How to Make Your Small Business an LGBT Ally

June is Pride Month! This month, the world comes together and celebrates the impact that the LGBT community has had on the world and advocate for equality. Inclusion and diversity in the workplace isn’t just ethically and morally right, it is also good for your business. Being LGBT-friendly makes your company more profitable. Recently, huge companies like Google, Apple, Starbucks, Twitter, and Facebook have come out in support of the community.

While your company may not be as big as these companies, you can still make a huge impact. Not only should you support the community, you should make that support known! So, here are five ways that your business can be vocal about your support for the LGBT community and show that you are an ally!

Educate yourself and your employees

One of the first steps you have to take is education on the community and diversity as a whole. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is not as straight-forward as it seems, so bringing in an organization like Metro, which focuses on businesses in Florida, to help educate your employees on creating a welcoming environment could not only help your employees, but the company as a whole.

There are countless organizations that focus solely on diversity education and specifically LGBT education. So finding one in your area is a great first step!

You can also attend conferences like the U.S. Small Business Administration’s LGBT Business Builder program, which will educate you and your team and allow you to connect with other companies looking to be more inclusive.

Create an inclusive environment for your team and customers

Ensuring that your company’s policies create a safe and inclusive environment for all kinds of diversity is very important. This could include making sure that your team includes people from a diverse set of backgrounds to outlining codes of conduct that create a policy on discrimination.

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A great rule of thumb is the criteria that the Human Rights Campaign uses for their Corporate Equality Index. Some of their criteria includes:

  • Equal employment opportunity policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Employment benefits for same-sex marriages and transgender health care
  • Firm-wide organizational competency training
  • Has a diversity council or employee resource group
  • Positively engages the external LGBT community

These criteria are made for companies that are on a larger scale, but your small business can still use these guidelines to create a safe work environment for your employees and your customers!

Publicly voice your support

You can publicly voice your support by displaying a “We Serve Everyone” sticker in your brick-and-mortar store or some other signage that ensures people of all backgrounds are welcome to your business. For pride month, changing your logo to incorporate the rainbow flag is another great way to show your support if you are an e-commerce business.

pride flag business

There are also websites like Gayborhood which lists LGBT friendly businesses in a certain area. Creating a listing not only vocalizes your support, but also gives customers a chance to support LGBT small businesses.

Another great way to make your support known is signing a pledge. Recently 33 El Paso businesses signed a pledge stating that their business was open to the LGBT community. This is in addition to the 800+ that have already signed it across Texas. Not only does this show people that your business is supportive of the community, it shows that the community as a whole has to work together to show that no matter what sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, or background a person may have, they are welcome to your business as an equal!

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