The way the workforce defines diversity has changed in recent years. Both Millennials and Generation Z job seekers desire a diverse workplace that supports gender and race equality. Additionally, job seekers in these generations are asking employers for more support for LGBT employees.
Promoting support for LGBT diversity in the workplace has become increasingly important over the last decade.
Regardless, there are obstacles that LGBT employees face—namely, workplace discrimination and a lack of professional support.
The question remains: How can an employer improve their diversity initiatives for LGBT employees?
Keep reading to learn what LGBT friendly means, the benefits of a diverse environment, and examples of LGBT initiatives.
How to Support LGBT Diversity in the Workplace
What Does ‘LGBT Friendly’ Mean?
You’ve likely heard the term ‘LGBT friendly’ used to describe a company. Nevertheless, you might still ask: what does LGBT friendly mean? How does a company qualify—or not qualify—as LGBT friendly?
There is no set-in-stone list of qualities a company must possess to be LGBT friendly officially. However, numerous programs assess and rate employers based on their diversity policies and support programs.
A prime example is the Corporate Equality Index, which is conducted by the Human Rights Campaign.
The CEI examines three key pillars:
- non-discrimination policies
- equitable benefits for workers
- support of an inclusive culture and social responsibility
Companies that excel in these areas can be considered LGBT friendly due to their active efforts on improving workplace inclusion.
Benefits of LGBT Initiatives in the Workplace
A more inclusive workplace is likely to benefit from its LGBT initiative efforts. Research shows that pro-LGBT company’s stocks outperform competitors.
Additionally, a company that is vocal about its support for LGBT diversity in the workplace is more likely to have a positive brand image. More LGBT consumers will support a pro-LGBT company rather than one that has no support system.
An organization benefits from diverse policies, but so do the individual employees. Many LGBT individuals have to hide their identities in a non-inclusive work environment, causing mental and physical distress.
The effect of offering more forms of support to those employees is almost immediate. Without the stressors of hiding one’s identity and sexuality, an LGBT employee can become happier and more productive.
Examples of LGBT Workplace Initiatives
There are many different ways a company can show its LGBT employees support. While an employer can share a pro-LGBT stance, more can be done to further this support.
An increasingly popular way that employers support their employees is with the implementation of Employee Resource Groups. GoDaddy’s UNITED ERG is a great example of how these groups can work.
UNITED’s mission is to ensure that employees at GoDaddy feel safe to be themselves at work. The group also strives to keep employees informed about LGBT community issues.
Other examples of professional groups include USAA’s LGBT diversity business group, BOLD. In its first year, BOLD’s Phoenix chapter gained 200 members and participated in the Phoenix pride parade.
Discover Your Dream Career at One of Arizona’s Best Companies!
Everyone should feel welcome and comfortable—with their job and in their surrounding work environment.
Companies may have a way to become more welcoming, but this isn’t the case for everyone.
Many companies have dedicated efforts to building sustainable support structures. By supporting LGBT diversity in the workplace, an employer can create a workplace culture that nurtures long-lasting employee relationships.
In need of an employer who encourages diversity at work? Check out some of the best employers for LGBT workers in Arizona!