Supplying New Timber for Building LGBTQ Inclusive Workplaces

Every day I am fortunate to help clients from across the country transform their workplaces into ones that are more welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQ people. When getting started on a project, some clients initially request workplace trainings. Understandably, they believe that supporting staff by offering concrete skills to respect LGBTQ colleagues and clients will lead to fast results. Unfortunately, over 3 decades of research suggests that this singular approach simply does not work in isolation. Are workplace cultural competency trainings important? Absolutely! Are they effective? When customized and implemented with curriculum fidelity, of course. However, they simply cannot, and should not be the sole solution offered when attempting to address systemic barriers to cultivating diverse and inclusive workplaces.

On the bright side, we live in the information era, where strategies on how to overcome these barriers are just a click away. Specifically, executive, HR, and diversity professionals can easily access a wide-variety of reports, practices, and experiences through their own research. And yet, while there is an abundance of knowledge, many of us find a scarcity of time. This reality makes organizing and putting this knowledge into action difficult to manage. In order to overcome this particular pain point, I have created a holistic process called the TEAMS Transformation Method™, designed to deliver skills, offer mentorship, and hold leaders and organizations accountable to the diversity & inclusion goals they establish.

The TEAMS Transformation Method™ offers an organized and practical approach to building diverse and inclusive workplaces. Specifically, this method supplies the timber needed to build systems, strategies, and policies required to supplement the launch of a customized workplace training initiative. Taking this action will lead to lasting workplace transformation. Many of my clients have completed the process, and have realized meaningful results. To help more people get started, I’m thrilled to offer an outline of this approach here. If you seek a greater understanding a particular step, click on the title highlighted title for more information:

1.     Tuning the Leadership Vision. The first step of this method involves coaching key executives including board chairs to clarify their diversity & inclusion vision. Together, we develop a LGBTQ diversity & inclusion value statement laying the foundation to build a more inclusive workplace environment. This work usually involves 1:1 & team coaching, along with facilitated discussions with boards and senior executive teams with the shared goals of understanding and clarifying the desired outcomes.

2.     Engaging the Leadership Team. Working with the senior leadership team, we create a power map that identifies key managers & supervisors throughout the workplace needed to role model and introduce policy and practice changes. These changes lead to the desired outcomes defined identified in the vision statement. Part of this work involves creating a diversity & inclusion advisory team charged with leading on these workplace priorities.

3.     Accessing Workplace Climate. Once leadership buy-in is secured, the team responsible for putting the plan in action must take stock of the current workplace environment, establish a baseline of how the organization is performing with respect to protecting LGBTQ staff and better serve LGBTQ stakeholders by introducing benchmarks to achieve the desired outcomes. 

4.     Managing Policy & Practice Implementation. In order to meet the established benchmarks, this step is taken and usually involves examining existing policies, employee handbooks, practice guidelines (when working with LGBTQ patients), and working with dedicated staff charged with training and coaching their teams on policy & practice shifts when working with LGBTQ stakeholders.

5.     Sustaining the Change.  The final step focuses on making sure that the leadership’s vision the implementation of new systems, policies, and practice shifts sticks over the long-term. This involves committing staff resources and program dollars to ongoing training, professional development certifications, and coaching to help as specific incidents and challenges arise during every day practice.  

It typically takes between 4-6 months to lead a client through the TEAMS Transformation Method™. Some clients have requested consulting services for certain specific aspects of this method, such as crafting a workplace policy or conducting an climate assessment. To make this information more accessible to a greater number of prospective clients, I am offering a live webinar on Thursday, December 1 at 2:00 pm Eastern and 11:00 am Pacific to teach the first stage of this process, Fine Tuning Your Diversity & Inclusion Vision.

The webinar specifically supports executive, HR, and diversity professionals interested in gaining skills, and receiving mentorship to design a clear LGBTQ diversity and inclusion vision. During the live event, participants have the opportunity to share their ideas and troubleshoot challenges that arise when it comes to crafting a clear vision intended to build a more welcoming workplaces. Participants who register before November 1, will save $50. Once registered, participants will receive a pre-work activity, and an optional coaching call following the training. Be sure to register here: http://www.rhodesperry.com/teamsregister

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Rhodes Perry

Rhodes Perry is a nationally recognized expert on LGBTQ and social justice public policy matters, with two decades of leadership experience innovating strategy management, policy and program solutions for corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. At his core, Rhodes is an entrepreneur, where he most recently established Rhodes Perry Consulting, LLC, a national diversity and inclusion consulting firm that uses an intersectional approach to collaborate with leaders on creating solutions in the practice areas of strategy management, issue advocacy, and stakeholder engagement. Previously, Rhodes founded the Office of LGBTQ Policy & Practice at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, and prior to this assignment he served as the founding Director of Policy at PFLAG National where he led the policy strategy and advocacy efforts for the organization’s 350 chapters. He cut his teeth serving as a Program Examiner at the White House Office of Management & Budget, where he improved upon federal benefit programs designed to provide assistance to low-income communities. Rhodes earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Gender Studies from the University of Notre Dame, and obtained a Master of Public Administration from New York University.