Engaging LGBTQ Employees, A Competitive Necessity

Happy Pride! June provides a time to honor the lasting and meaningful impact LGBTQ people have shared with the world. In the spirit of pride month, and in alignment with the LGBTQ diversity & inclusion solutions my business offers, this post offers basic guidance for executives, chief diversity officers, and human resource leaders to consider when implementing strategies designed to effectively engage LGBTQ employees. The evidence demonstrates the value of building LGBTQ-supportive workplaces beyond simply celebrating Pride at work. These days, it is an economic necessity for executives to further invest in long-term, integrated, and strategic approaches to more effectively engage LGBTQ employees. By making such investments, businesses will realize the following 7 benefits:

1. Attract Top Talent

Top LGBTQ candidates, like many diversity candidates, are highly discerning when considering job openings that align with their knowledge, skills, and experiences. Specifically, these candidates expect their employers to provide LGBTQ nondiscrimination workplace protections, LGBTQ-specific employee benefits, LGBTQ employee resource groups, and professional development opportunities to advance their careers. Setting your HR staff up for success to answer specific questions LGBTQ candidates may have related to benefits, workplace protections, and advancement within the firm is key to welcoming more top LGBTQ talent. Start by training your HR team, specifically coaching them around the existing LGBTQ policies and benefits provided to employees - if your business does not offer these essentials, consider working with knowledgeable experts to get started. By offering these basics, your business will gain a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting top talent.

2. Retain Top Talent

In order to retain LGBTQ employees, begin investing now to build a more LGBTQ affirming workplace. Proactively transforming existing hiring and onboarding systems will better position your business to immediately engage and support LGBTQ employees. When you intentionally engage LGBTQ employees from the beginning, it is far easier to retain them regardless of their salaries or positions within the organization. Engaged LGBTQ employees will reward your business with their loyalty and commitment to build upon your business’ successes. Offering an executive sponsorship for your business’ LGBTQ employee resource group (ERG) is one key way to ensure engagement and support of LGBTQ employees. Leveraging a firm’s LGBTQ ERG can support everything from recruiting, retention, and marketing products and services to LGBTQ people.

3. Enhance Job Satisfaction

When talented employees are surrounded by other talented colleagues who respect them, they are far more likely to experience a high level of job satisfaction. According to a 2013 report, LGBTQ employees who are not out to their colleagues due to the perceived threat of workplace discrimination are more likely to experience lower productivity levels, higher levels of job dissatisfaction, and higher levels of anxiety and stress resulting in health disparities and work related complaints. Conversely, when executives prioritize and invest in LGBTQ diversity and inclusion solutions, LGBTQ workers are more likely to benefit from improved health, increased job satisfaction, better relationships with colleagues, and a greater commitment to the success of the business.

4. Cultivate Motivated Staff.

Business leaders around the globe understand the value of well-motivated and productive employees, and the importance of a well-managed, diverse workforce. When employees feel valued for their diversity, and their ideas are included in all aspects of the business, they are more likely to experience higher levels of motivation and contribute to the team in meaningful ways. Simply put, the people within a business are the key to its success. Therefore, executives must make the necessary investments to engage LGBTQ employees and inspire them to do their best work.

5. Improve Business Morale

By investing in LGBTQ diversity and inclusion solutions, your business is likely to develop LGBTQ staff who are happier and more productive, resulting in a net gain in workplace morale. High workplace morale improves teambuilding and business relationships resulting in a higher level of security for the firm when experiencing uncertain times. During such times, a team with high morale is more willing to address difficult situations when they arise, work through them, and stick together staying focused on the long-game. Strong team morale reduces stress in the workplace and leads to improved business performance and outcomes.

6. Foster Good Communication

Engaged LGBTQ staff participating on teams with high morale are more likely to use skillful communication to more effectively advance the priorities of the business. They are also more likely to promote the business’ mission, vision, and brand; effectively serving as business ambassadors. More ambassadors that know how to strategically promote the business generate more clients and inspire more prospective talent to consider a career at the firm. On the latter item, LGBTQ employees are especially likely to promote employment opportunities at businesses that value, support, and engage them, and value their individual perspectives. Sharing employment opportunities through LGBTQ specific networks assists in creating new talent pipelines for the business.

7. Maximize Higher Profits

Engaging LGBTQ employees leads to a more committed, productive, and innovative workforce. When employees have the room to innovate, businesses thrive by seizing new opportunities, markets, and profit. As mentioned in a previous post, LGBTQ adults hold nearly $1 trillion in annual combined purchasing power. Accessing this highly coveted market yields a number of competitive advantages, including working with customers and clients that are 25 percent more likely to stick with your business’ brand, even when prices increase. To appeal to this profitable market, businesses must work to have LGBTQ employees present at all levels of the organization, amplify its commitment to engaging LGBTQ staff, and give charitable contributions to LGBTQ related causes. By employing these strategies, businesses are more likely to gain LGBTQ market share, and the coveted brand loyalty and profits that follow it.

Conclusion

Investing in HR systems that empower businesses to attract, retain, and engage top LGBTQ talent is a competitive necessity. Such systems set HR staff up for success, and enable them to effectively attract top LGBTQ talent and support them once they are hired. These systems also help businesses limit productivity inefficiencies, lagging staff morale, and costly lawsuits in jurisdictions that afford strong LGBTQ workplace non-discrimination protections. Solutions that lead to many more benefits like the ones featured in this blog are available through my online resources, and will be shared in an upcoming Q&A webinar I’ll be hosting later this summer exclusively for my newsletter subscribers. To stay connected to my work, and participate in the upcoming webinar, please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter today.

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Rhodes Perry

Rhodes Perry is a nationally recognized expert on LGBTQ and social justice public policy matters, with two decades of leadership experience innovating strategy management, policy and program solutions for corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. At his core, Rhodes is an entrepreneur, where he most recently established Rhodes Perry Consulting, LLC, a national diversity and inclusion consulting firm that uses an intersectional approach to collaborate with leaders on creating solutions in the practice areas of strategy management, issue advocacy, and stakeholder engagement. Previously, Rhodes founded the Office of LGBTQ Policy & Practice at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, and prior to this assignment he served as the founding Director of Policy at PFLAG National where he led the policy strategy and advocacy efforts for the organization’s 350 chapters. He cut his teeth serving as a Program Examiner at the White House Office of Management & Budget, where he improved upon federal benefit programs designed to provide assistance to low-income communities. Rhodes earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Gender Studies from the University of Notre Dame, and obtained a Master of Public Administration from New York University.