authentically at work, then everyone, company and staff alike, benefits.

Here’s some steps to get started:

  1. Make sure nondiscrimination policy includes LGBTQIA+ as protected statuses. Any nondiscrimination/DEI policy needs to be completely inclusive if it is to be effective. You can (and should) have HR regularly review policies to ensure as much.
  2. What kind of language is used in the company? Is it inclusive? This can be a sneaky one, in part because implicit biases (the biases we act upon unconsciously) are so often found in the language we use. Can you create ungendered job descriptions and/or employee manuals? Do you use stereotypes when describing people and/or situations? These things are REALLY important for building a foundation of respect.
  3. Train train train. Managerial trainings are an excellent way to educate supervisors on things like implicit biases, and on how to adequately address issues that arise. They should be done on a regular basis, since to be effective it is best they are incorporated in the culture.
  4. Treat all equally, eg when recognizing achievements. Is there maybe some preferential treatment going on? Do you tend to take some employees more seriously than others (and if so, investigate the reason behind that!) It cannot be stressed enough that all employees should have equal access to resources, be uniformly considered for promotions, recognized for their efforts, and penalized on an equal basis. Really this is the key component for your employees to feel they are valued and respected.

 

Next week we’ll be sharing additional actions for employers to take when building an inclusive, and yes prosperous!, company culture. But are you ready to get started now? Eos HR can help! We make sure small business employers have the resources they need to lead a productive and inclusive workplace. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

Discrimination Protection in California

 

In this and the blogs to come, we’ll be discussing building a company culture that is mindful of the LGBTQIA+ employees and unfortunately a part of that conversation is protecting these employees from discrimination. It would be wonderful if all employees were treated equally but we know that is not the case, and therefore it’s useful to review the anti-discrimination laws that protect all employees, including those who identify within the LGBTQIA+ community.

 

Federal anti-discrimination laws

 

  1. Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, and nationality.
  2. American Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination of people with mental and/or physical disabilities. What constitutes as a disability is different in each state and therefore it is important to review.
  3. Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits different rates of pay between gender for the same work.
  4. Age Discrimination Act prohibits age-related discrimination
  5. Genetic Discrimination Act of 2008 prohibits using a person’s genetic history as a qualifier for making hiring and firing decisions

Note, there is no federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation BUT California does offer protections.

 

CA protections for LGBTQIA+ workers

 

  1. Gender, gender identity, and gender expression: employers are prohibited from discriminating employees based on these factors. Remember that gender identity is a person’s internal understanding of their gender alignment, and gender expression is a person’s public presentation of their gender identity.*
  2. Sexual orientation: In the state of CA employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers based on their sexual orientation.

 

Important to note

 

  1. Failure to prevent discrimination: In CA, if an employer becomes aware of discrimination against an employee, they are obligated to not only put a stop to it but also to take measures against it from occurring again.
  2. Harassment: The CA Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers from harassing workers for their sexual orientation (as well as race, gender religion, etc) and extends to management staff and colleagues as well.

 

Thoroughly understanding the rights of employees is essential for employers, and whenever we discuss matters of company culture, benefits, etc., these rights should always be top-of-mind. There is no such thing as an inclusive and productive team environment if everyone on that team is not equally protected from harassment and discrimination. Employers first step in addressing discriminatory acts is to stop it, and then implement preventative measures.

If you’re looking to get started on building an inclusive culture within your company, Eos HR can help! We make sure small business employers have the resources they need to lead a productive and inclusive workplace. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

*If you wish to review terminology, please visit our blog that offers useful definitions: Starting the Dialogue for an Inclusive Culture:  Terminology

Starting the Dialogue for an Inclusive Culture: Terminology

 

It’s Pride Month! All month long we will be discussing the role HR plays in ensuring safe, inclusive workplaces for the LGBTQIA+ community. In order to prepare for these conversations, it’s important to first understand the terminology, so we’ve defined all the terms you’ll need to know to participate in this month’s dialogue. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, the definitions below serve as an excellent starting point.

 

Common terminology of the inclusion conversation

 

  1. LGBTQIA+: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexual, asexual, plus. The plus acts as the current placeholder for the additional sexual identities, etc. that exist. As we know, this acronym evolves over time
  2. Gender Identity: A person’s internal understanding of their gender alignment (whether they perceive themselves as male, female, or other)
  3. Cisgender: A person whose gender identity, behavior, etc. aligns with their assigned sex at birth.
  4. Ally: A supporter and/or advocate of the LGBTQIA+ community
  5. Sexual orientation: A person’s continuing pattern of attraction to another person, this may be to the same-sex, opposite-sex, or both sexes
  6. Transgender: A person’s whose gender identity differs from their assigned sex at birth
  7. Nonbinary: A person whose gender identity does not conform to any one gender (they may identify with more than one gender or no gender at all, and so forth)
  8. Gender non-conforming: A person’s whose gender expression ‘fluctuates’ among the societal expectations of gender behavior

 

We hope this list of terms will serve useful to you in our discussions this month. Stay tuned for enlightening conversations about workplace safety, company culture and inclusion, legal requirements of employers, and the benefits that best suit a diverse team.

If you’re looking to get started on building great culture in your company now, Eos HR can help! We make sure small business employers have the resources they need to lead a productive and inclusive workplace. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.