Gay-Friendly Is Good For Business

March 2, 2012


‘Being gay-friendly is cheap and good for business' says the Economist.

The recent article featured a list of well-known organisations boasting innovative gay-friendly corporate policies (e.g., American Express, Cisco, Dow Chemical. etc.) and highlighted the financial and social impact of an equality-friendly workplace.

Also explored were obstacles faced by employees and employers including the potential loss of talent and business.

According to the Economist, ‘Failing to treat gays equally is very likely to drive them to seek employment elsewhere. Since they are perhaps 5-10% of the global talent pool, bigotry makes a firm less competitive.'

Whether you're a CEO or small business owner, part of the LGBT community or not, this statistic begs several questions:

  • Does your organisation promote an equality-friendly workplace? 
  • Is it synchronous with the corporate culture you sell to clients and shareholders?

If not, chances are you've lost talent and new business.

Solution: Take a page from innovators in the space.

The Human Rights Campaign CEI report, released each fall, provides an in-depth analysis and rating of large U.S. employers and their policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. The 2012 report awarded 190 businesses a 100% score – a massive improvement to the 13 organisations in 2000. These are the organisations worth studying – many of which are Fortune 500 companies. Some on the list may surprise you.

More organisations are exploring ways to promote their corporate culture. Studies show that a happier workplace is a more productive one. An equality-friendly corporate policy can be an invaluable recruitment tool for new hires and new business not to mention boosts morale.

If your clients, distributors or partners are on this list, congratulate them as they are part of a growing group of equality-innovators (it's shocking to think equality is innovative).

Get familiar with your own corporate policy and that of your clients. Explore ways to augment and promote them both internally and externally. This could lead to incremental or new business opportunities. Plus, chances are you'll be helping impact the hundreds – event thousands of staff send a powerful message to competitors and legislators – and rise above the din.