The CIPD has recently published new guidance focusing on transgender and non-binary equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the workplace.

The guidance comes on the back of CIPD research which found that 18% of transgender workers felt psychologically unsafe in the workplace. The CIPD aims to support reduction of this figure by providing employers with information on how to support transgender and non-binary workers, including tips on creating effective EDI policies and education on data management issues. The guidance also includes an appendix on key inclusive terminology to support employers with creating an inclusive environment for transgender and non-binary workers.

Entry into an organisation

The first section of the guidance deals with attracting, recruiting and onboarding transgender and non-binary people into the workforce. Some of the key tips at these stages include:

  • checking the image that your workplace is communicating to potential candidates. Positive statements and stories relating to transgender and non-binary applicants may make people more comfortable in applying for a role;
  • ensuring that anyone making selection decisions has high-quality training on marginalised groups. For example, making sure they are highly aware of the anxieties that transgender and non-binary people may have around gender presentation during an interview; and
  • considering limiting gender-related application questions, such as asking for title (e.g. Mr, Mrs or even Ms) or, if necessary, widening the answers available (e.g. options for “Other” or “Prefer not to say”).

Transgender and non-binary data management

A common source of anxiety for transgender and non-binary people is how their data may be stored by their workplace. This could be for a number of reasons, such as their government ID not matching their preferred name due to gender reassignment. The CIPD guidance offers some tips for workplaces relating to data management to address these concerns:

  • do not share details about a transgender or non-binary person’s gender identity or transition without explicit agreement and instruction by the person themselves;
  • have a named person within the workplace who oversees all systems and places where someone’s gender identity may be known or implied; and
  • ensure all personal data is stored appropriately and securely. Hard copy data should be in double sealed envelopes and locked away, whilst soft copy data should be stored on a restricted system.

It is important to remember that gender reassignment is “special category data”, as it may reveal information about a person’s health. The GDPR clarifies that special category data requires additional protection, due to its sensitive nature.

Key terminology

The guidance also helpfully defines some key terms relating to transgender and non-binary inclusion. Some useful definitions for employers to be aware of include:

  • Non-binary: Someone whose gender identity does not fit within a male/female binary.
  • Pronouns: Words which stand in for a name e.g. he/she, or they/them. Many non-binary people choose to live with the pronouns they/them, as they may feel that neither he nor she reflects their lived experience.
  • Transgender: A person whose gender is not the same as the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • Cisgender: A person whose gender identity aligns with their birth sex.


The overriding objective of the CIPD guidance is to ensure that transgender and non-binary employees feel included and empowered to be their best. It serves as a useful tool for employers to assess and improve their policies and practices, and make sure that they are able to attract top talent from diverse backgrounds, and that transgender and non-binary employees can flourish in the workplace. A copy of the guide is available here.