Creating a diverse, inclusive and welcoming work environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer employees should be a priority for business leaders. For a long time, diversity and inclusion (D&I) has appeared to be about filling a quota or was simply a facade of lip-service verses understanding the value and impact it has. To reap the many benefits diversity and inclusion needs to be a company/organization mission where each employee understands they are valued and, in return, is held accountable for their contribution to the culture.
Some research facts worth knowing:
- In 2016, nearly two-thirds (65%) of employees felt that respectful treatment of employees was a very important factor in their job satisfaction. (ref. 1)
- Over the past few years increasingly research studies show that when companies of any size focus on diversity and inclusion (D&I) they experience an increase to the business’ bottom line, improve innovation (ref. 2 & 3), productivity (ref. 4 &5), attract and retain quality employees and experience growth.
- According to one recent study, companies with higher diversity in management earned 38% more of their revenues, on average, from innovative products and services in the last three years than companies with lower diversity. (ref. 6)
- Diversity in gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, career path, and industry background are all highly linked to innovation among managers. (ref. 7)
- Teams that include different viewpoints or thinking styles solve problems faster. (ref. 8)
- Employees who feel included report higher levels of innovation and company engagement. (ref. 9)
- In a study on the decision-making behaviors of board directors, “deep-level diversity” (i.e., differences in background, personality, and values) contributed to a higher degree of creativity. (ref. 10)
- Many studies link diversity to indicators of profitability and financial health, including: (ref. 11 & 12)
- Accounting returns
- Cash flow return on investment
- Earnings Per Share
- Share price performance
- Earnings Before Interests and Taxes (EBIT) margins
- Gross and net margins
- Investment performance
- Market performance
- Market value
- Sales growth
- McKinsey & Company’s study of 1,000 companies in 12 countries found that companies in the top 25% when it comes to diversity among executive leadership teams were more likely to outperform on profitability (21%) and value creation (27%). (ref. 13)
- Companies in the top 25% for diversity were more likely to achieve above-average profitability—33% for diverse executive teams and 43% for diverse boards.(ref. 14)
- Companies pay a penalty for a lack of diversity. Companies in the bottom 25% diversity were 29% less likely to experience profitability above the industry average. (ref. 15)
With such benefits to the company, shareholders and employees, over the past few years organizations have become more interested to implement D&I initiatives within their workplaces.
Check out these related articles:
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- LGBT Workplace Equality – 5 Examples to Help Allies Understand
- Company Reviews – Good for Companies and Their LGBTQ Employees
- Is OutBüro a site for disgruntled LGBT current and past employees to just rant and vent?
- LGBT Workers in over half the United States lack full protection
Creating LGBT Diversity at Work
The key to creating LGBT diversity, inclusion and welcoming excellence is teamwork. When you build inclusive small working teams with a diverse range of experience and backgrounds it has been proven to set employees and the organization on a path to success. It fosters employees getting to know one another on a deeper level that aids in overcoming past learned beliefs, stereotypes and prejudices. Strong diversity climates are associated to reduced instances of interpersonal aggression (ref. 16) and discrimination. (ref. 17) This not only benefits the company/organization but also our community and society.
Still today LGBT hiring and promoting discrimination is active. Check out “Study finds LGBT people less likely to be hired, paid less and not promoted” and “Research Finds Females Favor Hiring Gay and Lesbian Job Seekers” for more information.
