"Demonstrating a commitment to supporting its LGBTQ+ community can give an employer a competitive edge: where there is significant competition for employees, those employers who embrace diversity and inclusion will find themselves in a strong position to recruit the best people."
Kathy Abernethy, Peppy director and chief nursing officer has said that LGBTQ+ employees are best supported when benefits are fully inclusive.
“Employers should not make assumptions about who might utilise which employee benefits. Some employees are naturally more open than others about their personal circumstances when it comes to health and well-being matters, so it is easier to cater for this group, but others should not be overlooked because they are more reserved: this doesn’t mean less support is required," Abernethy explained.
She believes that when employee benefits are offered to all without discrimination, all employees will feel welcome and included within the working environment and will receive the support they both need and deserve. These benefits could include:
Support for menopause should always be inclusively delivered, appealling to women and to those who do not self-identify as female. All employees should know what support is on offer so they can opt-in if necessary. In addition, every member of the workforce will benefit from understanding how a change in hormones can affect some employees, so by taking a broad approach to educating staff, all employees will understand how to support each other.
Similarly, although urology support is traditionally aimed at men, it should be delivered to all employees. If communication is selective to specific groups, some employees may not receive the support they require. Again, it benefits the whole workforce to understand more about men’s health and the support needed.
Starting a family isn't isolated to heterosexual couples. LGBTQ+ employees can often also face fertility problems and so employers need to ensure that any fertility support they offer has the capacity to cope with the complexities an LGBTQ+ employee may face. This includes support for people going through donor insemination or surrogacy, as well as those experiencing alternative journeys to parenthood such as adoption and fostering.
Parental support is an area where employers may need to reassess their employee benefits provision, since it is often worded around common genders despite inclusive language having the potential to reach a wider number of employees.
“In addition, workplace culture can have a big impact on employees’ emotional well-being and when staff feel ‘at home’ within a company, they are much more likely to be productive and stay loyal.
“When a business is diverse it is proven to be more creative and has a better understanding of its customers, both of which can lead to better financial performance. When employers are good to their people, it’s good for business too,” Abernethy concluded.