Disconnect persists in perception of trans support at work

Certain shifts in the workplace could bolster transgender inclusivity, such as more inclusive healthcare coverage, more training for cisgender employees and more employee resource groups for trans and LGBTQ+ workers, according to a June poll by Monster. But a significant disconnect persists in perception over what is needed at work.

In the survey, 19% of workers identified as transgender or gender non-conforming, and among those, 59% said they’ve felt discriminated against or treated differently at work.

However, across all workers, more than 7 in 10 said they haven’t received any training or education around transgender awareness and inclusivity in the workplace during the past year. In addition, nearly 8 in 10 workers said they don’t have or aren’t aware of any LGBTQ+ employee resource groups or equivalent support groups at their workplace.

Overall, though, “trans identifying or gender non-conforming workers and cisgender workers have a clear disconnect when it comes to identifying areas within the workplace that have room to improve regarding transgender rights and inclusivity,” Monster wrote.

For instance, while 68% of trans and gender non-conforming workers said more policies should be put into place to support trans workers, only 17% of cisgender workers agreed. On the other hand, 57% of cisgender workers said there’s no room for improvement, which was selected by only 10% of trans and gender non-conforming workers.

Similarly, the vast majority of trans and gender non-conforming workers supported practices such as more inclusive healthcare coverage, more training and education for cisgender workers, and more resource and support groups for trans and LGBTQ+ workers. In all of these areas, less than a quarter of cisgender workers agreed.

Beyond that, about two-fifths of trans and gender non-conforming workers supported certain improvements specifically for trans workers, including more promotions and more upskilling opportunities. Less than 10% of cisgender workers agreed.

A lack of LGBTQ+ support may drive talent away, including about a third of LGBTQ+ workers and 50% of trans workers, according to an Indeed report. About a third of queer employees also said they’re reluctant to apply for work in states with limited or declining legal protections for LGBTQ+ people.

Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts can build support for trans employees and even help mitigate prejudice from some co-workers, according to researchers at the University of Bath. Building a strong culture of diversity and inclusion, paired with anti-discrimination policies and actions, prompted non-trans workers to be more willing to learn about allyship.

Trans inclusion matters in health benefits and total rewards as well, according to panelists at a 2023 Business Group on Health session. Companies can incorporate benefits with an LGBTQ+ focus and make the offerings clear in company benefits portals and pamphlets, as well as during open enrollment periods, the hiring process and onboarding.