With Pride Month in full swing, companies all over the world are temporarily re-coloring logos, launching themed product lines, and broadly advertising their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Despite these highly publicized efforts, a recent study by consultancy Bain & Company has revealed that more than 70% of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) employees do not feel fully included in their workplaces.
Given the variety of perspectives and life experiences encompassed by the term LGBTQ, employers may feel it challenging to understand how to make their workplaces more inclusive and diverse. Bain’s recent study brought forth important—and different—ways in which LGBTQ employees in North America and Europe value DEI efforts by their employers, differentiating by both location and gender.
"Many companies are awakening to the business benefits of welcoming LGBTQ employees, including an ability to attract and retain talent," said Brenen Blair, expert associate partner in Bain & Company's Houston office and a leader in its Organization and DEI practices. "But inclusion is about much more than 'welcoming everyone.' . . . Our research identified some of the most important steps employers can take to build more inclusive work environments for their LGBTQ employees and truly reap the benefits of this diversity."
The report outlines several important steps employers can take to ensure that all queer talent feels valued and included, recommending that companies create a safe environment with appropriate support and benefits that match the unique needs of LGBTQ employees, encourage and cultivate diversity of thought at all levels, create clear pathways to keep talent engaged, and provide true sponsorship that plays to the diverse qualities of their teams.
While companies may un-rainbow their logos and end DEI publicity campaigns at the end of June, the needs of LGBTQ employees must be kept front of mind year-round to ensure a truly inclusive and diverse workplace. Bain’s recent report can serve as a valuable resource for organizations, ensuring that businesses go beyond merely talking about being welcoming and actually integrate a holistic view of inclusivity into their daily operations, creating a workplace where all employees feel safe, welcome, and valued.