News article

7 authentic ways to make your business more LGBTQ+ inclusive


Each June, millions of people around the world come together in a celebration and commemoration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride.

Pride Month is about acceptance, equality and celebrating the work of LGBTQ+ people.

Individuals in your business will perform better when they can be their true selves. So, if you want to authentically promote LGBTQ+ inclusion in your workplace, here are seven great tips.

1. Ensure that your policies are fully inclusive of LGBTQ+ people

Firstly, make sure your business policies are as inclusive as they can be.

This includes areas such as pensions, and family and leave policies. For example, are all partners of colleagues covered under healthcare policies, cash plans, and so on? Do your policies offer the same provision for parental leave for same-sex couples, for example?

Additionally, review your recruitment process. Do you explicitly state that applicants from the LGBTQ+ community are welcome? Do you use gender-neutral job adverts? Is your company’s commitment to inclusion prominently displayed on your careers page?

2. Consider that there may be more LGBTQ+ people in your business than you think

The LGBTQ+ spectrum covers a wide range of identities. It’s not just about the sexual orientation of your team – it could also be about romantic attachment or how they self-gender.

You can’t assume that a colleague is not a member of the LGBTQ+ community just because they are single or in a heterosexual relationship.

For example, you may have team members who identify as asexual or non-binary – neither of which you could determine by “who their partner is”.

Moreover, there may be many people in your team who identify as bi or pansexual that you don’t know about, simply because they are currently in a heterosexual relationship.

Never think “We don’t need to do this as there is no one here that this applies to.”

You will likely be wrong.

3. Don’t expect anyone to “out” themselves

Inclusion is not about knowing how your team members identify – it’s about creating an environment in which they feel comfortable.

Being “out” at work is a choice that each individual should feel comfortable to make for themselves. Many people don’t feel safe or comfortable outing themselves at work, so your policies should include everyone, whether they are “out” or not.

4. Use the right pronouns

Don’t roll your eyes and think that pronouns are a lot of woke nonsense. For the people they matter to, they really matter. Using the wrong pronouns can be deeply upsetting to an individual.


Well, adding your pronouns – he/him, she/her, they/them, he/they, she/they, and so on – to your email signature or internal messaging system has the practical benefit of making clear how you would like to be referred to, while also signalling to the recipient that you will respect their gender identity and choice of pronouns.

Does your business do everything you can to support this? If you use an internal messaging system, empower people to share their pronouns (and senior management can lead the way here, even if you don’t care either way).

Think also about how you treat your clients and team. For example, does your client or employee survey, or your recruitment process, just have “male/female” options?

Whatever systems you use – perhaps a business-wide messaging system or client database – it is best practice to remove anything that gets in the way of people changing their pronouns or their name on their official record.

If an employee wants to change their name or pronouns, for example, ensure they can do this easily. Additionally, educate your wider team on why respecting somebody’s chosen name or pronouns is essential.

5. Be an ally

Being an ally means more than wearing a rainbow lanyard.

Embedding inclusivity across all areas of your business means that there should be allies throughout your organisation – at all levels.

Visible support and allyship from senior leaders – whether they are LGBTQ+ or not – are important if you want to create an inclusive culture. This helps to demonstrate that inclusion is something everybody can take action on, and it allows people to participate without being forced to “out” themselves.

A true ally defends people when they find themselves in a hateful or difficult position. For example, if you overhear a team member using the incorrect pronouns for a colleague, you should step in and provide support.

6. Create an overall inclusive culture

If you want to truly show your business is LGBTQ+ inclusive, start by establishing a great work culture.

In truly inclusive workplaces, LGBTQ+ employees feel “at home”. They are comfortable sharing private photos, talking about their partners, and inviting them to socialise with workers.

Of course, much of this depends on your employees themselves. However, senior management can encourage and facilitate these positive behaviours.

7. Prioritise inclusion for life, not just for Pride Month

Adding a rainbow to your website every June or posting a social media update on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (17 May, for reference) is a great start.

However, at best, this is tokenism. At worst it could make marginalised people feel that they will be welcome when bringing them into an environment where you don’t support inclusion.

True inclusion means adopting policies and practices that you live all year round. Make sure you contribute in a meaningful way – perhaps by backing a local grassroots cause, regularly posting on social media in support of the community, or running fundraising events.

Get in touch

If you need help truly living your inclusion values through your website or communications, we can help. Our diverse team can support your inclusion goals, so get in touch by email at or call 0115 8965 300.

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