From Matthew to Maria in three working days

A member of your staff comes into your office and says: “As of Monday I will no longer be Matthew, I will be Maria.” What would you do?

One of our clients was faced with this issue last week. Our client is a composed, very easy going character, but admitted to feeling really awkward and unsure. He had known Matthew for years and he said that he had no idea how to handle the situation.

The first thing our client did was seek advice. The advice he sought was more than just ensuring that he followed the right process. He acknowledged that he lacked understanding, accepted that some of his staff would feel uncomfortable and he wanted to ensure that Maria and the whole team were OK.

Many organisations lack courage when dealing with equality and diversity, avoiding challenging issues and leaving staff unsure what they should and shouldn’t be doing. Here are some ideas that Khembe Clarke and Melissa Shervington, (our experts in equalities and diversities) provided:

Firstly, create an open environment in which people are able to share and discuss their thoughts. Leaders lead by example

Secondly, be led by Maria, she will have received counselling and coaching in how to manage the workplace. There will be a lot of issues that will need to be covered:

  • Does it impact your job role in any way?
  • What timescales are involved?
  • Use of facilities
  • What are Maria’s concerns?

Thirdly, consider inviting a  Community Worker from the transgender community come in to the office and speak with your staff.  Community Workers share their stories and experiences and are willing to answer any questions. This provides a safe environment for staff to engage with the topic without placing Maria in the spotlight.  If you don’t know any Community Workers, you can contact organisations such as Stonewell, who can assist.

How prepared are you and your organisation when it comes to tackling everyday, and more unusual, equality and diversity issues in the workplace?

AKD’s Equally Yours is acknowledged by users as one of the most engaging, fun  (and sometimes edgy) equality and diversity learning experiences available.

If you would like to experience Equally Yours, contact us on:

Tel: 0845 519 3839


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