equity, diversity and inclusion should not be just words.

I have seen the results when equity, diversity and inclusion are not present - in the days before, ‘creating a sense of belonging’ was part of an organisation’s aspiration. I have seen the effects this had on my gay brother and, in turn, my family.

The injustice that my brother experienced still sits with me today.

This is part of why I work in the ED&I field - the strong feeling that people have a right to feel safe and valued.

A smiling woman holding a cup of coffee
A smiling woman holding a cup of coffee

LGBTQIA+ people regularly experience discrimination in the workplace, and 46% do not feel that they can be ‘out’ at work (1).

More than 90% of Australian LGBTQIA+ students hear the homophobic language at school, with more than one in three confronted with slurs daily (2) with devastating impacts and consequences.

At Randstad, we celebrate ‘Wear It Purple Day’ to support and acknowledge our LGBTQIA+ colleagues and to communicate that we want our employees to be comfortable being their authentic selves at work.

Randstad’s Global Chief Executive Officer, Sander van’t Noordende, recently commented in a blog that it is morally and economically in the best interest of our company (and all businesses) to offer support to LGBTQIA+ employees.

He shared his ideas for businesses to advance LGBTQIA+ rights in the workplace; 

  • Moving from intent to behaviour. Leaders should take every opportunity to learn about the needs of their LGBTQIA+ employees and take active steps to implement specific policies and encouragement to be their true selves. 
  • Reframing the conversation to build consensus, learn about the needs of colleagues and stop talking past each other. 
  • Amplify the voice of advocates to remind everyone that LGBTQIA+ people aren’t an isolated community but part of a more comprehensive network of people integral to society and businesses. 

If you are ready to move from intent to behaviour, here are my four tips on how your organisation can create a safe and inclusive workplace for LGBTQIA+ employees.

This will also help you drive greater productivity, increased employee satisfaction and staff retention (3). 

1. develop inclusive HR policies such as: 

  • The inclusion of gender identity in discrimination policies  
  • The use of gender-neutral languages such as ‘parental’ leave (instead of maternity/paternity) and vocabulary that moves away from he/she to they

2. remove bias from your recruitment process.

There are lots of ways you can do this.

Examples include: 

  • Remove names from resumes 
  • Have a diverse interview panel and hire decision-makers. This also signals you live and breathe diversity. If you don’t have interview panels, at the very least, a candidate should meet different people from different genders and backgrounds through the recruitment process. 
  • Include testing or work samples through the recruitment process so that candidates can demonstrate ability and skill. 

3. authentic visuals to signal support and allyship 

  • This could include pronouns options if people chose (emails, virtual meeting names), rainbow flags, allyship banners on emails, rainbow lanyards and logos. However, as a warning, these need to be authentic and year-round, not just Pride month specialities.

4. understand your employee population

  • Knowing the makeup of your organisation’s workforce is a way to check that you have the right recruitment processes.
  • At Randstad, we run an annual diversity survey which is anonymous and voluntary. This can help shape your employee offerings and programs, including setting up an employee resource group or providing training such as Rainbow accredited, inclusive leadership or unconscious bias training.  

creating safe and inclusive workplaces is suitable for people and good for business.

It is no longer a nice-to-have but a central business challenge to ensure your workplace remains a safe, inclusive and attractive place to work for today’s talent.

And it’s never been more critical with Australia’s unemployment rate at a historic level of 3.5%.

To find out more about creating attractive workplaces, you can also look at our employer branding research, which shines a light on what today’s job seekers need and want from their next employer. 

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learn how much the workforce has changed this 2022

australian workmonitor report 2022
about the author
madeline hill ed&i
madeline hill ed&i

Madeline Hill

general manager of equity diversity and inclusion (ed&i)

Madeline Hill is Randstad’s General Manager of Equity Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I). Her passion is connecting with businesses, helping them on their ED&I journey, and creating a safe and inclusive workplace for Randstad’s employees across Australia and New Zealand.