This ‘tick’ can help make your organisation more attractive to candidates

This ‘tick’ can help make your organisation more attractive to candidates

While the ‘war for talent’ is a terrible metaphor, in a time of record-low unemployment almost every NFP organisation is looking hard for ways to make themselves more attractive to the best candidates.

And with more than 10 percent of Australians identifying as LGBTIQ, a June 2023 survey of 5,474 people who identify as LGBTIQ across Australia and 12 other countries found that one-third were looking to move to a more LGBTIQ-inclusive employer.

And less than half of them feel comfortable being open about their identity with all of their colleagues to work.

One tool that can help you to attract more LGBTIQ candidates and volunteers to your organisation – and better retain your existing LGBTIQ employees and volunteers too – is the Rainbow Tick. It’s a world-first framework that helps organisations become safe and inclusive for the LGBTIQ community.

The Rainbow Tick standards, owned and developed by Rainbow Health Australia, are designed to build lasting LGBTIQ inclusion, with accreditation provided through independent assessment.

The Rainbow Tick is designed for health and human services organisations, but many other types of organisations can benefit from Rainbow Tick accreditation. Even the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has got on board, using the Tick to become the most inclusive military in the world. (You can download their 33-page LGBTIQ+ Inclusion Plan here.)

Six standards to measure against

Whether you’re interested in being formally accredited or you’d just like to improve your organisation’s inclusiveness for all employees and prospective employees, Rainbow Tick provides six key standards for your organisation to measure itself against – plus resources to help you on the journey to becoming safe, welcoming and inclusive for LGBTIQ consumers and staff.

The six Rainbow Tick Standards provide a roadmap for planning, implementing and measuring change.

The standards are a set of key organising principles for any organisation developing a plan to improve LGBTIQ inclusion at any level, while also supporting organisations working towards formal accreditation.

The Rainbow Tick standards are:

1. Organisational Capability

Your organisation must be able to demonstrate that it has embedded LGBTIQ inclusive practices across all of its systems and continuously seeks out opportunities for improvements.

Key actions here include:

  • Conducting a thorough assessment of current practice in order to identify gaps and assess current capabilities to inform a plan for organisational change.
  • Developing a planning framework that embeds LGBTIQ-inclusive practice into strategic directions and business planning.
  • Dedicating and investing resources appropriate to implement and deliver on strategies and plans.

2. Workforce Development

Your staff and volunteers must all understand their responsibilities to LGBTIQ consumers and are trained and able to deliver LGBTIQ inclusive services.

Key actions here include:

  • Developing a process for assessing the workforce development needs of your organisation, and regularly reviewing training needs and other opportunities for further professional development.
  • Considering ways in which staff can respectfully and safely discuss their values and beliefs relating to LGBTIQ people and how these impact on service quality.
  • Providing LGBTIQ inclusion training for all staff and volunteers, appropriate to their interactions and roles in relation to LGBTIQ communities.
  • Developing a systemic approach that incorporates LGBTIQ inclusion training and knowledge-building into existing workforce development schedules and supports a culture of ongoing learning and reflection.
  • Creating opportunities to share knowledge as it develops, with peers, within your sector and with other organisations

3. Consumer Participation

LGBTIQ consumers are consulted and participate in the planning, development, and review of the organisation’s services.

Key actions here include:

  • Engaging LGBTIQ communities and staff in co-design of an organisational community participation strategy.
  • Developing policies that clearly outline the role of any consultation groups and their place within organisational governance structures and what will happen with information provided by service users.
  • Remunerating and acknowledge LGBTIQ community representatives and organisations appropriately for their participation.
  • Seeking advice as appropriate from LGBTIQ peak bodies, services and researchers for input on all LGBTIQ identities and experiences but especially those who are not represented in your local community groups or consultation strategies.
  • Collaborating with other organisations to share mechanisms and processes for reaching out to and involving LGBTIQ service users.
  • Ensuring timely communication with LGBTIQ service users and communities who are consulted about the changes or decisions made as a result of their participation.

4. A welcoming and accessible organisation

LGBTIQ consumers can easily and confidently access services as the physical and virtual environments including information, structures, resources and processes, are welcoming.

Key actions here include:

  • Establishing the organisational expectation that staff welcome LGBTIQ service users at all points on the client journey including prior to entry, and during intake, assessment and service delivery, exit planning, referral and follow up.
  • Periodically reviewing and updating resources, policies, physical and online spaces to ensure these are welcoming and accessible to LGBTIQ service users and staff.
  • Ensuring all communications are free from heteronormative language and assumptions in addition to specifically targeting communication towards LGBTIQ communities to show that the organisation is welcoming and safe, willing and able to meet their needs,and has networks and systems in place to support referral to other LGBTIQ-inclusive services as required.
  • Communicating an organisational commitment to LGBTIQ-inclusive practice and its requirements to other local and sector services, particularly those with service referral relationships.
  • Promoting a commitment to LGBTIQ inclusion through recruitment advertising and processes, to attract and reassure future LGBTIQ employees.

5. Disclosure and documentation

LGBTIQ consumers, staff and volunteers feel safe providing personal information, including their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or intersex status, because they know information will be treated respectfully and that there are systems in place to ensure their privacy.

Key actions here include:

  • Auditing all forms that collect personal information from both staff and service users in order to determine if there is a clear rationale to collect this data and how this data will be used, including a review of relevant questions used in required and mandated data collection systems.
  • Seeking out best-practice for asking questions regarding sexuality, gender identity or intersex status, and relationship or parenting status in any system for data collection, or provide an ‘opt-out’ if this is not possible to implement.
  • Adopting clear policies and procedures for collecting information about sex, gender identity, sexuality and family or relationships. This includes ensuring service users, staff and volunteers are well-informed about data management of their personal information.
  • Ensuring staff are trained in how to confidently demonstrate affirmative and respectful responses to disclosure by service users, collecting and managing data in a sensitive, lawful and inclusive manner.

6. Culturally safe and acceptable services

Services and programs identify, assess, and manage risks to ensure the cultural safety of LGBTIQ consumers.

Key actions here include:

  • Developing or updating risk management processes to identify and respond to risks specific to LGBTIQ service users or staff.
  • Identifying and responding to breaches of the cultural safety of LGBTIQ service users, staff and volunteers by other staff, service users, volunteers or visitors.
  • Providing training to ensure all staff, service users and volunteers understand the meaning of LGBTIQ cultural safety and are aware of policies to manage breaches.

How do you become accredited?

If you’re interested in formal Rainbow Tick accreditation, Rainbow Health Australia offers a wide range of options to help.

Your organisation can take part in their How2 program, which is a 15 week course of weekly group sessions, that takes participants through the practical steps for embedding LGBTIQ practices within the organisation. The program is free for many Victoria-based NFPs as part of Pride in our future: Victoria’s LGBTIQ+ strategy 2022–32.

They also have a number of resources available for free on their website, including their Accreditation and Evidence Guide and an Initial Assessment Tool. Accreditation can be obtained through independent assessment, provided by Quality Innovation Performance and The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards.

The Rainbow Tick certification Rainbow Tick represents a commitment to creating environments where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued in their healthcare journey.

Jac Tomins from VincentCare, reflecting on her organisation’s journey to become accredited, concludes:

I wanted the staff and volunteers of VincentCare to be recognised for the extraordinary work they had done. But equally, the advocate in me wanted to send a message to the world that any organisation — even a faith-based one, even a Catholic faith based one — can acknowledge, affirm and celebrate the queer community. I wanted our success to be replicated by others — I wanted organisations queuing up around the block to register for Rainbow Tick.


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