- Organizations with strong “diversity climates” (i.e., inclusive work cultures characterized by openness toward others and appreciation of individual differences) are likely to have teams with increased job satisfaction and knowledge sharing. (ref. 18)
- Employees report experiencing trust and increased engagement at work when they both feel included and perceive that their employer supports diversity practices, such as recruiting diverse job candidates. (ref. 19)
- Without diverse leaders, women (20%), people of color (24%), and LGBT employees (21%) are less likely to have their ideas endorsed. (ref. 20)
- Moving toward equal levels of gender representation across job levels may reduce occurrences of workplace harassment. (ref. 21)
- Inclusion key to team p
The addition of women to all-male sales teams contributes to improved team performance. However, teams are more likely to reap the benefits of diversity on team performance when inclusion is part of the organizational culture. (ref. 23)
- The more psychologically safe employees feel at work, the more likely they are to feel included in their workgroups. (ref. 24)
With different backgrounds and a wide range of experiences both work-related as well as life experiences the team collectively generates a much wider range problem-solving strategy solutions which can improve business operations, product development and service delivery. This is the reason for the company’s potential of improved economic return. Everyone wins from the company as a whole, the owner/shareholders, employees and customers/clients. Teams are as much as 158% more likely to understand target clients/customers/consumers when they have at least one member who represents their target’s gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or culture. (ref. 25)
Company leadership must focus on D&I in terms of talent acquisition, employee retention (ref. 26 & 27), skill development and engagement. Further, at the same time assisting and enabling our teams fostering inclusion in the workplace. One example would be encouraging employees to form an LGBT employee resource group to foster peer support, mentoring and professional growth. Human Resources and company/organization management may leverage the LGBT employee resource group for insights on how to improve the
As LGBT employees, there can be lots of fear about coming out at work. This hampers risk-taking believing they could be terminated (laid off) for any reason in most states and countries. Great companies of any size create work environments where employees feel safe for being who they are and can openly share their ideas, take calculated risks from the norm to grow innovation.
LGBT Employees Can Double Dip In Diversity
Being LGBT is about the sexuality of the candidate/employee. LGBT people have experiences and backgrounds wider than that and many fit other diversity identities. An LGBT person can be a person of color, disabled, a military veteran and so forth. Therefore having a company concerted effort to recruit quality LGBT candidates can have a multiplying effect on the total diversity makeup of the workforce. For example, a candidate could be a female, lesbian, military veteran and disabled.
1 – Society for Human Resource Management, Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: The Doors of Opportunity Are Open: Executive Summary (2017): p. 2.
2 – Rocío Lorenzo, Nicole Voigt, Karin Schetelig, Annika Zawadzki, Isabell M. Welpe, and Prisca Brosi, The Mix That Matters: Innovation Through Diversity (The Boston Consulting Group, 2017).
3 – Removed
4 – Meghna Sabharwal, “Is Diversity Management Sufficient? Organizational Inclusion to Further Performance,” Public Personnel Management, vol. 43, no. 2 (2014): p. 1-21.
5 – Derek R. Avery, Patrick F. McKay, Scott Tonidandel, Sabrina D. Volpone, and Mark A. Morris, “Is There a Method to the Madness? Examining How Racioethnic Matching Influences Retail Store Productivity,” Personnel Psychology, vol. 65, no. 1 (2012): p. 167-199.
6 – Rocío Lorenzo, Nicole Voigt, Karin Schetelig, Annika Zawadzki, Isabell M. Welpe, and Prisca Brosi, The Mix That Matters: Innovation Through Diversity (The Boston Consulting Group, 2017).
7 – Rocío Lorenzo, Nicole Voigt, Karin Schetelig, Annika Zawadzki, Isabell M. Welpe, and Prisca Brosi, The Mix That Matters: Innovation Through Diversity (The Boston Consulting Group, 2017).
8 – Alison Reynolds and David Lewis, “Teams Solve Problems Faster When They’re More Cognitively Diverse,” Harvard Business Review (March 30, 2017).
9 – Jeanine Prime and Elizabeth R. Salib, Inclusive Leadership: The View From Six Countries (Catalyst, 2014).
10 – Mariateresa Torchia, Andrea Calabrò, and Michèle Morner, “Board of Directors’ Diversity, Creativity, and Cognitive Conflict: The Role of Board Members’ Interaction,” International Studies of Management & Organization, vol. 45, no. 1 (2015): p. 6-24.
