With Pride Week underway and Pride month just getting started across the country, we analyzed reports from the business advisory group Out Leadership and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to look at the impact LGBTQ+-inclusive policies have on businesses in the Commonwealth and across the U.S.
Last month a report from the business advisory group Out Leadership found that Massachusetts has the top LGBTQ+-inclusive business climate compared to all 50 states. The results of the report, titled the Out Leadership LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index, were based on 20 different factors relating to economic, legislative, and cultural well-being. States were ranked on each of the 20 criteria on a scale of 1 to 5, and then scores were aggregated. Massachusetts received a score of 90, above both California and New York.
Why is this good news for Boston’s business community?
In 2016, 4.1 percent of the population in the U.S. identified as LGBTQ+: that equates to about 10 million people across the U.S. and 6.3 million members of the workforce. Data from the Out Leadership report found that companies where LGBTQ+ people are supported and uptick in profitability, stock prices and employee satisfaction. Research from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce specifically found that companies who engaged in LGBTQ+- inclusive policies saw their stocks increase by an average of 6.5 percentage points.
According to the U.S. Chamber study, these policies are not only beneficial for workers who identify as LGBTQ+. The study stated that, “employees, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, express greater job satisfaction at companies where LGBTQ+ inclusive practices are in place.” Additionally, workplaces with LGBTQ+-inclusive practices see less incidents of discrimination against LGBTQ+ employees. This means that LGBTQ+ employees in these environments are more likely to be open about their sexual orientation and gender identity.
According to the U.S. Chamber study, “Employees who feel more comfortable being open about their sexual orientation and gender identity demonstrate increased job devotion and satisfaction,” as well as increased productivity and improved health. Having a more productive workforce made up of people who are not only happy at their place of employment, but also feel supported, included, and treated equitably is extremely beneficial for Boston’s economy and vital for retaining talented workers.
What can your company do?
Research shows that employees are more likely to apply, work at, and stay in workplaces that value diversity and inclusion. A survey from Deloitte in 2017 found that 80 percent of all who responded considered inclusion to be an important factor when choosing where to work. In addition, 72 percent said that they would be willing to leave an organization to work for a different one they felt was more inclusive. Ensuring that your company promotes inclusive practices allows your organization to guarantee that it’s able to attract and retain the top possible talent.
But what exactly can your company do? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Success and Growth Through LGBTQ+-Inclusive Culture report offered a few specific pieces of advice for how to implement and extend inclusive practices. Most companies, the report found, include LGBTQ+-inclusive policies within their diversity and inclusion or human resources department. Incorporating community engagement and employee resource groups into this mix can help monitor these practices and ensure that they’re reaching their full potential. Businesses can also create a formal communication process, allowing all employees to get a better understanding of the purpose and mission behind inclusive practices. Finally, the report suggests that companies show their support for the LGBTQ+ community outside of the office by highlighting the needs for LGBTQ+ protections by participating in cultural events, fundraisers or educational programs.
At the Chamber, we are proud to celebrate Pride month and support the LGBTQ+ community all year long. Happy Pride, Boston!