How to support transgender employees in the workplace

Written by ATI Editor
Last updated March 9, 2021

Creating an inclusive working environment

Supporting transgender employees in the workplace might feel like a challenging task, especially when businesses and organisations do not educate, train, and support their line managers. However, we want to show you that it’s not as hard as you think, there are a few small changes you can make to ensure you are more inclusive. For example, a study conducted for ACAS revealed that line managers are more trans-inclusive when they receive relevant training.

Gender transition in the workplace might feel challenging for some people. Therefore, a manager who is not equipped with the right knowledge might increase the burden on trans staff.

Here are some of the main perceived barriers to the inclusion of trans or intersex employees:

  • Lack of employers and managers’ knowledge.
  • Poor line manager’s confidence.
  • The persistent stigma around transgender people.
  • Practical considerations, such as uniforms, toilet arrangements, or data management.
  • Lack of training and support for line managers.
  • Lack of flexible policies concerning the transgender community.

Managers and supervisors might be the first to know about a transgender-related incident, such as bullying or victimisation. Therefore, getting relevant training can enable organisations to tackle negative treatment. While this ensures that businesses are compliant with the Equality Act, it also demonstrates their inclusivity commitment to the wider community.

Additionally, getting the right training will also enable managers and supervisors to deal with normal performance-related incidents and situations since they can feel that their behaviour is not at risk of being discriminatory against others.

How to actively support transgender employees

There are many ways employers can actively support transgender employees:

Implementing trans-inclusive policies and procedures

Implementing a practical set of policies is a great start to ensure that your workplace becomes more trans-inclusive. Inclusive procedures and practices can send vital messages to transgender employees about their value in the organisation. These can include:

  • Bathroom access – gender-neutral bathrooms or encouraging trans employees to use bathrooms in line with their gender identity are great ways to demonstrate your commitment to trans inclusivity. Line managers should arrange diversity training for staff to raise awareness, acceptance, and respect on the subject.
  • Dress codes – implementing gender-neutral dress codes can help destigmatise varying expressions of gender. Moreover, this can also benefit recruitment and staff retention, as it shows that normativity is not expected.
  • Pronoun and name usage – paying attention to using correct names and pronouns is another excellent way to help your trans employees feel valued in your organisation. While some trans individuals identify as either male or female and therefore use pronouns like he and she, others prefer using neutral pronouns such as they and them.

Supporting gender transition

Gender transition is a gradual process. Each person who chooses to transition takes different approaches to it. Employers must be comprehensive towards their employees by ensuring their company culture is inclusive.

For instance, ensuring that transitioning employees have access to health care benefits that are gender-identity-specific is a great way to reduce the stress and anxiety some people might experience when coming out at work.

Moreover, effective communication plays a considerable role during employees’ gender transitions. Working in partnership with transitioning staff will ensure a smooth process and avoid them coming out too early or without permission.

It is vital for line managers, supervisors, and HR departments to learn more about support options and groups, and other useful resources that can help transition employees manage work and life challenges. Here is a list of organisations and charities that can provide the right support:

Developing trans diversity training

Diversity training that focuses on gender-identity is essential to create a trans-inclusive working environment. Inviting members of the LGBTQ+ community to diversity training can be a fantastic way for staff to develop awareness, appreciate trans people’s challenges and ultimately become more inclusive.

Besides, it is vital to train each employee on reporting procedures against non-inclusive behaviour. Encouraging trained staff to cascade what they have learned to a broader group of employees is an effective way to ensure that knowledge is not isolated to a few individuals. This can help send an essential message of inclusion to trans staff members and further encourage an inclusive company culture.

Employees can achieve their full potential in the workplace only when they feel connected with the company they work for. Employers who are committed to diversity and inclusion can facilitate this by adopting effective inclusive recruitment practices.

For further information, you can access our useful resources for LGBTQ+ people.

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Last Updated: Tuesday September 14 2021
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