Business Success and Growth Through LGBT-Inclusive Culture

April 9, 2019

While there is already research demonstrating the benefits of LGBT-inclusive policies on a company’s employees and its bottom line, the impacts and changes on organizational culture are not as well understood. Additionally, a better understanding of how LGBT-inclusive strategies result in those positive impacts is a key gap to fill to facilitate adoption of these practices among a broader range of companies.

Given the real benefits from successful implementation of LGBT-inclusive workplace practices, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, with support from the Gill Foundation, is examining the motivations and structure surrounding how and why companies adopt LGBT-inclusive practices. By undertaking a review of employers to assess the characteristics of companies engaging in LGBT-inclusive practices, this report shares best practices for implementing inclusive policies and programs and documents the benefits that companies experience when they adopt such actions. 

Findings from this research report, which was informed by 70 corporate respondents to surveys, focus groups, and interviews, quantify and expand upon the following points: 

  • Almost all the companies involved in the research for this report have formal policies for nondiscrimination and equal benefits coverage, but there are additional LGBT-inclusive practices that companies implement. These include LGBT awareness training, inclusive management strategies and metrics, and expanding the definition of family leave to include broader needs of LGBT, and all, employees.
  • Companies embrace LGBT inclusion to attract the best talent. In turn, companies are better able to engage and retain LGBT employees and cultivate strong partnerships with community organizations, external organizations, and employee groups. 
  • Most companies house the management of LGBT-inclusive practices inside their diversity and inclusion or human resource departments. Incorporating government affairs, community engagement, and employee resource groups can increase the success of these practices.
  • To communicate their LGBT-inclusive practices internally and externally, companies need a formal communication process around those practices. This structure accelerates response time and improves their ability to communicate to employees while drastically improving the authenticity of the company’s external LGBT efforts.
  • That authenticity is reinforced by companies supporting the LGBT community outside of their workforce. Companies who engaged in the research shared that support can come publicly, including writing op-eds and articles that highlight the need for state/local LGBT protections; or participating in local activities such as cultural events, fundraisers, and public education efforts that highlight the benefit of LGBT inclusion. It can also come privately, including educating individual policymakers on the positive benefits of LGBT inclusion or making a business decision to avoid a community that will not reconsider anti-LGBT policies.

This report is part of a broader Chamber Foundation and Gill Foundation partnership called Inclusion Incorporated, which includes regional forums and other forms of outreach efforts. The goal of this partnership is to curate materials and resources to strengthen LGBT-inclusive practices throughout the private sector and discuss ways to help businesses sharpen both internal and external LGBT policies and programs.

Access the report here.