When we strip away the negativity of the term unconscious bias, people open up. They start to see all the assumptions we make every day. Many of those assumptions are incredibly helpful and timesaving. But some of them put others in a box and hold them back. Using the term “unconscious bias” shuts the door for many people before they even see what’s in the room. And we want them to see what’s in the room!
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.
Most of the diversity training work we do is for industries with a large front line workforce. We define “front line” pretty broadly: basically anyone in business development/sales; customer service; and marketing is at the front line. These are the folks who interact with clients, consumers, customers, patients, students, guests, travelers, you get the picture…
The front line is largely ignored when it comes to diversity training. After all, they’re often out of the office and unable to attend an hour long or half day unconscious bias training. They may be road warriors, going from sales meeting to sales meeting. Or maybe they’re standing all day interacting with customers with no access to a desktop computer or LMS (learning management system).
The challenge here is that the front line is the face of the brand, and if the front line employee engages in a micro-aggression or act of unconscious bias, the brand’s reputation can be at risk. We believe a proactive diversity training approach is best, one that meets these front line workers where they are - on their smart phones. Situational micro-learning and eLearning is most practical for these workers - short videos and exercises that make sense without overly complicating things. After all, most "diversity training” expresses the concepts of the golden (or platinum) rule: respect, great listening, and avoiding assumptions. In our opinion, communicating these concepts doesn’t require a 4 hour (or even 1 hour) training. We can do it in about 10 minutes.
Unconscious bias training is not rocket science. We find that over-complicating things is a turn-off not only to ourselves but to others, and folks shut down when faced with the prospect of another training. We’re all about the KISS method.
We believe that when front line workers are trained to be more inclusive, that will have a profound ripple effect not only on the corporate culture and employee morale, but on the customer experience. If customers feel like they can truly be themselves without fear of rejection, they will carry themselves with greater dignity and have more loyalty towards your brand. That is priceless. That is our vision.
Last week I spoke at the Meeting Planners International wonderful event, World Education Congress. You can read the article here. I spoke about the increasing gender diversity within workforces, and how that can significantly impact meetings and events - even non-LGBTQ events. Every event will have some LGBTQ attendees and it's important to aware of how this can impact your event.
Here are 5 best practices to create LGBTQ-inclusive meetings and events:
Train your front line employees to understand the fluidity of gender, remove gendered language from greetings, and serve guests whose presentation might not match their ID. For some specific tips, check out this blog post, A Person Walks into a Store...
Include pronoun identification as part of the event registration process and show pronouns on name badges, or offer as stickers at the registration desk. You can see an example from a recent Google event in the image above. Singular pronouns are no longer just he or she. Many people are identifying with the pronoun, "they." Read this post for more specific tips on using "they."
Update your forms to include ‘Other’ as a third gender option, and gender neutral honorifics (such as Mx). Many companies are now understanding that great customer service starts with great policies that provide diverse gender options on forms. Check out this post for more specifics on how to do this and this one on gender neutral honorifics.
Allow guests to choose the restroom of their actual gender identity and create at least one gender- neutral restroom in the event space. This could mean re-branding multi-stall or single stall restrooms as gender neutral. Check out this post for some creative options.
Promote your destination, property, and/or event as an LGBTQ-welcoming space by including the community in marketing images, and using inclusive language. This means showing real life photos of real life LGBTQ folks in marketing, not just cheesy stock photos. This also means showing the diversity of the LGBTQ community in imagery, not just gay men or lesbians. Ft. Lauderdale is an excellent case study in attracting transgender travelers and events to the city.
The bottom line is to lead with inclusivity and brand loyalty and repeat attendees will follow!
For more information on any of these topics, contact us today!
A customer walks into your business and your customer service associate offers a warm, "Good afternoon! How can I help you, sir?"
The customer speaks, "I'm here to...." but, in that moment, the associate realizes that the guest is transgender and quickly responds, "I mean, ma'am. I'm sorry! I didn't mean any offense. I'm new here and not used to..." and perhaps goes on and on.
Awkward. For everyone.
The guest may feel like an alien, further embarrassed by the associate's over-apology. The associate may feel like a fool and fear for their job. No one wins and the guest may be reluctant to return to that establishment.
Face it, this is going to happen -- but it doesn't have to be so damn awkward. The associate should take a simple approach and apologize quickly and move on. Over-apologies drag out the drama when both parties would rather discuss something else. You are exposing your brand when your front line team isn't trained or aware of their own unconscious bias.
What is unconscious bias? Well, the associate certainly didn't intend to offend. Most people don't. But it happens because of the way our brains have been programmed by years of stimuli, in this case, placing others in boxes of either "male" or "female". An unconscious bias training will increase your employees awareness of these situations and give them tools to effectively communicate with their guests and team.