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“Embracing Allyship For LGBTQIA+ Colleagues”

Jaya Singh Panda, Chief Learning & Development and Chief Diversity Officer, Tata Steel, stresses on the need for the organisations to sensitise and train their employees for becoming active allies for employees coming from LGBTQIA+ community

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In an era that values diversity, inclusion and equality, organisations are increasingly recognising the importance of creating an environment where every employee feels safe, respected and empowered to be their authentic selves. To achieve this, it is crucial to train employees to be effective allies for their LGBTQIA+ colleagues. Allyship goes beyond tolerance; it encompasses actively supporting and advocating for the rights and wellbeing of LGBTQIA+ individuals. By providing comprehensive training programmes, organisations can equip their employees with the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to become effective allies.

Jaya Singh Panda, Chief Learning & Development and Chief Diversity Officer, Tata Steel, got into a candid video conversation with Sugandh Bahl and elucidated on the dire need for the organisations today to train their employees for becoming active allies for LGBTQIA+ employees.

Components of allyship training

Creating an inclusive workplace requires intentional efforts to dismantle biases, challenge stereotypes and foster empathy. Training employees to be LGBTQIA+ allies serves as a cornerstone in building a supportive and affirming environment. Through education and awareness, organisations can empower their workforce to address prejudices, dismantle barriers and contribute to a culture of respect and acceptance.

Talking about the allyship programme at Tata Steel, Panda explains how the organisation has been actively involved in working towards diversity front for quite some time.

She underlines, “Training employees to be allies for LGBTQIA+ colleagues involves various key elements, but primarily employees should be made aware of the company’s aim behind working towards any measure.” Other measures include:

Education on LGBTQIA+ terminology and identities: Training programmes begin by introducing participants to a comprehensive understanding of LGBTQIA+ terminology, identities and experiences. This education serves to dispel myths, challenge misconceptions and foster empathy by providing a foundation of knowledge about the diverse spectrum of gender identities and sexual orientations.

Advocacy and support: Training programmes equip allies with the tools and strategies to advocate for their LGBTQIA+ colleagues. Allies learn how to use their privilege and influence to promote inclusion, challenge discriminatory practices and support policy changes that safeguard the rights and wellbeing of LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Confidentiality and respect for privacy: Allies are educated on the importance of confidentiality and respect for privacy in LGBTQIA+ matters. They learn to honour an individual’s chosen name, pronouns and personal journey, recognizing that disclosure of one’s LGBTQIA+ identity should be entirely at the discretion of the individual.

Ongoing learning and growth: Allyship is a continuous journey of learning and growth. Organisations emphasise the importance of ongoing education and provide resources such as workshops, webinars and access to LGBTQIA+ support networks. By promoting continuous learning, organisations ensure that allyship remains a dynamic and evolving practice.

Creating safe environment

In today’s progressive and diverse society, creating a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQIA+ professionals is a crucial responsibility for organisations across all industries. Such an environment goes beyond mere acceptance; it actively fosters respect, equality and empowerment for individuals of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.

By prioritising the wellbeing and success of LGBTQIA+ employees, organisations not only cultivate a positive work culture but also drive innovation, productivity and employee satisfaction. In this introduction, we delve into the strategies and practices organisations can adopt to create a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQIA+ professionals, ensuring their voices are heard, their identities are respected and their contributions are valued.

Panda reminisces the time when Trans POSH Policy was being drafted and implemented, Tata Steel and employees did come forward to uplift and celebrate this initiative. “And the actual celebratory moment came when together we were able to onboard over a 100 such people from the LGBTQIA+ segment in a span of mere seven months.”

Education and awareness play pivotal roles in building an inclusive workplace. Organisations can provide LGBTQIA+ awareness and sensitivity training programmes to help employees understand the unique challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ professionals, foster empathy and challenge biases and stereotypes. These training sessions should cover topics such as LGBTQIA+ terminology, the coming out process, intersectionality and the impact of discrimination and micro aggressions. Through education, organisations can empower employees to allies for their LGBTQIA+ colleagues.


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