11 – Vanessa Fuhrmans, “Companies With Diverse Executive Teams Posted Bigger Profit Margins, Study Shows,” The Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2018.
12 – For a full overview of research on diversity and financial performance, see: Catalyst, Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter: Financial Performance (August 1, 2018).
13 – The authors measured profitability by average EBIT margin and value creation by economic profit (EP) margin. Vivian Hunt, Sara Prince, Sundiatu Dixon-Fryle, and Lareina Yee, Delivering Through Diversity (McKinsey & Company, 2018).
15 – The authors measured profitability by average EBIT margin. Vivian Hunt, Sara Prince, Sundiatu Dixon-Fryle, and Lareina Yee, Delivering Through Diversity (McKinsey & Company, 2018).
16 – Anat Drach-Zahavy and Revital Trogan, “Opposites Attract or Attack? The Moderating Role of Diversity Climate in the Team Diversity-Interpersonal Aggression Relationship,” Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, vol. 18, no. 4 (2013): p. 449-457.
17 – Stephan A. Boehm, David J.G. Dwertmann, Florian Kunze, Björn Michaelis, Kizzy M. Parks, and Daniel P. McDonald, “Expanding Insights on the Diversity Climate-Performance Link: The Role of Workgroup Discrimination and Group Size,” Human Resource Management, vol. 53, no. 3 (2014): p. 379-402.
19 – Stephanie N. Downey, Lisa van der Werff, Kecia M. Thomas, and Victoria C. Plaut, “The Role of Diversity Practices and Inclusion in Promoting Trust and Employee Engagement,” Journal of Applied Social Psychology, vol. 45, no. 1 (2015): p. 35-44.
20 – Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Melinda Marshall, and Laura Sherbin, “How Diversity Can Drive Innovation,” Harvard Business Review (December 2013).
21 – Dana Kabat-Farr and Lilia M. Cortina, “Sex-Based Harassment in Employment: New Insights into Gender and Context,” Law and Human Behavior, vol. 38, no. 1 (2014): p. 58-72; Lindsey Joyce Chamberlain, Martha Crowley, Daniel Tope, and Randy Hodson, “Sexual Harassment in Organizational Context,” Work and Occupations, vol. 35, no. 3 (2008): p. 262-295.
22 – Ream A. Shoreibah, Greg W. Marshall, and Jule B. Gassenheimer, “Toward a Framework for Mixed-Gender Selling Teams and the Impact of Increased Female Presence on Team Performance: Thought Development and Propositions,” Industrial Marketing Management, in press (2017).
23 – Ream A. Shoreibah, Greg W. Marshall, and Jule B. Gassenheimer, “Toward a Framework for Mixed-Gender Selling Teams and the Impact of Increased Female Presence on Team Performance: Thought Development and Propositions,” Industrial Marketing Management, in press (2017).
24 – Sharing innovative solutions at work often comes with the risk of being discredited or damaging reputations. Psychological safety is the ability of team members to feel safe when taking these risks—the team “has their backs.” Psychologically safe team members are more willing to speak up, make mistakes, and trust their colleagues to not undermine their work. Jeanine Prime and Elizabeth R. Salib, The Secret to Inclusion in Australian Workplaces: Psychological Safety (Catalyst, 2015).
25 – Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Melinda Marshall, Laura Sherbin, and Tara Gonsalves, Innovation, Diversity, and Market Growth (Center for Talent Innovation, 2013).
26 – Muhammad Ali, Isabel Metz, and Carol T. Kulik, “Retaining a Diverse Workforce: The Impact of Gender-Focused Human Resource Management,” Human Resource Management Journal, vol. 25, no. 4 (2015): p. 580-599.
27 -Muhammad Ali, Isabel Metz, and Carol T. Kulik, “Retaining a Diverse Workforce: The Impact of Gender-Focused Human Resource Management,” Human Resource Management Journal, vol. 25, no. 4 (2015): p. 580-599.