In HR Dive’s Mailbag series, we answer HR professionals’ questions about all things work. Have a question? Send it to [email protected].
Q: How can you acknowledge nonbinary employees on EEO-1 reporting forms?
The limits of EEO-1 reporting makes the jobs of HR managers who want to be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ talent more difficult, sources have told HR Dive. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission only offers two gender options on its demographic data forms. While there is a comment section, HR leads still have to effectively misgender some of their trans employees to comply with the government’s reporting mandate.
Obie Odunukwe, McLean & Company’s Director of HR Advisory, published a report in July on recommended practices for self-identification questions. As the reporting process can leave non-binary people and HR pros in the lurch, HR Dive tapped Odunukwe for advice regarding the question of how genderfluid talent can be identified.
“It's a difficult one, because there are legal reporting requirements. The form cannot be changed beyond what the organization itself can do. It goes back to the principles that guide the entire organization,” Odunukwe told HR Dive. In an earlier interview, she told HR Dive that people teams need to clarify the “why” of collecting demographic data and act accordingly.
For Odunukwe, “co-creation” is the word she uses to describe her approach to HR. “The dignity of the human person is important,” she added. With this in mind, there are two routes HR leads can take: either ask the LGBTQ+ employee resource group to weigh in or decide that the problem is “beyond” that HR team.
It’s important for HR folks to check in when problem solving for a community that they may not understand, she said. “Go back to the impacted demographic and work with them in terms of what the solution looks like.” On paper, the idea of sharing a survey asking “Would you like to be marked as male or female?” may seem positive. “But some people may find that non-inclusive,” Odunukwe said. “They also can find it triggering if they're still coming to terms with their journey. Again, co-creation is really important.”