19 BACK TO NAVIGATION Challenges and Opportunities The first two years of AusLSA reporting on LGBTI inclusion has shown encouraging growth, commitment and activity, however there are still a significant number of reporting members who have yet to recognise this important issue with a formal and public response. As public policies supporting LGBTI employees in law firms become more commonplace those without them may cause some of these employees to feel that this area of inclusion has been overlooked. This also creates missed opportunities to attract, retain, and maximise the potential contribution of their existing talent. While the progress of those members who do address LGBTI inclusion is encouraging, there is still work to be done. To continually improve and move beyond generic policies and mainstream initiatives firms need to reflect and explore. Gaps exist where HR policies and practice focus on compliance instead of strategic LGBTI inclusion initiatives. Policies mostly deal with anti-discrimination and equal opportunity, rather than taking practical steps toward creating a leading culture of inclusion. Law firms can expand their approach by investigating the key components of a successful LGBTI inclusion strategy and moving beyond minimum standards. Awareness and understanding is a key stepping stone to inclusion. Comprehensive awareness training for teams and all levels of management are critical for a truly inclusive work environment and should cover: • The unique challenges faced by LGBTI employees • The use of terminology and language • How to promptly and effectively respond to inappropriate comments in the workplace • Respecting confidentiality and understanding the sensitivities around disclosure Law firms need to remember that the LGBTI community remains a highly stigmatised group in many parts of the community. The minimum threshold in this area of inclusion has moved beyond universal policy changes and mainstream diversity initiatives. Law firms need to broaden their approach by understanding the efficacy of a successful LGBTI inclusion strategy. Leading practice in this area of inclusion includes: • Targeted measures to combat the underreporting of LGBTI bullying and harassment • The tracking and analysis of LGBTI bullying and harassment reports • Ensuring any internal or external counselling or Employee Assistance Programs understand the challenges faced by LGBTI people in the workplace • Additional tailored support for transgender, gender diverse, and intersex employees • Collecting lifelong data for LGBTI employees comparing engagement, pay, retention, promotions, and exits INITIATIVES Number of firms 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 IDAHOT Week Participation Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) reporting LGBTI Awareness training Pride in Diversity Membership Wear it Purple Internal Networks or Committees Out for Australia 15 13 17 16 8 3 2