Diversity and inclusion should be on every accounting firm’s mind. Research finds that organisations with greater diversity generate 43.4% more revenue than their less diverse counterparts. This addition to revenue can typically be attributed to more innovative products and services.
Diversity and inclusion is a big issue; however, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Qeer (LGBTQ) people are often left out of the conversation. For LGBT History Month, we have decided to take a look at how the banking and finance sector can help LGBTQ members feel more included and progress in their careers.
Understanding the problem of LGBT discrimination in the workplace
The first step for any accountancy form to start making their workplace more inclusive is to understand the experiences of their LGBTQ employees. Without knowing the problems and discrimination they face, it’s impossible to implement a viable solution.
In 2021, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reported that 40% of lesbian, gay and bisexual and 55% of transgender employees had experienced conflict and harassment at work. These numbers are significantly higher than their heterosexual and cisgender colleagues, with only 29% of this demographic experiencing the same.
Research from Mckinsey finds that employees’ stress levels are higher when they’re the only person of a certain ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender in a group within their company or team.
These stats highlight the importance of LGBTQ representation within your accountancy firm and the need for effective policies to be put in place to protect the minority members of your team. Not only does representation prevent feelings of isolation, but it also helps LGBTQ people feel safer, as though their voice will be heard, and can help them envision themselves in higher positions.
Making your firm more inclusive
The banking and finance sector is not known for its inclusivity. However, many firms are working hard to change that. If you are an accountancy firm that wants to be a part of this positive change and are searching for a few quick wins to make your firm more inclusive, here are a few things to look into.
- Avoid using heteronormative language. Don’t assume that someone is heterosexual by default. This can be applied in particular within your job ads. By using gender-neutral language you could see an increase in LGBTQ applicants.
- To reach a wider pool of LGBTQ talent, you need to go to them where they are. If you want to recruit more LGBT talent, you should advertise your roles in publications aimed at LGBTQ audiences.
- Mentoring is another great step your firm can take to help LGBTQ employees move forward in their careers. You can help employees receive relevant support and advice tailored to their aspirations and needs. Mentorship can also help provides a space where people can express their fears or concerns without being judged.
If you already offer to mentor, think about how you could extend the programme specifically to support LGBTQ employees and other under-represented groups.
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