LGBTQ

LGBTQ eLearning

It’s Pride month and we’ve been working with organizations large and small to empower their employees to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ community. This matters to your employees and to your clients. 31% of Gen Z and 20% of Millennials are identifying as LGBTQ+ (Kantar/Hornet 2018) and these workers and consumers value organizations that take the time to educate their employees on diversity and inclusion. Simply put, they want to feel seen and heard by companies. It matters - and it matters well beyond Pride month.

One of the many ways we help companies better serve their LGBTQ employees and consumers is through our LGBT eLearning. In about 25 minutes, your workforce will learn the definitions of L, G, B, T, and Q, a short history lesson, and how to be an ally to the LGBTQ community. There are even videos dedicated to addressing Transgender 101 and The Spectrum of Gender (or Non-Binary 101).

The LGBTQ eLearning is a series of short videos (averaging about 3 minutes each) that provide best practices and practical tips. We have 3 different variations on the product: for Human Resources, employees, and front-line workers. Each is tailored with practical scripted scenes (with actors) to share LGBTQ best practices.

When you license our LGBT eLearning, you will receive SCORM-compliant files that you can easily add to your your Learning Management System. The course includes knowledge checks, can track learner progress, and score learners on their success with the quiz questions.

The LGBTQ eLearning can be tailored for the size of your workforce and scaled up or down to meet your needs. We believe that training should be practical and fun, not preachy or boring. That’s always our goal and one of the reasons many organizations trust us with their training needs. eLearning is often stuffy and boring but that’s not the case here. Our LGBT eLearning is contemporary, quick, and practical.

Drop us a note if you’d like to see a demo!

Free Tool for ERGs: LGBT Inclusion Builder

My colleague Stan Kimer from Total Engagement Consulting created a wonderful free tool for Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and Business Resource Groups (BRGs) in conjunction with the company Kannetic. 

The LGBT Inclusion Builder is designed to help Human Resources professionals, Diversity and Inclusion professionals, ERG leaders and members assess the LGBTQ state of the company (and ERG), and provide measurable tools to improve, grow and evolve. This tool can be essentially used to create an "LGBTQ Strategic Plan."

The LGBT Inclusion Builder solution looks at 9 drivers of corporate LGBTQ inclusion & support across 4 categories:  Workplace Inclusion, Sales & Marketing Outreach, Community Involvement, and Transgender Support. After the initial self-assessment and status report, then users can create milestones and areas for growth. 

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The Singular "They" and Why it Matters

You may have heard that the use of the word "they" as a singular word (to describe one person as opposed to a group of people) is increasingly common. Many transgender folks, particularly those who identify as gender non-binary (or genderfluid or genderqueer) use this term instead of she/her or he/him. This is something many companies are paying attention to. In fact, a few years ago, Facebook changed their settings to allow users to designate their pronoun - including "they" as one of the three options.

I realize this may be initially distressing for those of us who are grammar nerds (present company included), but believe it or not, we actually use the singular “they” all the time already when gender doesn’t matter.

For example, let’s say a meeting just ended in the conference room, and a coffee cup was left behind. You might say to your colleague, “I wonder who left their coffee.” You would be unlikely to say, “I wonder who left his coffee.” or “I wonder who left her coffee.”

Organizations use the singular “they” all the time, too. Check out this Lyft notification I received (“before they depart”):

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The gender of the driver is not specified. It’s not important.

We use the singular “they” so often that back in 2015, the American Dialect Society named the singular "they" as Word of the Year.

If you struggle with wrapping your head around "they" as a singular term, remember that someone who is non-binary has elements of BOTH male and female - essentially more than one gender (plural). If you think of "they" in this context, it makes sense.

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Ashley Wylde does a great job of explaining this in their YouTube video below (see how we just used the singular they?!)

As Ashley explains, it's also completely appropriate to use "they" when talking about someone whose gender is unclear. For example, if such a customer has a question that your associate can't answer, your associate may call over a supervisor and say, "Can you help me with this? I can't find their reservation." This is better than guessing someone's gender by saying, "Can you help me with this? I can't find her reservation" - then risk having guessed wrong and offending the customer. If even a well-meaning associate guesses wrong and offends the customer, this LGBT unconscious bias incident could put your brand's reputation at risk.

Why should this matter to companies with front line associates? Simply put, it's about respecting your customers', clients', guests' and patients' chosen gender expression. When 12% of those 18-34 identify under the transgender umbrella (GLAAD, 2017), it's critically important to be aware of addressing these clients appropriately.

Gender Non-Binary Visibility and Representation is Soaring

Earlier this week, we noticed new t-shirts for sale, and these tees perfectly illustrate a new best practice in customer service, one that goes against longstanding standards of service: greeting a customer/guest without using gendered terms (such as sir, ma'am, etc).

If one of your well-meaning associates greets a guest with "sir" and the guest doesn't identify as male, that guest has been misgendered. Misgendering is a huge problem and often causes your guests to feel misunderstood and not seen for who they truly are. It creates awkwardness for all parties and often leads to an over-correction which then makes your guests feel even more uncomfortable and misunderstood. And it happens ALL THE TIME, at every company or institution with front line workers, in every industry.

The simple solution is to train your team members to greet without "sir", "ma'am" or any other gendered term. A simple greeting such as, "Good afternoon. How can I help you?" is polite and respectful. 

This societal shift towards acceptance of the fluidity of gender is accelerating. Many companies such as Spotify and Tinder are paying attention. 

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And, in the entertainment industry, the Showtime hit, Billions became the first series to feature a non-binary character played by the non-binary actor, Asia Kate Dillon. When submitting their work in the show to the Emmys for consideration, Asia asked which category to submit to, and the Emmys told them to submit under either "actor" or "actress" category. Since "actor" originated as a non-gendered term, they chose to submit for Best Supporting Actor. Note the use of the singular "they" in this paragraph, which is Asia Kate's preferred pronoun.

How is your company preparing to adapt to society's expansion and increasing acceptance of gender identity?

Gender Neutral Titles and Why They Matter

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Earlier this year, HSBC Bank made headlines by creating a policy to allow their customers to choose from a new list of honorifics when establishing or managing accounts. What are honorifics?  According to the Oxford Dictionary, an honorific is a title or word implying or expressing respect.

For example, terms like Mr., Mrs., Miss., and Ms. are all honorifics - and traditionally, as in our examples, many honorifics are gendered. When more customers are identifying somewhere under the transgender umbrella, these gendered honorifics become problematic. For example, if a new gender non-binary customer is filling out an application to open a bank account or credit card, and their only honorific/title options are traditionally gendered terms, they may feel alienated, frustrated or even leave.

HSBC doesn't want to take that risk. They now allow customers (and staff) to identify as non-binary on forms and include the following gender-neutral honorific options:

Ind (abbreviation of individual)
M
Mx (pronounced “mix” or “mux”)
Misc (for miscellaneous)
Mre (for mystery)
Msr (a mix of miss/sir)
Myr
Pr (prounced “per”, for person)
Sai (pronounced “sigh”)
Ser (pronounced “sair”).

Mx. is generally the most preferred honorific option by those who are non-binary.

This incredibly progressive move is a great model for other banks and any business which collects customer information (including health care facilities, airlines and others). What steps is your company taking to create inclusive honorifics?