Companies have to walk the walk
Companies that understand the importance of inclusion stand out. Not only will they get the best from their employees, but they’ll have a more favorable reputation in the world. Demonstrating they treat people fairly and equally can in turn lead companies to gain and retain clients.
Blanket statements of support of communities and causes aren't enough on their own, though. Employers need to commit to make change within an organization, according to Arthur Woods, a co-founder of Mathison, a hiring platform that helps companies grow a more diverse workforce.
“This has everything to do with companies and managers creating psychological safety to reassure people it won’t hurt their career [to be out] and that they’ll be respected,” says Jennifer Brown, CEO and co-founder of Jennifer Brown Consulting, which works with large for-profit companies on their diversity and inclusion strategies.
Employees may have experienced overt unjust behavior to micro-aggressive comments and questions or passively choosing not to interact with an LGBTQ+ co-worker. As a result, many people elect to keep their sexual orientation to themselves in order to better mesh with co-workers. According to the 2020 New York LGBT Community Center and BCG survey 40% of LGBTQ workers remain closeted at work and, of the 54% who are out at work, they say they remain closeted to their clients.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Woods says. “Do the work. Take steps to cast a wide net in hiring, develop objectives to remove bias in job descriptions, track and report your diversity data publicly. Then communicate to your candidates that these are the actions you’re taking to ensure they’re being treated equally. Companies, with their systems, can treat people differently and with bias if they haven’t taken the steps to minimize or eliminate it.”