2.4 Staff Training

How

Staff knowledge, skills, and attitudes

  • Conduct an annual survey to assess staff attitudes and knowledge of LGBTIQ+ issues and experiences.

  • Assess and monitor skills gaps in working with LGBTIQ+ service users during staff supervision.

  • Provide new staff with LGBTIQ+-specific information during induction, so that all new staff are aware of key issues for LGBTIQ+ people accessing their service.

  • Develop a knowledge bank of LGBTIQ+-specific resources (on the intranet if available), and share these with all staff, including an up-to-date list of inclusive referral services.

  • Conduct regular, whole-of-organisation, face-to-face LGBTIQ+ training. Set training completion targets for current and new staff and evaluate.

  • Be aware that broad LGBTIQ+ inclusive practice training often does not address the complexities involved in more marginalised groups and intersectional experiences, so ensure there is further training to address this.

Supportive training

  • Ensure that management or another senior representative introduces and is present during training sessions, to highlight that this aligns with other organisational diversity policies and is supported at all levels, as well as to ensure the cultural safety of trainers and participants.

  • Ensure that human resources have capacity to assist LGBTIQ+ staff members who may wish to affirm their sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status in the workplace. Share this information about resources with staff during induction, on the intranet if the service has one, and following training.

  • Check in with staff after training is completed and have a support plan, including information about Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services.

  • Consult with community groups to identify trainers and reimburse all trainers for their time.

Example of whole-of-organisation training.

Family Access Network (FAN) provides a range of support, such as transitional housing and referrals, for young people at risk of homelessness in Victoria, including those who identify as LGBTIQ+. LGBTIQ+ training continues to be a core competency requirement for staff at all levels within the organisation, and an integral part of orientation and recruitment processes. Training is guided by an overarching LGBTIQ Portfolio, and trends arising in LGBTIQ-specific data captured by this service (for example, increasing numbers of trans clients accessing the service prompted whole-of-organisation trans-focused staff training).

Why

Training of staff in LGBTIQ+ inclusive practice and cultural safety needs to be planned, prioritised, evaluated, and approached as a regular, mandatory, ongoing process, rather than one-off. This is important as needs, language, and identities within the community continue to evolve – as do capabilities and knowledge of staff – but also to accommodate staff turnover. It can help to set training targets for current and new staff (such as completion of training within six months for the former, or one month of employment for the latter), and use supervision to assess and monitor skills gaps.

Regular training needs to take place at all levels across the organisation [24] – including board members, management, front-line staff, reception, grievances/complaints, and volunteers – and ideally, sessions are introduced by senior management to emphasise this. Management can use this opportunity to communicate how this training aligns with other organisational diversity strategies and inclusion policies; and to direct staff to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and support plan in the event that training raises personal questions, or triggers trauma and distress for staff.

As well as specific training on LGBTIQ+ issues and inclusive practice, additional training may be needed to ensure that human resources have capacity and a support plan to assist staff who wish to come out or affirm their sexual orientation, gender identity and/ or intersex status in the workplace. This information can also be discussed during staff induction.

At induction, managers can highlight a range of LGBTIQ+ resources accessible on the intranet, if the service has one, including but not limited to an up-to-date list of inclusive referral services for LGBTIQ+ clients that encompasses:

  • Accommodation options;

  • Counselling services;

  • Support for parents and families;

  • Employment services;

  • Community support groups; and

  • Information about rights, relevant legislation, and complaints pathways (Lambda Legal 2009).

Staff training should encompass further specific marginalised intersectional identities and experiences (for example, intersex, people of colour, multifaith, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, people with a disability, neurodiverse, transgender, nonbinary, asylum seekers, refugees, international students, and so forth). Where possible, trainers who have lived experience of those marginalised identities and specific experiences should be asked to deliver this training; and trainers should not be expected to deliver this for free but be appropriately reimbursed for their time. More general tips on selecting LGBTIQ+ trainers are provided under Standard 2 of the Rainbow Tick ([email protected] 2016).

One way that managers can gauge staff knowledge, attitudes, and gaps is to conduct an annual survey using a range of indicators. They can also consult with community organisations and the lived experience advisory group.

24. Note that if training attendance is voluntary, there is a risk that those staff that need it most may choose not to participate.