Companies have been eager to embrace LGBTQ+ causes long before the US Supreme Court’s June 2020 ruling to protect LGBTQ+ employees from workplace discrimination. In 2017, 91% of Fortune 500 companies had introduced non-discrimination policies. The reasons for this are clear, and LGBTQ+ friendly workplaces enhance customer loyalty, drive employee engagement and retention, and positively impact recruitment marketing.
Nevertheless, more work is necessary to turn LGBTQ friendly strategies into action and become a workplace inclusive for all employees to bring their whole self to work. Here are five companies in America’s Most Loved Workplaces® that are doing a lot to advance the cause of LGBTQ+ groups and how they are doing it.
Toy and game manufacturer Hasbro has recently been in the news for rebranding its signature product ‘Mr. Potato Head’ to ‘Potato Head’ offers a lot more to LGBTQ+ communities than this. Hasbro’s ERG, ‘PRIDE’ organizes case studies and talks with LGBTQ+ figureheads and training and development opportunities for LGBTQ+ employees. In celebration of Pride Month, Hasbro, in conjunction with PRIDE, sold customized Hasbro Pride apparel to support Rhode Island Pride and generated proceeds for LGBTQ+ charities. The company also extends family benefits to domestic partners and other unique family situations.
Technology corporation IBM ensures LGBTQ+ interventions are led from the top and split to impact every region the company operates. IBM has developed long-lasting partnerships with organizations like Stonewall in Europe, GN Network LA in Latin America, Japan Work with Pride, and Colorful Workplaces in Africa.
Through its ‘Be Equal’ diversity platform, IBM has set up ERGs to create real change, such as inviting clients to allyship training workshops. Recently, IBM apologized for the firing of transgender computer pioneer Lynn Conway in 1968, which increased admiration of its LGBTQ+ efforts amongst current employees.
Ratings agency Moody’s LGBTQ+ interventions are driven from the top, with ERG groups given executive sponsorship and supported by a separate executive diversity council. There is also a supplier diversity program driving partnerships with LGBTQ+-owned businesses.
They provide an impressive array of accessible and inclusive benefits. Recently, the company enhanced its Adoption Assistance Program and introduced a new Surrogacy Assistance Programme. There are also associated benefits for domestic partners.
Verizon is recognized as an early adopter for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI&B) interventions, having long-established partnerships with various LGBTQ+ support groups such as Out and Equal and the Human Rights Campaign. The company was also one of the first to offer benefits to same-sex couples.
The media group’s LGBTQ+ ERG, GLOBE, offers regular anti-bias training and launched #Connected by Pride’ in 2018, supporting PFLAG National. Verizon is also known for turning support into action, donating money to these causes, supporting LGBTQ+ families, and preventing homelessness amongst LGBTQ+ young people.
Take LGBTQ+ Friendly Practices to the Next Level
Most, if not all companies have structured and well-intentioned LGBTQ+ policies and processes that raise awareness and catalyze change. These four companies strive for actual results in improving the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals inside and outside of the workplace.
All companies can drive similar change by taking their DEI&B interventions to the next level. The next level can include enlisting the support of C-suite level leaders and LGBTQ+ organizations and empowering ERGs with clear, actionable priorities, and equitable policies and benefits. Doing this will ensure that LGBTQ friendly workplaces move beyond well-intentioned allyship into sustainable and measurable forces for good.
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Louis Carter is the founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute, Most Loved Workplace, and Results-Based Culture. Author of In Great Company, Change Champions Field Guide, and Best Practices in Talent Management, as well as a series of Leadership Development books. He is a trusted strategic advisor and coach to CEOs, CHROs, and leaders of mid-sized to F500 companies – enabling change and steering employer brand development together with highly effective teams, leaders, and organizations as a whole.