An estimated 3.1% of the population identify as LGBTQ+. That’s almost twice the size of the community back in 2014 (1.6%). With that number only growing every year, society continues to evolve to be more inclusive, and it’s therefore only fitting that organisaions worldwide do the same.
Building a house made of bricks
Let’s compare organisations adapting to societal changes to the three little pigs and their houses. Those that have rewritten their policies, updated their systems and taken steps to ‘outwardly’ show their support, have built their houses out of sticks and straw. But, if the people within those organisations don’t acclimate to societal evolution and get on board, the house will eventually be blown over.
To build your house out of bricks and ensure your organisation is truly being supportive of the LGBTQ+ community and how people identify, the employee culture itself must evolve. Very often the operational side of change is mastered but little effort is given to the people side.
So what can organisations, particularly contact centres, do to ensure that all stakeholders are treated equally and the best customer experience (CX) is delivered?
Here’s four ways you can transform your employee culture and lay a secure foundation perfect for your future-proof ‘brick house’.
Of course, changing policies, and updating digital systems is one way to start building a more inclusive environment. But those changes must be loud to truly show support. By developing a clear mission statement for supporting the LGBTQ+ community in and out of the workplace and communicating it on a company-wide level, employees at all levels of the organisation will become aware of the direction you’re going in and the inclusion strategies and practices that will be coming down the pipeline.
Organisations will need to have representatives that understand and embody the change they want to happen internally. This will help weather the internal storm as when an organisation goes through change, employees will see it as either positive or negative, exciting or frightening, essential or unnecessary, and in most cases a varied combination of all the above.
These leaders are essential in helping your employees people process and embrace change; helping them understand why it’s needed and what this means for them, their colleagues, customers and the business.
Your frontline care teams interact with large volumes of customers daily but going into those interactions with the outdated assumptions of everyone being heterosexual runs the growing risk of delivering a bad customer experience (CX).
This mindset must first be changed from within and can only be done through employee training and development. Putting into place blended learning courses that help to create an inclusive working environment; teaching employees simple tips like not assuming someone’s identity, using inclusive language like ‘partner’ instead of ‘husband’ or ‘wife’, and using the correct pronouns in communications too.
By ensuring your teams are armed with the skills necessary to address, empathise and handle difficult conversations around the LGBTQ+ community effectively, your agents will be able to connect with your customers and deliver a more tailored experience.
When developing new policies to show support, there’s no policy more important than your anti-discrimination policy. From the get-go you need to ensure that there is a clear outline on what constitutes as harassment and that harassment of any kind will not be tolerated in your workplace.
The policies should be clear about the types of behaviour that constitute harassment, showing commitment that harassment complaints will be seriously investigated. Through diversity training programmes and coaching, line managers and HR advisers will be fully capable of handling harassment complaints swiftly, effectively and with care, quickly recognising the problem and acting thus preventing victimisation.
Inclusion that runs deep
Showing surface level of support is superficial and runs the risk of damaging your business in the long run. Support for LGBTQ+ communities must be embodied at all levels of an organisation, and only then can a truly inclusive working environment be created.
Those changes won’t come quick, but you’ll see as a result, the positive effects of that atmosphere will trickle down to your frontline teams and the CX they deliver.
If you’re looking for tailored learning experiences that helps you manage leadership and culture change to boost your diversity practices in the workplace, please get in touch with me below or with the wider consulting team at firstname.lastname@example.org.