Celebrate Sexual Diversity In The Workplace

Posted on: 12 June 2015

Dealing with sexual diversity in the workplace can be a tricky matter because of all the elements involved. Rather than just trying to avoid any type of prejudice, it can be beneficial to you and your employees if you actually embrace the differences. As the human resource manager or small business owner, it's your job to make this happen.

You can learn some tips to help you and your employees enjoy sexual diversity in the workplace rather than avoid dealing with it altogether.

Utilize a Random Reinforcement Program

If people know they are going to receive positive reinforcement for doing something, they are more likely to do it, but they may not fully understand the message you're trying to send. Random reinforcement offers something positive in return for an act that was done without knowing there was any type of reinforcement. This encourages behaviors that already happen, but also encourages others to try the behaviors they see.

  • Offer longer breaks for people who hold the door open. This act is commonly done for women by men, but women want equality, so it might be good to encourage them to hold the door as well. Put a slip of paper under the door handle. The paper should read something like "If you just held the door open for someone, you deserve an extra 15 minutes for lunch today" or something similar.
  • During a meeting, secretly keep track of how many times participants use gender-identifying pronouns when they aren't necessary. At the end of the meeting, offer a gift certificate for lunch at a nearby restaurant to the person who uses the fewest gender-identifying pronouns.

Treat Everyone Equal

Naturally, when it comes to things like pay, gender shouldn't have anything to do with the amount a person gets paid. You might also consider offering paternity leave to new fathers.

Change the Color Scheme

Colors have long been associated with genders, but in order to celebrate people rather than genders, you can use gender neutral tones. For example, colors like yellow and orange can be used in place of pink or blue. You might even take things one step further and implement color days, where everyone wears slacks or jeans and a specific color shirt, like pink or blue. This helps each gender share something with the other.

When it comes to diversity, you can't ignore that it exists. By embracing it, you create a positive atmosphere rather than the negative undertone that can come with avoiding discussions about it or taking any kind of positive action.

To learn more, contact an IBM diversity workplace for help.