The LGBT community has made significant progress in the fight for equal rights – and businesses can and should lead the way in continuing diversity and acceptance. This was the focus of The Economist’s Pride & Prejudice event, which I attended last week. The event gathered more than 200 influential leaders from business, politics and society to address LGBT business issues and drive the debate forward.
I was privileged to participate on “The Business Case for LGBT Diversity & Inclusion” panel, where my influential co-panelists and I discussed how inclusion can directly improve a company’s bottom line.
As an active leader on LGBT issues, I was enthusiastic to share my views. I am also passionate about advocating for a more inclusive workplace, and that passion supports my career. And I’m proud to work for ADP, a company that cares about advancing LGBT inclusion. For the past seven years, the Human Rights Campaign has awarded ADP a perfect score on its HRC Equality Index. Half of ADP’s PRIDE Business Resource Group members are not LGBT – they are LGBT allies, signaling growing support for LGBT inclusion from the broad ADP network.
But, according to a recent Economist survey, not all companies are as inclusive, with just 36 percent of respondents reporting strong progress on sexual orientation and gender identity diversity within their companies over the past five years. At the same time, four in five respondents said they were comfortable working with LGBT individuals. So how can businesses lead the way in promoting further progress for LGBT employees? And what is the impact of the LGBT movement on the business world?
As we discussed during Pride & Prejudice, businesses have an opportunity to lead the way toward LGBT inclusion. During the conference, we discussed some key next steps the business community can take, including:
- Employee measurement: Businesses must hold themselves accountable by providing safe and accurate ways to measure their LGBT populations.
- Mentorship programs: While senior leaders may feel confident in the workplace, an entry-level employee might still be uncomfortable identifying as LGBT. Corporate mentorship programs can build connections between LGBT employees and ensure everyone feels at ease.
- Digital disruption: Companies can use their technology and social media platforms to share their support for LGBT inclusion, reaching new audiences, including potential new clients, and to shift overall public opinion.
ADP is constantly looking to develop solutions and training that will help companies understand and advance LGBT inclusion. As the leader in human capital management, with a strong focus on diversity, ADP is uniquely positioned to increase awareness of LGBT issues in the business community. I encourage you to join the conversation. Follow #EconPride on Twitter for more.