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The workforce in today’s society is extremely diverse with each employee having a wide variety of personal characteristics including ethnicity, national origin, race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity. Having a diverse group of employees can cause the business to improve the bottom line by lowering costs and increasing revenues. Employers are now taking into consideration the economic benefits of creating supportive policies for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning community. These policies include gender identity and sexual orientation nondiscrimination policies and added benefits for domestic partners and same sex married couples.

In order to have a successful business, the company must have productive and highly motivated employees. Companies with supportive workplace climates and policies have been linked to improved employee relationships, increased job commitment, improved overall job satisfaction, increased employee productivity and improved overall health for LGBTQ employees. Additionally, it has been linked to lower discrimination among all employees and LGBTQ openness.

In more recent times, there has been pressure from some policymakers, unions and LGBTQ employees that pushed many employers to end practices that discriminate against LGBTQ workers. When a business voluntarily enacts benefits for domestic partners, gender identity and sexual orientation policies enforcing nondiscrimination, transition-related health benefits and other LGBTQ benefits, it is not only the fair thing to do and socially responsible, it is also a good business decision.

The adoption of LGBT-friendly policies has been highly successful. Corporations are rapidly adopting policies that support their LGBTQ employees. These companies are not only including sexual orientation nondiscrimination policies but they are increasingly seeing the importance of including gender identity issues in their policies. For example, in 1999, approximately 72% of the Fortune 500 companies had policies in place to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation but there were only a few companies that had policies relating to gender identity. Ten years later, in 2009, approximately 87% of these companies include sexual orientation policies and 41% now included nondiscrimination policies for gender identity. During the same period, the amount of Fortune 500 companies offering benefits for domestic partners increased from approximately 14% to a little more than 59%.

LGBTQ Diversity Enhancing Policies Equal Business Benefits

When an employer encourages business diversity by adopting LGBTQ supportive policies, there are many great benefits that will have a positive impact on the company’s bottom-line. One of these valuable benefits is improved employee recruitment and talented employee retention. When a workforce is diverse with a wide variety of employee experiences and characteristics more innovations and new ideas are generated. Additionally, overall productivity will be increased for all employees not just the LGBTQ employees. When a company responds favorable to employee or union requests, the employee relations and morale is boosted throughout the workforce. These LGBTQ supportive policies will also aid in the attraction of a more diverse customer base.

These diversity-enhancing policies have extremely beneficial effects that could improve the company’s profits by lowering costs and increasing revenue.

  • The overall improved health of the employees in an accepting and diverse work climate will result in a lower cost for health insurance.
  • Less discrimination in the workplace result in reduced legal expenses from discrimination issues.
  • There are some public sector entities that require the company they hire to have nondiscrimination policies in place or offer benefits to domestic partners. Therefore, a business will have more access to new clients or customers if they enact diversity enhancing policies.
  • Many individual consumers are seeking to only do business with companies that are socially responsible so these policies will create more business and more profits.
  • The recruitment of employees will be more effective because employees are looking to work for companies that place a high value on workplace diversity.
  • Overall creativity will be increased in a diverse atmosphere leading to more innovations and new ideas.
  • Demand for company stock will be increased when it is known that the company will be experiencing the benefits associated with diversity policies.

Effects On The Employees

There are many beneficial effects that will be noticed by the employees immediately including reduced discrimination. When there is a nondiscrimination policy in effect, LGBTQ employees are less likely to experience discrimination for their gender identity or sexual orientation. In addition, companies that have benefits available for domestic partners have a reduced amount of discrimination in the workplace.  Other factors that reduce discrimination include state or county legislation that prohibits sexual orientation discrimination. Company level nondiscrimination policies have more impact on reduced LGBTQ discrimination then state level legislation.

Another benefit comes from increased gender identity and sexual orientation openness in the workplace. When there are LGBTQ supportive policies in place, there is a climate that is created allowing employees to feel comfortable not to hide their gender identity and sexual orientation. An employee that is Lesbian or Gay is more likely to disclose his or her sexual orientation if the employer has benefits for domestic partners or has a nondiscrimination policy for LGBTQ. When an employee perceives that they are working in a LGBTQ supportive workplace climate, they are more likely to be open about their gender identity and sexual orientation. The workplace climate is usually measured by employers’ actions, views, nondiscrimination policies and benefits for domestic partners.

Employees that are working in companies with policies that support LGBTq workplace issues are found to be psychologically healthier than those employees that are working in companies without these policies. These employees have a reduced chance of feeling depressed, distracted and exhausted. LGBTQ people that perceive their employer as supportive are psychologically healthier because they experience lower job related stress. In addition, people that are open about their sexual orientation or gender identity are psychologically and physically healthier than employees that conceal their sexual orientation or gender identity. Employees that are out in their work environment are linked to higher self-esteem and reduced anxiety.

LGBTQ employees that work in a company with supportive policies in place normally have increased overall job satisfaction. Employees that worked with these policies in effect are more likely to have attitudes that are positive about their employment than those in unsupported environments. Relationships with supervisors and coworkers are improved when the company has adopted supportive policies. LGBTQ employees have a greater tendency to be both altruistically and socially engaged while at work when they are covered by a nondiscrimination policy.