The Inclusive Business Charter is the most comprehensive tool available to promote LGBTQI+ inclusivity in businesses. The core philosophy behind the Inclusive Business Charter is to promote a workplace that is safe, inclusive, diverse and welcoming for all employees, but in particular those who identify as LGBTQI+. The Charter is a continuous process, encouraging your organisation and its staff to constantly seek to improve relations with all including customers and wider stakeholders. The process of receiving Charter status may deem daunting, but with the support of Cara-Friend, we hope that the journey Your organisation takes will not only be enjoyable and rewarding, but also worthwhile and beneficial to both employees and employers. The Charter journey begins with a general discussion, a sort of scoping meeting, to allow Cara-Friend and your organisation to set outcomes and objectives.
- General Awareness Training for all staff - One of the key findings of our experience in the LGBTQI+ is that negativity towards those of difference, comes from a perspective of not understanding how we are all unique and come wide a wide range of differences. To understand, and ultimately accept LGBTQI+ individuals, we must provide a basic ‘jumping off’ point and begin to impart learning. Staff will receive general awareness training, in small groups, where they will be guided through the ‘language’ and major issues of LGBTQI+ staff may face…both at work and in their personal lives.
- HR and Supervisory-specific training - Cara-Friend will guide Your organisation through the wide range of legislation and responsibilities you have as an employer, specifically with regards to equality provision. With Legislation constantly evolving, it can be difficult to keep knowledge current – the Charter is designed to support your ongoing understanding and implications and make internal amendments.
- Engagement of Senior Management - As well as participating in general awareness training, but also, we want to offer the opportunity for senior team leaders, to have a deeper understanding of the thinking at all levels in your company. At the start of the Charter process, Cara-Friend will work with you to gather current employee thinking on EDI and LGBTQI+ within your company. This feedback will become the baseline for all future conversations with staff. We will update HR and the Senior Management team at the start and at the end of each year of Charter Membership
- One-to-one Support and Guidance - Employees who identify as LGBTQI+ or who maybe parents of children who identify as LGBTQI+, or confused, or hoping to ‘come out’ the Charter makes provision for your organisation to call upon Cara-Friend to offer its support on a much wider basis.
Outcomes and objectives:
- Put in place a Diversity & Inclusion noticeboard - either virtual or in a physical, high-profile location
- Participate in internal or external LGBTQI+ celebratory activities such as IDAHOP days, LGBT Awareness Week, Pride, etc
- Develop an overt (LGBTQI+) anti-bullying policy and demonstrate this via good practice
- Help support Student Insight Days to welcome pupils from local schools and be hosted by employees from all levels of the businessIt is essential that as part of the Charter process, organisations need to present themselves as strong supporters of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
- Where appropriate, help establish a staff ‘Rainbow’ Network within your workplace.(This is not obligatory requirement for Silver Level)
- Encourage staff to volunteer with Cara-Friend’s Inclusive Schools’ Charter and help deliver ALL Out Anti-Bullying workshops (Again, this is not obligatory for Silver Level)
Core Charter Activities
As part of your commitment to providing a safe and welcoming workplace for ALL staff, regardless of Charter Level you are working towards, (Platinum, Gold or Silver) there are a number of basic commitments an organisation must:
Facilitating General Awareness Sessions
We fully recognise the impact engaging with the Charter can have on staff’s time and company resources. Whilst maximum value is derived when all staff are involved, it isn’t always possible to facilitate group sessions face-to-face for everyone – especially with hybrid working models. Part of the initial discussions will focus on the best way to facilitate as many staff as possible into the Charter process. To do this, we can offer a blend of learning experiences, which include:
Face to face group sessions (2.5-hour sessions of 25-30 staff)
Zoom or Teams sessions
1 hour Lunch & learn (in person or online)
Video learning via 3 x 30-minute info recordings
Charter Costs - The Inclusive Business Charter, whilst seeking to offer a standardised EDI measurement, is bespoke to each organisation. As such, costs are often dependant on the number of employees engaged in the process, sessions required and staff time involved. We are more than happy to discuss an equitable cost structure that allows your business to exploit the benefits of the Charter and at the same time, make it a cost-effective process. Upon completion of our scoping meeting, we will have a better understanding of resource implications for Cara-Friend and agree total programme costs.
About the author...
Cara-Friend has been serving and empowering the LGBTQI+ community in Northern Ireland since 1974. All of the services they provide are completely confidential. If you think we can help you, your family, your organisation, or anyone else, please do contact them! Email us - email@example.com Call us - 028 9089 0202