Stephanie Dwilson

LGBTQ Health and the Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace

If your business wants the benefits of diversity in the workplace, LGBTQ health care is essential. According to the Center for American Progress, between 11 and 28 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual employees say they’ve been passed over for promotions because of their sexual orientation, while 27 percent of transgender workers say they were denied jobs and promotions or fired in 2016 to 2017.

Here’s how you can foster an inclusive environment and bolster your health care plan to support LGBTQ employees. Your business can truly stand out by offering inclusive, comprehensive health care to LGBTQ employees.

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The Benefits of an Inclusive Work Environment

Having a business that accommodates the LGBTQ community is beneficial to everyone, including the business itself. A discriminatory environment diminishes general morale, job satisfaction, teamwork and employees’ mental and physical health. Affected LGBTQ employees may feel that they have no reason to work hard if the deck is stacked against them. They may choose to leave the company, taking their talents and skills with them. And if left unchecked, harassment and hostility could lead to lawsuits against your company.

Of course, discrimination at work has far deeper impacts than productivity losses and legal issues. It can put victims at risk for a number of negative mental health outcomes. Not to mention that being inclusive and ensuring that all your employees feel safe and welcome at work is simply the right thing to do.

How to Be an Inclusive Business

Cultivating an inclusive workplace where discrimination isn’t tolerated requires action, not just words. Consider implementing an open-door policy, letting people know that if they’re being harassed, they can and should come to you for help. Ensure you have a written and robust anti-harassment policy. Train your employees on the policy. Your training might even include teaching employees to be aware of unconscious biases, as Bloomberg News suggests.

Remember that a business’s staff tends to reflect management’s actions and values — leaders set the tone, and behaviors trickle down. So model an inclusive environment in every aspect of your work. Remind your staff that everyone is part of the same team, and everyone is expected to respect one another and work together.

LGBTQ Health Care Plans

You can attract a more diverse staff and take care of the LGBTQ employees you already have by offering health care plans that provide for their specific needs. Search for providers who specialize in LGBTQ health care through RAD Remedy‘s provider ratings or the Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index. Work with your insurance provider to see which plans have these doctors in network. You can also ask your health care broker to help determine how to offer the best health care offerings to LGBTQ employees.

You can’t anticipate every need or issue that may arise, which is why maintaining an open-door policy is so important. If an LGBTQ employee has problems accessing health care through your plan, let them share those concerns with you directly or through an anonymous survey — and then address those issues the next time you have open enrollment. And find a health care agent who’s willing to talk to your staff whenever they have specific questions about their plan.

The benefits of diversity in the workplace aren’t limited to improving LGTBQ health. Taking steps to support diversity can also increase general productivity and make your company far more attractive to potential hires in the future.

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