April 09, 2019


New Research Finds Inclusive Policies Are Most Effective When Paired With External Support For LGBT Employees

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today released “Business Success and Growth through LGBT-Inclusive Culture”–the first report in its “Incorporating Inclusion” initiative, a research and education partnership with the Gill Foundation. The findings reveal that LGBT-inclusive companies attract better talent and decrease employee turnover through internal and external LGBT-inclusive policies.

In a job market where U.S. businesses are facing the highest employee turnover rate in 17 years, as well as increased competition for workers with the necessary skills and qualifications to meet job requirements, the Chamber Foundation’s report provides companies a roadmap to overcome these negative trends through the creation or expansion of LGBT-inclusive workplace policies and programs.

Research has long shown the market benefits of LGBT inclusivity, with companies who implement inclusive policies seeing stock prices increase by an average 6.5 percent compared to industry peers. However, this new research goes a step further by providing some of the first data demonstrating the positive impact inclusive policies have on other critical business benchmarks, including employee retention, engagement, and overall satisfaction.

“We have long understood that inclusive policies can improve a company’s bottom line, but it has been difficult to measure how they impact corporate culture and overall employee satisfaction,” said Carolyn Cawley, President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “Through in-depth surveys, interviews, and focus groups with 70 of the leading businesses from across the country, we can now see how critical indicators of success, like employee retention and recruitment, are positively impacted by an inclusive corporate culture that extends into the broader community as well.”

Beyond outlining the impact of these policies, the report provides details about the approach companies across the country are taking to create inclusive-friendly cultures. This includes best practices from several LGBT-inclusive programs at companies like IBM, AT&T, and Booz Allen Hamilton. These case studies provide insight and recommendations to businesses that want to establish inclusive policies but lack either the knowledge or resources to structure them.

"The Chamber Foundation’s new report adds to the growing body of literature around the corporate benefits of proactive and authentic inclusivity so companies can leverage the full potential of their employees and their organization. This commitment shows the business community is driven by more than simply increasing profits,” said Hugh Welsh, General Counsel, Secretary & President DSM North America, and a participant in the research. “The desire to implement programs that ensure all of our employees feel safe and secure in the workplace is simply the right thing to do.”

Yet, even as many companies strive to build inclusive cultures, LGBT employees lack legal protections in more than half of all U.S. states, where laws do not explicitly prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In these areas, being out as an LGBT person can be grounds for dismissal. As a result, nearly one-half of all LGBT Americans remain closeted in the workplace, even if their employers prohibit discrimination in their workplace policies.

“Business leaders have been on the frontline of the fight for equality for LGBT Americans,” said Brad Clark, CEO and President of the Gill Foundation. “The Gill Foundation is proud to partner with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to raise awareness about the lack of workplace protections for LGBT Americans in more than half the country, and to spotlight the companies that recognize treating LGBT employees and customers equally is good for business and for our country.” The full report can be found here. On Wednesday, April 10, the Chamber Foundation will host a webinar highlighting the report’s key findings. Learn more here.

About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.

About the Gill FoundationThe Gill Foundation is one of the nation’s leading funders of efforts to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The foundation makes tax-deductible grants to nonprofit organizations that advance equality by doing research, educating people, developing model policy recommendations, and working within the legal system. The Gill Foundation focuses on securing change to administrative policies at the state level, and actively pursues collaboration with other philanthropists and funders.

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