Many organizations are prioritizing LGBT+ inclusion, creating an overall positive impact in the workplace, according to nearly 80% of respondents in the latest Deloitte report, “LGBT+ Inclusion @ Work: A Global Outlook”, released recently.
The research reveals that more than 70% of LGBT+ employees are more inclined to stay with their current employer because of its approach to LGBT+ inclusion and many cited visible allyship and the availability of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) as key enablers of an inclusive culture. Yet despite these efforts, 42% of all respondents reported experiencing non-inclusive behaviors at work.
Surveying 600 respondents from organizations across 12 geographies and a range of sectors, the research provides a snapshot of the lived experiences of LGBT+ employees (defined as those who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and more) to understand their daily realities, what organizations are getting right, and what can be improved.
“It is clear that employers are taking steps to incorporate LGBT+ inclusion into their DE&I strategies, and that this is regarded positively by their LGBT+ employees,” says Emma Codd, Deloitte Global Inclusion Leader.
“However, it is also clear that there is much more for these organizations to do to fully embed LGBT+ inclusion into their everyday culture. Organizations need to go beyond programs to embed a truly respectful culture where non-inclusive behaviors are not tolerated and everyone feels able to be out at work.”
Organizations have introduced a range of actions that employees view as having led to meaningful support
Many organizations are focusing on LGBT+ inclusion within their Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) strategies, with around 80% of respondents reporting that their employers have introduced LGBT+ inclusion actions and initiatives and 95% of those believing that this has led to meaningful support for LGBT+ employees across their respective organizations.
According to respondents, actions taken by organizations vary – nearly 40% say their company leaders speak openly about LGBT+ inclusion within the organization, a third say their organizations have LGBT+ allyship programs, and nearly a third (31%) say their employers discuss LGBT+ inclusion at external forums such as business events.
Almost all (93%) of respondents who work for global organizations also believe that organization-level communications and actions around LGBT+ inclusion are translating into meaningful support in their home countries.
Despite supportive actions from employers, non-inclusive behaviors persist at work
Despite the positive steps organizations are taking to support their LGBT+ employees, 42% of survey respondents reported experiencing non-inclusive behaviors at work. These non-inclusive behaviors included unwanted comments of a sexual nature (33%), unwanted comments on gender identity (25%), and broader unacceptable behavior.
Furthermore, these behaviors are experienced in both office and remote working environments. Nearly half (47%) of those who reported experiencing non-inclusive behaviors said they experienced these in a physical office, while 20% have experienced them in a virtual setting. One-third (33%) experienced such behaviors in both physical and remote environments. Of those who encountered these behaviors, nearly three-quarters reported their experience to their employer, and six in 10 were satisfied with the response.
The rationale as to why respondents didn’t report non-inclusive behaviors was generally similar across all gender identities (for example, when it came to concerns as to the perception of colleagues). Women, however, were more concerned than men that their complaints would not be taken seriously (40% vs. 22%) and that the behavior wasn’t serious enough to report (33% vs. 16%), while men were more concerned than women that the behavior would get worse (38% vs. 17%) if it was reported.
Many still choose not to share their sexual orientation and/or gender identity with the majority of their colleagues
Around one in five respondents are not out to anyone at work about their sexual orientation, while 34% are out only to their closest colleagues. Of the latter respondents, 36% reported that while their immediate team/colleagues made them feel comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation at work, the organization at large did not. From a gender identity perspective, nearly one-quarter (23%) who are out to some of their colleagues are worried that being out to the majority of their colleagues will adversely impact their career.
Of those respondents who are out to the majority of their colleagues, nine in 10 agreed that this is because their workplace culture helps them feel comfortable being out.
“It has been encouraging to see a focus on LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace,” says Michele Parmelee, Deloitte Global Deputy CEO and Chief People and Purpose Officer.
“However, the survey has also shown us that more needs to be done. Looking ahead as companies build future-ready organizations, it will be incumbent upon leaders and colleagues to focus on three critical elements to promote LGBT+ inclusion: enabling employees to feel comfortable being out at work, creating an environment where non-inclusive behavior is not tolerated, and leveraging visible and vocal allyship.”
For more information and to view the full results of Deloitte’s LGBT+ Inclusion @ Work, visit: