We spend a third of our lives at work, so for trans and non-binary people, working in an inclusive organisation can have a significant impact on their day-to-day experience and wellbeing.

For employers, having the right policies and procedures in place and raising trans and non-binary awareness can also help to manage legal and reputational risks, as well as benefitting recruitment and retention and making sure everyone is able to do their best work.

In episode seventeen of our employment law podcast, Employment Law FocusJonathan Rennie and Grace Caldicott were joined by Bobbi Pickard, CEO of Trans in the City, to share some best practice advice

1. Stand up publicly and say you support trans and non-binary people

According to Bobbi, one of the most important things an employer can do for the trans and non-binary community is show public support. This also has the effect of creating an environment that is legally lower risk for the employer.

2. Create an inclusive environment

When people feel safe and accepted, they can perform at their absolute best. This isn’t just about the individual but includes better teamworking, better innovation and better decisions.

Jonathan shared that when people feel welcomed and can be authentic in the workplace, they can better focus their energy on their work as opposed to bringing down barriers.

3. Build a workplace for the workforce of tomorrow

If employers want to attract people from younger demographics, Bobbi shared how important it is to evolve in line with people’s expectations and what people care about. It takes ten years to change a global organisation, so employers need to start now to ensure they have a fighting chance of being an attractive place to work in the future.

4. Create an engaged employee network

Employers need to put employee networks in place to help people feel empowered to bring their whole self to work. Networks create safe spaces for support and reflection. They allow under-represented groups and allies to come together to share and grow and can raise issues that might not otherwise have been recognised by the organisation. 

5. Create trans and non-binary inclusive policies

Grace highlighted the importance of removing physical barriers at work, for example by offering inclusive bathroom facilities and inclusive uniform policies. It’s equally important to make HR policies a part of the induction process for new joiners, as it sets the tone from day one and conveys the employer’s message about equality, diversity and inclusion

6. Continue to review policies to make sure they are working for your organisation

Continuous review and promotion of HR policies can help solidify an organisation’s values and create opportunities to educate employees, especially as issues evolve. Ongoing education for staff can also help to improve job satisfaction and loyalty to the employer.

7. Include trans and non-binary people in conversations about gender

Employers should include trans and non-binary people in conversations about gender equality at work. Bobbi says it’s important that employers also start creating policies with a more flexible view of gender, for example with regards to gender pay gap reporting.

8. Educate yourself and your teams about the nuances of trans inclusion

Employers tend not to think a trans or non-binary person has any type of legal protection unless they are under medical supervision as part of a transition. Gender reassignment for instance is often thought to mean surgery only, but it's very clear that the minute a trans or non-binary person does anything to start their transition then they are in a period of gender reassignment. Education can help create a more inclusive workspace for colleagues.

9. Create a space where employees feel confident to challenge incorrect information

Make sure it’s clear how people can raise any concerns they have about inclusion, including with HR and managers. This can help prevent barriers for trans and non-binary people at work such as bullying, microaggressions, feelings of isolation, or pressures to conceal identity. Everyone in the company has a role to play in creating an inclusive environment.

10. Start today!

Stigma is common where there is a lack of education and knowledge. Bobbi shares that those groups that have the most stigma around them through lack of education, for example trans people, have fallen behind in terms of rights. So, start engaging and sharing inclusive values today. 

Date published

11 November 2022

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