June is national LGBTQ Pride Month, and organizations across the U.S. are showing support through vibrant media campaigns and messages of diversity and inclusion, which is good for the LGBTQ community...and for business. A recent report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation concluded that companies with LGBTQ-inclusive policies have higher employee retention rates and earn more revenue. It also outlined the steps these companies are taking to build an inclusive workplace.
The report, released in partnership with the Gill Foundation, looked at the adoption of LGBTQ-inclusive practices and their outcomes. The research included online surveys, phone interviews, and focus groups with participating companies.
While the report found that companies are increasingly addressing LGBTQ issues, it also found that, in spite of the growing resources available to LGBTQ employees, nearly half choose not to disclose their sexual orientation at work. This is likely because there are no federal laws that protect LGBTQ employees from discrimination and legal protections can vary by state.
And many employees fear the social repercussions of disclosing this information. According to the report, 40% of LGBTQ employees said they have been bullied at work. Another 41% have left a job as a result of feeling bullied.
A 2017 Deloitte study found that 80% of respondents said they look for employers that are inclusive. And, 72% are willing to leave their current job if they find another one that is more inclusive.
Research shows that employees who work in inclusive workplaces report greater job satisfaction, regardless of their sexual orientation; and LGBTQ employees tend to be healthier, more productive and have better relationships with other employees.
The impact on businesses
The business community as a whole is increasingly supportive of LGBTQ-inclusive policies.
In fact, the report found that 91% of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies and 83% include gender identity.
Studies also show that companies that adopt inclusion policies see their stock performance increase by an average of 6.5 percentage points. Plus, these companies are also able to create strong partnerships with community organizations and employee groups. Diverse teams solve problems faster and are more financially successful. This helps them outperform competitors.
How companies are implementing these policies
Given the ongoing legal inconsistencies, it’s up to businesses to foster an inclusive workplace.
Nearly all of the companies that participated in the study have formal non-discrimination policies in place and some implement additional practices, including:
- LGBTQ awareness training
- Inclusive management strategies
- Expanding the definition of paid family leave for all employees
- Same-sex benefits coverage
- Tax equalization
- Reimbursement for fertility treatment
Through implementing inclusive policies, these companies learned the value of investing in relationships with their LGBTQ employees. And company leaders learned that authenticity is key to building an inclusive workplace for all employees.
LGBTQ Workplace Equality Resources
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index
Out & Equal