A businessman and member of the LGBTQ+ community shake hands over a background with the colors of the transgender pride flag
iStock/Veleri

An Investor’s Lesson to Entrepreneurs

Business has the power to impact society for the better. But that doesn't mean entrepreneurs can't go wrong—and investors know that. Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Doug Mellinger shares some tips for realizing meaningful change.

Investing & Diversity: The Changing Faces of Venture Capitalists

Is the venture capital industry embracing diversity in investors? Watch global venture capitalists from around the world discuss the state of things and what needs to be done for a more inclusive future.

Servant Leadership

There's more to leadership than driving a team to profit. In fact, there's a word for looking beyond self-interest to prioritize individual growth: servant leadership. Try this course for a quick breakdown of what that is, how it works, and how it can lead to organizational success.

Organizational Behavior and Leadership

Ever wonder what makes a great leader? Whether your role requires leadership or not, understanding organizational behavior is useful for your career. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can set you on your way.

Leadership vs. Management

Leadership and management are different skills, but today’s leaders must have both. Try out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to understand the difference, as well as when and why each skill is necessary for motivation, communication, and value.

Strategy: Creating Value Inside Your Company

Have you ever wondered why certain companies are more successful than others? The answer is strategy: internal processes that control costs, allocate resources, and create value. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can give you the tools you need for that strategic edge.

Strategy: Understanding the External Environment

To plan strategy on any level, you need to understand your company's external environment. In fact, your level of understanding can impact hiring, budgeting, marketing, or nearly any other part of the business world. Want to learn how to do all that? This course from GLOBIS Unlimited is the perfect first step!

Using Japanese Values to Thrive in Global Business

Japanese companies have unique cultural, communication, and operational challenges. But they also have values that have led to remarkable longevity. Check out this seminar to hear how these values help earn trust from overseas head offices and develop employees.

Turnaround Leadership: The Differences Between Japan and the West

What's the best way for leaders to communicate a shift in corporate strategy? How do you even know when it's time for such a change? This course explains how Japan might have one answer, Western companies another.

Conflict Management

Conflicts in the workplace are inevitable. But they can lead to positive outcomes if they’re managed well. Check out this online course for a two-step process that can help you manage conflict successfully.

Evernote Founder: How Tech Startups Can Break through in Japan

Can startup models from Hollywood and Silicon Valley succeed anywhere? Phil Libin, cofounder and CEO of startup incubator All Turtles, explains how AI can solve everyday problems to bring products to market.

Women Empowerment: Lessons from Cartier

How can women overcome gender inequality and reach their leadership goals? Cartier Japan CEO June Miyachi shares her secret in this special course from GLOBIS Unlimited.

Marketing: Reaching Your Target

Every company works hard to get its products into the hands of customers. Are you doing everything you can to compete? In this course, you’ll find a winning formula to turn a product idea into real sales. Follow along through the fundamentals of the marketing mix and see how companies successfully bring products to market.

Marketing Mix

Seeing good products into the hands of customers is no easy task. The marketing mix can help. It's a collection of strategies and tactics companies utilize to get customers to purchase their products or services, and is an essential part of the overall marketing process.

The Principles of Negotiation

With the proper skills and attitude, anyone can become a successful negotiator.  But first, you'll need to learn the basics to prepare for, assess, and respond to offers for the best results. GLOBIS Unlimited can help.

Negotiation: Creating Value

Want to create more shared value between yourself and your negotiation opponent? Discover how cognitive bias affects the judgment of others. Try this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to master the value of negotiation.

Finding Your Life Purpose with Ikigai

Ikigai can guide you in your quest for self-discovery. Listen to Japanese brain scientist Ken Mogi explain why and how.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Want to leverage Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a leader? Try this short course to see how the theory can be applied in practical work scenarios.

Confirmation Bias

We all subconsciously collect information that reinforces our preconceptions. It's natural . . . but it does lead to a kind of flawed decision-making called confirmation bias. To become more objective and impartial, check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited!

An Investor's Lesson to Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs have the power to transform societies for the better. But how do you attract investors to start or grow a business? Or to sell one? Check out this seminar for the answers to these and more, straight from a master venture capitalist!

Managerial Accounting

Managerial accounting is a powerful way to measure progress, identify problems, and meet your goals. Check out this course to learn how data-backed decisions can help you run your business.

Finance Basics: 1

For a healthy mix of quantitative planning, evaluation, and management, you need solid decision-making. And finance is the secret sauce! Get the essentials of finance in this two-part course from GLOBIS Unlimited.

Basic Accounting: Financial Analysis

Want to compare your performance vs. a competitor? Or evaluate a potential vendor? Then you'll need to conduct a financial analysis. This course will teach you how to use three financial statements and evaluate financial performance in terms of profitability, efficiency, soundness, growth, and overall strength.

Career Anchors

What drives you to be good at your job?

Career anchors are based on your values, desires, motivations, and abilities. They are the immovable parts of your professional self-image that guide you throughout your career journey.

Try this short GLOBIS Unlimited course to identify which of the eight career anchors is yours!

