Your name is your identity right? Or is it?
Many of us identify with the gender that was assigned at birth but what about those who don’t?
Can you imagine the identity clash that they feel when they get asked what their name is? The thoughts going through their head?
Do I tell them my legal name which relates to the gender that was assigned at birth?
Do I tell them my chosen name which relates to the gender I identify with?
How will they react?
Will they treat me differently?
Will it have an impact on my relationship with them?
These are some of the questions that transgender jobseekers think about when asked about their name on a job application.
Job-searching is a daunting process in itself before you factor in the potential loss of identity that a transgender person may experience when they feel they may need to put their legal name on a job application form.
Have you thought about whether transgender jobseekers might be feeling this when seeing one of your job adverts or filling in one of your job application forms?
Research shows that a diverse and inclusive team, where employees valued for their contribution, irrespective of their personal characteristics has many benefits for employers.
Individuals who feel valued:
- Are more engaged and therefore more productive – increased revenue for the business
- Have greater attendance – reduced absenteeism costs
- Are likely to stay with the company for longer – reduced recruitment and training costs
- Are more likely to share their opinion/suggestions allowing for decisions, which are representative of all relevant employees – can contribute to a competitive advantage
Can you afford to lose talented employees, because of your recruitment and retention process, especially if there are skill shortages in your industry?
I would presume not.
You can ensure that this doesn’t happen.
Create a sense of belonging by making small changes.
Clearly explain what rights transgender jobseekers have access to:
If a transgender jobseeker has not legally changed their name to their chosen name, they do not need to include this on a job application or talk about it during the recruitment process until they are at the job offer stage, when background checks are conducted or a DBS is requested for the role.
Please ensure that when it is asked for it is done in a sensitive way and this information is stored securely.
This will help with ensuring that non-binary and trans individuals are not feeling that they are being forced to disclose their legal name until it’s absolutely necessary, which can contribute to feelings associated with deadnaming.
Deadnaming is when a non-binary or trans individual is called by their legal name (relating to the gender assigned at birth) rather than their chosen name (relating to the gender they identify with), which is likely to cause offence.
- Include relevant policy and value statements which indicate that you are a brand which supports individuals irrespective of their personal characteristics
- Invite all employees who would like to share their story anonymously of what it’s like to work with your company – positive stories should be on your website; constructive feedback should be actioned and then your progress should be shared
- If you’ve worked with transgender charities/initiatives – include this in your press releases and on relevant webpages
- Include gender as part of your equal monitoring form, instead of the main job application which is used to shortlist
- In your equal monitoring form – give candidates an option to say non-binary or ‘prefer not to say’
Focus on the purpose of the interview: Does the candidate have the competencies for the role
If the candidate chooses to tell you about their intention to transition/change of name/gender reassignment:
- Please listen
- Thank them for their openness
- Explain that if appointed, you as the employer will support them
Please remember not to ask for this information at this stage, it is still the employee’s choice as to whether they disclose.
If a candidate’s name on the job application does not match their name on documentation, they should be referred to a nominated HR contact that has the relevant knowledge and experience to ask for this in a sensitive manner and is able to store this information securely. This information should not be shared informally.
The new starter should take the lead in terms of whether their trans status is discussed. Revealing their status without their consent may be a violation of their rights under the Gender Recognition Act 2004 (changes to come into effect but not yet published, following a consultation in September 2020).
If the new starter chooses to disclose their status, it is their choice how this happens and who their status is disclosed to. Discuss and agree a plan of action.
If reasonable support is requested by the new starter, the employer should make every effort to respond and act on these requests.
Encourage new starters to ask questions and raise concerns. They may feel that their status may affect their relationship with their manager, employees, their career within the company. Please reassure and respond to any reasonable concerns in a flexible and sensitive manner.
If you would like further support with this, please contact us, using firstname.lastname@example.org