How to support transgender employees in the workplace.
Workforces across the country are made up of a diverse group of individuals. If you are an owner, director, HR manager or in any form of a people managing role it is vital you best know how to support your team’s individual needs. In this week’s article, we discuss the challenges surrounding gender dysphoria and focus on how you can support transgender employees in the workplace.
What do gender dysphoria and transgender mean?
Bupa defines gender dysphoria as, “the distress and discomfort that this misalignment between gender identity and assigned sex causes. Living with this mismatch can be extremely damaging to an individual’s mental health, leading to things like anxiety, depression, self-harm and even suicide.”
The NHS defines being transgender as “Someone whose personal idea of their gender does not match with his or her birth-assigned gender role.” Although it is important to understand that gender identity isn’t limited to the man and women model. Some individuals can identify as non-binary which means their gender may fall between the binary man and women model or outside of it completely.
What can employers do?
An employer can make a real difference for members of staff that suffer from gender dysphoria or who are transgender. By making sure the workplace environment is inclusive and comfortable, your employees should feel able to embrace their gender identity in whatever way they see fit.
Below is a list of 5 things employers can do to help;
In all companies, the employees are the backbone of success. If you are in the role of people management it is vital that you learn the differences and similarities of your employees. As the transgender community grows and becomes more open to the working world, it is important employers take the time to understand what is acceptable. Everyone’s transgender or gender dysphoria experience is different, but becoming educated on the matter will allow the employer or senior member of staff to sympathise, support and listen to the employees better. There are multiple sources of information that are great for further understanding gender dysphoria and being transgender, we have listed below some of these;
A major issue made by employers is making assumptions on an employee’s gender identity based on their gender makeup. Gender identity is what that person’s innate sense of themselves is, whether that is man, woman or something different. There are various ways you can notice a person’s gender identity, for example in the clothes they wear, mannerisms or their hairstyle.
Before meeting a person you should ask yourself “how would this individual like me to refer to them?” For example if you are asked “Have you seen Alex”, would you respond, “She has gone to the toilet”, “He is out for lunch” or “They are on a phone call” It is important as employers to get in the habit of asking someone’s preferred pronouns and then putting that into place. If this seems like a peculiar or strange encounter to you, try stating your own preferred pronouns, for example, “Hi I’m XXX my preferred pronouns are she/her/hers, what are yours?”
All employees personal data is important, but for transgender staff members, it can be even more so. If company documents happen to be released or read, it can risk the transgender employee being unwillingly outed. As a manager, it is vital you work with your HR department to ensure this information is secured. A mistake which can be made by an employer is the common “Meet The Team” social media post, images of an individual could cause the individual to be involuntarily outed.
A working environment that encourages the inclusion of all diversities not only allows for a healthy welcoming workplace environment but also allows the company to recruit and retain the best talent available.
If you would like further information on how you can support employees who suffer from gender dysphoria or staff which are transgender, please contact the office today to speak to one of our HR professionals.
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