Digital Marketing Psychology to Transform Your Business

How does digital marketing really differ from traditional marketing? How is social media changing things really? And what's going on in Asia?

Pyramid Structure

Having the pyramid structure in your communication toolkit can not only help you approach a problem, but convince others that your solution is valid. Break away from linear thinking and test your logical thinking with this course from GLOBIS Unlimited!

Leadership with Passion through Kokorozashi

The key ingredient to success? Passion.

Finding your kokorozashi will unify your passions and skills to create positive change in society. This GLOBIS Unlimited course will help you develop the values and lifelong goals you need to become a strong, passion-driven leader.

AI First Companies – Implementation and Impact

AI is changing the way companies operate. How do you structure teams to increase efficiency?

Technovate in the Era of Industry 4.0

Is Industry 4.0 is the next step of human evolution human civilization? Dr. Jorge Calvo seems to think so. Join him to learn how the past can help you set goals for an exciting future of digital innovation.

Technovate Thinking

Business leaders of tomorrow need to harness the power of technology and innovation. That means understanding algorithms and how they drive business results. Discover opportunities to make technology work for your competitive edge.

Product Life Cycle

Every product takes a natural course through the market—there's a how, when, and why customers adopt products at different stages. Check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to find out how a product you use every day is part of this cycle.

Logic Tree

Logical thinking is the most valuable asset any business professional can have. That's why logic trees are such a valuable tool—they can help you identify a problem, break it down, and build it back up to a solution.

MECE Principle

Using the MECE principle can help ensure you categorize without gaps or overlaps. Check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited for a practical demonstration of how it works!

When it comes to queer representation in the workplace, there’s what companies say they’re doing, and then there’s reality. Many organizations have adopted the aesthetic of serving the LGBTQ+ community—what is commonly known as “rainbow capitalism.” It includes the pattern of progressive rebranding and cosmetic activism, but does little to support the LGBTQ+ community in practical ways.

Discrimination against LGB and especially TQ+ individuals surpasses these headlines and impacts day-to-day lives and wellbeing. The National Center for Transgender Equality reports that 25% of transgender people have lost a job due to bias, while 75% have experienced workplace discrimination. Historically the most vulnerable, transgender people earn less, are unemployed more, and are frequently passed over for promotion. Even today in the United States, studies show one in three transgender people will experience homelessness.

I am a transgender nonbinary person, but I have many privileges in Japan as a white-passing foreigner from a developed country. As a native English speaker, I am guaranteed a comfortable (if tedious) job teaching English, should my other ventures fail.

But I have also experienced discrimination, including transphobic bullying, passive-aggressive comments, and sexual harassment in the workplace. I’ve been scolded by coworkers and classmates for using masculine-sounding Japanese. Day-to-day microaggressions, cringe humor, misgendering from coworkers, and apathy make health and happiness a fragile thing.

And again, I am one of the lucky ones.

On a positive note, we now seem to be entering an era where more people at different levels of influence have the common goal of making their workplaces more welcoming. But where to start? Both for well-intentioned allies and for queer people looking to introduce change, here are seven actions for how we can question, improve, and reframe company policy making to better support the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace.

Next Article

Redefining DEI as Diversity, Equity, and Innovation

As the global understanding of diversity as a business strategy continues to evolve, perhaps it’s time to redefine DEI as diversity, equity, and innovation.

How to Keep “Common Sense” from Ruining Diversity of Thought

Common sense isn’t common. Here are 4 steps to embrace diversity of thought for better leadership and teamwork.
Many-colored strips of paper overlaid and all reading "common sense" to show diversity of thought in unexpected places

7 Actions to Support the LGBTQ+ Community in Your Workplace

1) Set a goal.

It’s easy to feel paralyzed in the face of huge, lifelong social endeavors such as fighting structural oppression. Don’t try to take on these behemoths all at once. Instead, break them down into attainable, measurable goals. This will facilitate progress and help you recognize milestones.

For example, if your overarching goal is to make your company more trans-inclusive, begin by requiring employees to include their pronouns in their email signatures, Slack handles, or site profiles. This will have the dual benefit of helping the majority normalize recognition of trans or nonbinary team coworkers and giving your trans employees an easy avenue to express their identity.

Whatever goals you set, collect and measure the data: employee turnover rates, retention, and responses to employee wellness surveys. Goals such as “higher trust between employees and employers” or “greater respect among teammates” can be applied to any company.

2) Don’t react—plan.

The time to reform policies for LGBTQ+ hires is now—or rather, yesterday.

Smart business leaders structure their companies to accommodate the safety and needs of employees, current and future. A workplace that has yet, for example, to arrange gender-neutral bathroom options and a fluid dress code will be less appealing to potential trans/nonbinary hires. As for those already on staff, many queer people will conceal their identities precisely because their company has yet to cultivate an LGBTQ+-friendly environment.

As a trans/nonbinary person, I can attest that the situation is rarely a matter of “when the trans hires arrive.” The trans folk are already here—they just haven’t come out.

While in recent years I have become very open, I was closeted for most of my professional life. I was also far from alone: at my former job at an international company, I socialized with a number of gay and transgender coworkers who had either opted to stay in the closet or been subtly pressured by management to do so.

