HR Policies Can Support Transgender Employees

In the last year, there have been more anti-trans bills introduced to state legislatures than over the last ten years. Yes, you read that right — more in 12 months than 12 years. These bills target everything from how we talk about LGBT+ rights — the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida — to the extremes of targeting and arresting parents of children who advocate for gender-affirming healthcare for their children across more than 10 states, including Alabama and Texas.

Behind those stories and anger-inducing headlines are people — scared children and parents. Children who have already looked many fears in the eye simply to say “I am trans” now have laws and regulations that may take that away from them.

These are children who will become adults that will someday have your job, report to you and work at your company, and parents who are working for you now.

A Great Realization

While these bills don’t directly influence healthcare for the trans population over 18 (yet), they set a precedent for gender-affirming healthcare that needs to be addressed now. They also set a new bar for companies that truly want to be affirming. How will you support your workers, and how will you support their family’s needs?

The Great Resignation has people quitting jobs for all new reasons. It’s not just more money and a promotion that will have workers heading for the door. People have reported those typical reasons for quitting, but they’re citing all-new emotional reasons too. Those include feeling disrespected, lack of benefits and more.

It points to a new wave of candidate and employee behavior — a Great Realization, if you will: a realization that we can’t continue to work for companies that don’t do the work to make their values not just a poster on the wall but a series of actions workers can see.

Prioritize Education & Benefits For Transgender Employees

Now, these behaviors (or lack thereof) are hitting the headlines, too. Whether it’s Uber not changing a trans person’s name or someone getting fired for being trans, demands for accountability are louder than ever. However, the HR and recruiting industries both lack a lot of the resources necessary to create a truly equitable and supportive policy for trans workers.

What we do next has to add up to more than pronouns in an email signature.

I recommend employers start with education, not targeting. That means you do not pull aside your only trans employee and ask them to give a presentation. Instead, hire external resources to do frequent company-wide education on belonging, pronouns and other topics that help create more equity for transgender employees. Create an onboarding module about the content, too, that will produce ongoing, on-demand options for new employees.

If you’re looking to take it to the next level, check out the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index. This is the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies, practices and benefits pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees. It also seeks to understand how companies can influence legislation that makes trans people truly equal at work. You can see how other companies are ranking and what they’re doing to create an inclusive workplace culture here.

A portion of this article was originally posted on HR Dive.  

LGBT and Diversity

Kat Kibben View All →

Katrina (Kat) Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive, unbiased job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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