Business execs must get serious about LGBTQ+ inclusion


The Hill | July 22, 2018

The Hill published a bylined article, “Business execs must get serious about LGBTQ+ inclusion,” authored by Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Tina Shah Paikeday. The article lays out five steps to fostering inclusive environments, including communication around D&I and accountability for D&I goals. The article is excerpted below.

Today’s leaders recognize that creating an inclusive environment for all employees is critical to making an organization relevant and resilient. In a recent Russell Reynolds Associates survey of 1,857 executives around the world and across industries, more than three-quarters agreed that diversity and inclusion (D&I) is critical to the success of their organizations.

However, a further analysis of U.S. and Canadian data revealed that the experiences and perceptions of LGBTQ+ executives in the workplace differ significantly from those of their straight counterparts. This is particularly true when we look at perceptions of how inclusive leaders are perceived to be.

This pattern is similar to what we see when comparing the responses of other minority groups with majority groups, such as women vs. men. We combine data from our study with our insights from the market to share some advice for leaders who want to be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ talent.

Leaders can take five steps to foster an inclusive environment:

1. Consistently communicate the importance of D&I to the organization. LGBTQ+ executives are 28-percent less likely than their straight counterparts to see their leaders doing this, making this the No. 1 area of opportunity.

Inclusive leaders make a visible commitment to D&I and take every opportunity to communicate its importance, both internally and externally. Platforms like town halls and leadership update meetings, along with events like Pride Month and internal affinity group meetings are great opportunities to voice supportive messages and create authentic dialogue.

2. Make D&I an organization level, rather than HR-level, priority. Inclusive leaders recognize that D&I makes business sense, so tend to treat it as such. However, LGBTQ+ executives are 25-percent less likely than their straight counterparts to agree that their leaders truly treat D&I as a corporate priority by reporting numbers, creating appropriate key performance indicators and measuring progress.

Treating D&I as a corporate priority also means being able to see that hiring and retaining diverse talent further enables commercial prioritizes, such as innovation or expansion into new markets.

3. Hold yourself and others accountable to meeting D&I goals. Related to treating D&I as a business priority, inclusive leaders not only set and communicate D&I goals but also hold themselves and others accountable to meeting those goals.

Some use scorecards and dashboards, while others may tie compensation to D&I metrics. Given that LGBTQ+ executives are 23-percent less likely than their straight counterparts to see their leaders doing this, such systems of accountability may be just what leaders need to establish.

To read the full article, click here.

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Business execs must get serious about LGBTQ+ inclusion