4 min. Read

Creating an inclusive and supportive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees is essential for fostering a positive company culture and ensuring that all employees feel valued and respected. Following are the top three takeaways from a recent panel discussion featuring insights from Kristy Pennock from O2E Brands (1-800-GOT-JUNK?), Katherine from Airhelp, and Kerry Gilliam, Most Loved Workplace.

Table of Contents

      • # 1. Meet Employees Where They Are

        **Understanding Cultural Differences and Generational Attitudes:**

        One of the key points raised by Katherine from Airhelp was the importance of recognizing and addressing the cultural and generational differences within the workforce. She highlighted that in regions like Poland, LGBTQ+ issues might be approached differently compared to more progressive areas like Berlin or Barcelona. By acknowledging these differences and educating employees about the experiences and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals, organizations can foster greater empathy and understanding.

        **Actionable Steps:**

        – Tailor communication and education programs to fit the cultural context of your workforce.

        – Encourage open discussions and sharing of personal experiences to build empathy.

        – Provide resources and support that resonate with employees from different backgrounds.

    # 2. Foster a Growth Mindset and Continuous Improvement

    **Creating a Safe Environment for Risk-Taking:**

    Both Kristy and Katherine emphasized the importance of creating a work environment where employees feel safe to take risks and make mistakes without fear of punishment. At O2E Brands, for instance, the CEO’s book “Willing to Fail” encapsulates the company’s commitment to a culture where failure is seen as an opportunity for growth and learning.

    **Actionable Steps:**

    – Implement policies that encourage experimentation and acknowledge that mistakes are part of the learning process.

    – Promote a culture of continuous feedback and improvement.

    – Celebrate small wins and progress towards creating a more inclusive workplace.

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      1. # 3. Lead by Example with Authenticity

        **Authenticity in Leadership:**

        Katherine stressed the importance of leaders being authentic and transparent. Leaders who admit their mistakes, show vulnerability, and genuinely care about their employees set a powerful example. This authenticity helps in building trust and encouraging employees to bring their whole selves to work.

        **Actionable Steps:**

        – Leaders should regularly communicate openly about their own challenges and experiences.

        – Create opportunities for employees to provide feedback and voice their concerns without fear of retribution.

        – Ensure that leadership training includes components on empathy, active listening, and authentic communication.


        Building an inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees requires ongoing effort, empathy, and a commitment to continuous improvement. By meeting employees where they are, fostering a growth mindset, and leading with authenticity, organizations can create environments where all employees feel valued and empowered to be their true selves. These strategies not only improve employee engagement and satisfaction but also drive better business outcomes by leveraging diverse perspectives and ideas.

        Want to hear more? Hear the entire panel discussion to learn from leaders like Katherine and Kristy who are setting the example for how companies can create inclusive workplaces for their LGBTQ+ employees!