Really, the onus should be on the manager, HR team, or business leader to be proactive about making a workplace more inclusive—not pressuring the minority to fight for change.

One tool used by noted D&I consultant Lily Zheng is a fictional employee profile—someone who is marginalized both socially and physically. For example, this employee could be transgender, a single mother, a person of color, a non-native speaker of English, and disabled in ways that make navigating an office difficult. She has myriad intersections to her identity and experience that would hinder her in most traditional workplaces.

To plan (rather than react) to such an employee, frame your policy reform around the question, “How could this employee thrive?” This will make it easier to craft a workplace that is supportive and accessible to all.

3) Think “universal inclusion,” not exceptions.

The curb-cut effect dictates that changes made to provide equity for one group end up benefitting the many. With that in mind, remember that any and all accommodations you make for LGBTQ+ employees can—and should—be applied universally.

Making overarching policy changes with nonconforming employees in mind, as Zheng suggests, sets clearer and fairer expectations for everyone. They benefit trans and gender-nonconforming employees who are not out at work, empower cisgender employees who simply enjoy nontraditional gender expression (i.e., men with long hair), and build solidarity among employees. Moreover, transgender employees will not feel beholden to management for allowing exceptions, but instead maintain their dignity and sense of equality in the office.

One of my former jobs had traditional gendered dress codes which managers would enforce at their own discretion. This included a manager who infamously made the women/assigned-female-at-birth employees wear high heels. (This does not refer to former Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Takumi Nemoto, though well it might.) Another manager scolded me for having a shaved head, and then told me he would permit my androgynous hair on the condition I bought nicer shoes.
Gender-free dress codes surpass merely aesthetic progressivism to impact queer employee’s mental health and safety. Similarly, providing universal spousal benefits, family plans, and housing subsidies for LGBTQ+ employees must be a priority for companies looking to provide equal rights.

Next Article

Kan: An Authentic Role Model Taking on Psychological Safety

Psychological safety in Japan has a long road ahead. But public figures like Kan aim to change that by becoming relatable role models for the LGBTQ+ community.
Smiling image of Kan, a Japanese gay man striving to become a role model for psychological safety in Japan

5 Ways to Be an Ally in the Workplace

Allyship isn’t like what you’ve seen in the movies. Here are 5 REAL ways to support women in your workplace.
A woman stands in front of two men. All three face the camera, smile, and are wearing business attire.

4) Involve everyone—even the uninterested.

One of the challenges with promoting diversity and inclusion in a workplace is that audiences tend to self-select. That is, people who already have an interest in social justice issues will participate enthusiastically, while others who are ignorant of or apathetic towards these initiatives will usually skip or even become polarized against them.

In the delicate balancing act of introducing diversity programs to an office, it is wise to take stock of which camp each employee falls into and to develop different programs accordingly. Not all employees who are uninterested in diversity and LGBTQ+ rights are opposed to these principles. Rather, they would benefit from communication and training to make these issues relatable and to promote common ground.

5) Establish a clear action plan for conflict.

There are inevitably going to be employees who do not accept diversity training and consistently disrespect their queer coworkers. There are words for that: harassment and workplace discrimination.

While proper training can bring conservative coworkers onboard, statistics and personal experience attest that some coworkers will openly resist.  Their actions must be seen not only as harmful to minority coworkers around them, but also as perpetuating the discrimination of wider society. Your HR department must have a contingency plan that prioritizes the marginalized party in these conflicts. Japanese law is particularly slow to institute suitable protections for the LGBTQ+ community, but an ethical company will implement policies that go above and beyond in protecting its workers.

No one should have to debate their human rights at work. No one should have to fend off attacks on their humanity while they earn their living.

6) Set high expectations for yourself.

Ultimately, whether you are an ally, a member of a particular marginalized group, or a newcomer to considering these structural power imbalances, you’re bound to make mistakes.

I have misgendered friends and family—I sometimes even misgender myself! In such situations, there is an easy course of action: accept accountability, apologize, and move forward. Mistakes made in good faith are not the end of the world, but they are an opportunity to grow and develop empathy.

Listen if corrected and read the room. If necessary, check with a coworker to see that you are treating them respectfully.

7) Hire a DEI consultant, and do more reading!

Investing in a professional DEI consultant to develop training and workshops is a worthy use of funds. Indeed, funds should be allocated to your diversity efforts, not merely for PR or to head off conflicts, but to proactively cultivate a healthier work environment for marginalized groups like the LGBTQ+ community.

Ultimately, these seven points are a launch pad for further reading and research. A business leader and proactive ally will demonstrate commitment to these issues by building their insight and investing in books and other resources. The goal isn’t just to understand, but to improve company policy and implement intersectional theory.

These issues do not stop at the office lobby. They are carried through our daily lives and relationships. So do better than a rainbow logo for Pride Month. Read further, listen more closely, and learn more about the stories of the people around you.

Connect with Insights

Trouble keeping up with all the insights? Subscribe to our newsletter for monthly career inspiration right in your inbox!
Your newsletter subscription with us is subject to the GLOBIS Privacy Policy.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here