Three Ways CEOs Can Foster D&I for LGBTQ+ Executives
Chief Executive published a bylined article, "Three Ways CEOs Can Foster D&I for LGBTQ+ Executives," authored by Russell Reynolds Associates Consultants Noble Stafford and T.R. Straub. The article is excerpted below.
Research increasingly shows that creating inclusive work environments is not just the right thing to do, it is core to better business performance. Russell Reynolds Associates’ second annual Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Pulse survey asked more than 1,800 executives worldwide about their perceptions of their organizations’ cultures and commitment to D&I as well as specific feedback on their leaders’ styles. We learned that when top leaders demonstrated inclusive behaviors, 90% of executives felt they had a positive working relationship with that leader and wanted to remain in their jobs.
This reality can present a challenge for CEOs when it comes to supporting LGBTQ+ leaders. For one, membership status in the LGBTQ+ community is often invisible: a recent Human Rights Campaign survey found that 46% of people who consider themselves LGBTQ+ do not share this part of their identities at work. Even when it is visible, CEOs may not know exactly how to demonstrate the inclusive behaviors that affirm or encourage LGBTQ+ team members.
Based on data from more than 700 executives in the US and Canada, RRA compared the D&I Pulse responses specifically related to the perceptions and experiences in the workplace of the 8% (55 executives) who identified as LGBTQ+ to those of other executives.
The majority of LGBTQ+ executives believe their organizations want to be inclusive. Compared to 64% of their non-LGBTQ+ colleagues, nearly 80% report their organizations include sexual orientation and gender identity in their organizations’ D&I strategies. However, relatively few feel their organizations succeed at this goal. Just 38% believe their organizations effectively foster an inclusive culture, compared with 52% of non-LGBTQ+ executives who believe this to be true. Similar gaps exist when it comes to attracting and developing diverse talent. Perhaps not surprisingly, 45% report that diverse talent has left their organization due to a lack of inclusion or engagement.
For CEOs, getting this right is not just about optimizing leadership team dynamics, it is also about signaling their commitment to an inclusive culture throughout the organization.
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