Beyond Pride Month: 5 Company Programs to Support LGBTQ

min read

The calendars have been flipped to July, and the rainbow-flag logos across corporate social media have been taken down. The signals being sent to the LGBTQ community seem to be that Pride is marketable. Thus, the next question on everyone’s minds – how can a company build on this momentum of outward support for the LGBTQ community and make positive, concrete next steps towards greater LGBTQ diversity in the workplace?  From inclusive company policy to diverse recruiting, here are 5 ways that every company can better support their LGBTQ employees in the workplace.

Empower the LGBTQ Employee Resource Group, and Give Them a Voice

While many companies have an employee resource group (ERG) that organizes a Pride float and gives a presentation during the onboarding process, ERGs are often utilized too little to make actual change. According to a 2018 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study, some of the highest priority D&I initiatives for LGBTQ employees are highly underestimated by their colleagues; many of which will be highlighted in this very article. The LGBTQ ERG can act as a task force of sorts, both advocating for the needs that those outside the community may not be aware of, while getting the ball rolling on these same issues. This can be done by setting clearly defined goals, giving the employee resource group access to a budget, and allowing representatives of the LGBTQ workforce a place at the decision-making table.

Update the Company to Reflect LGBTQ Diversity in the Workplace

Although coming out is a personal decision, a supportive work environment is essential for those who want to live their most authentic life. According to a 2016 report from The Economist, half of surveyed LGBTQ workers reported “corporate culture/values” as a reason for not being out in the workplace. A launching point for creating a more inclusive corporate culture is a strong LGBTQ anti-discrimination policy. Without one, there is no weight behind promoting LGBTQ diversity in the workplace. Next steps are employee benefits, such as healthcare and parental leave, to trans* employees and LGBTQ couples, as well as a non-binary gender classification on company forms and gender-neutral restrooms.

Tap Into A Growing LGBTQ Talent Pool

As society comes to increasingly embrace the LGBTQ community, the unique perspectives and abilities these workers bring when they can be their authentic selves is becoming more and more apparent. In a Forbes global survey of D&I program executives, only 39 percent of companies include sexual orientation as a part of the their diversity and inclusion efforts (as compared to 81 percent for gender, 77 percent for ethnicity/national origin and 70 percent for race/color). With talent management and diverse recruiting high on the HR priority list, the LGBTQ community remains a largely untapped resource for corporations will to put in a little extra effort. Simple first steps in this area include gender neutral language in job postings, posting on LGBTQ-specific job sites, and asking for referrals and testimony from those currently engaged in the employee resource group.

Go Beyond Sensitivity Trainings to Create a Team of Allies

It is no secret that LGBTQ employee retention in the face of ever-present workplace discrimination is a big issue. The ProutAtWork study “Out at the Office?!” shows the number of LGBTQ employees who are out to only few or no colleagues has dropped by over 20 percent in the last decade, yet the reported instances of discrimination have hardly changed. And according to the Human Rights Campaign’s study of the LGBTQ experience in the workplace, 1 in 5 have searched for a different job and 1 in 10 have left a company due to an unfriendly environment for LGBTQ people. A mandatory sensitivity training during the onboarding process is a good start, but not proving to be enough, as a top priority across the LGBTQ community is simply to have a bias- and discrimination-free day-to-day workplace experience. This is where the implementation of regular, formal LGBTQ trainings for employees at all levels can really help to shape an LGBTQ-inclusive workplace.

Promote LGBTQ Career Development Through Mentoring Programs

The obstacles to diversity and inclusion are quite present for many LGBTQ employees. When LGBTQ respondents were asked (in the previously mentioned BCG survey) where they see the biggest workplace challenges, a feeling of being left behind was clear- from obstacles in recruitment and leadership commitment (37%) to retention and advancement (35% and 33%, respectively). Although 96% of companies have a diversity program in some form, only 21-28% of LGBTQ workers feel they have personally benefited from these efforts. Our solution: mentoring. Mentoring can not only help pass on leadership and career skills to a company’s new generations, but also allow LGBTQ employees and allies to be directly engaged in the conversation about inclusivity and diversity in the workplace.

Though it presents a new challenge for those in Human Resources and the Diversity and Inclusion field, tackling the present issues for LGBTQ employees is an investment in a company’s future that will pay off exponentially in the form of innovation, higher employee retention and increased customer appeal. Interested in the development of our LGBTQ mentoring content? Contact us

Back to Overview


Start using Volunteer Vision

The future of online mentoring has begun! Schedule a call with us to find out how
your organization can benefit from online mentoring.
 Schedule a Call


Watch the demo video to get an insight into the key features of our mentoring platform.
Volunteer Vision logo.
By pressing the approving button I voluntarily give my consent to set or activate cookies and external connections. I know their functions because they are described in the Privacy Policy or explained in more detail in documents or external links implemented there. By pressing this button, I also voluntarily give my explicit consent pursuant to Article 49 (1) (1) (a) GDPR for personalized advertising and for other data transfers to third countries to the and by the companies mentioned in the Privacy Policy and purposes, in particular for such transfers to third countries for which an adequacy decision of the EU is absent and that involve significant risks and no appropriate safeguards for the protection of my personal data (e.g. because of Section 702 FISA, Executive Order EO12333 and the CloudAct in the USA). When giving my voluntary and explicit consent, I was aware that an adequate level of data protection may not exist in third countries and that my data subjects rights may not be enforceable. I have the right to withdraw my data protection consent at any time with effect for the future, by changing my cookie preferences or deleting my cookies. The withdrawal of consent shall not affect the lawfulness of processing based on consent before its withdrawal. With a single action (pressing the approving button), several consents are granted. These are consents under EU data protection law as well as those under CCPA/CPRA, ePrivacy and telemedia law, and other international legislation, that are, among other things, necessary for storing and reading out information and are required as a legal basis for planned further processing of the data read out. I am aware that I can refuse my consent by clicking on the other button or, if necessary, make individual settings. With my action I also confirm that I have read and taken note of the Privacy Policy and the Transparency Document.