This month SAP Litmos releases the LGBTIQ+ Inclusion in the Workplace course, which is designed to help organisations be more inclusive for LGBTIQ+ employees. An inclusive environment is one in which employees can disclose their sexuality or gender identity and feel emotionally safe – comfortable, at ease, understood and secure.
Claire Lavin, Product Manager at SAP Litmos in Melbourne Australia, shared these words on why LGBTIQ+ inclusion at work can make a real difference.
Inclusive workplaces achieve better results and better employee engagement. They do this by welcoming diverse points of view and allowing their employees to be their authentic selves. In fact, for an LGBTIQ+ person struggling with coming to terms with their sexuality, an inclusive workplace can be a lifeline.
Almost 20 years ago, when I started my first full-time, professional job after university, I had only relatively recently come out as a lesbian. My parents had not reacted well at the news, and for several years, it was made clear that I wasn’t welcome, given that my ‘lifestyle wasn’t normal’. My parents have since come around (and I’m pleased to say they’ll stand proudly at my big gay wedding), but at the time it was a desolate feeling.
Yet I was lucky to be working in a progressive, inclusive workplace, one in which I could go into work every day and be open about the person I loved. I felt accepted – and being able to talk about my partner in the same way heterosexual people do not only helped me come to terms with my sexuality but also offered me a safe haven when I felt adrift in many ways.
Many LGBTIQ+ people are not as lucky as I’ve been. I have friends who have been ostracised, insulted and bullied in the workplace because of who they love or how they present themselves. That’s why I’m so pleased that organisations are increasingly recognising the need to create positive, inclusive workplace cultures, and training their employees.
I’ve been with SAP Litmos for five years, and in that time I’ve never felt the need to hide my sexuality or my personal life. I sit at a desk where I have a photo on display of my partner and our daughter. I work in a workplace where people have loudly voiced their support for same-sex marriage. I have a team that organised an engagement card when I proposed to my partner. And I have colleagues who took me out for lunch and gave me a bag of goodies to celebrate the birth of my second child, born this month.
Inclusion is important. Not just for the bottom line but also for the difference it makes to people’s lives.
If you would like to find out more about our LGBTIQ+ Inclusion in the Workplace course, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us today.