On Thursday, the group Equality Montana taught several business representatives how to better create an inclusive environment at Great Falls’ first "Welcoming Workplace Summit."
The goal was to help businesses learn how to create a comfortable environment for their LGBTQ employees.
Between 20 and 30 businesses were invited to attend the meeting at the Civic Center.
Attendees discussed topics like properly identifying pronouns, ways to approach identity-based conflict or harassment, as well as why businesses across the country are promoting this type of positive workspace.
Equality Montana program director and Great Falls native Garrett Lankford said the organization held a similar summit in Bozeman, but wanted to target other applicable areas, like his hometown.
“Great Falls has a bunch of areas that are already supportive of the LGBTQ community but there's always more that we can do to continue to make sure that these people are welcome in Great Falls,” Lankford said.
Lankford feels that while Great Falls does show support for those with different identities, there are ways to improve the population’s cohesion into the larger community.
“For a lot of people their values quite aren't as flushed out yet. So while they might have pure intent and pure hearts, they just need some extra help to make sure that their workplace policies and that their formal procedures line up with those values.” Lankford said.
All attendees left the summit with tips on how to make LGBTQ employees feel welcome as well as policies that can give them an idea of what language to use to handle any harassment claims or any workplace grievances that might arise.
To find out more about Equality Montana, click here to visit their website .