When I was asked to reflect on the organizational benefits of ensuring an empathetic workplace from an LGBTQ+ inclusion perspective, I could not help myself but think of it from a broader DEIB standpoint. I believe that embracing LGBTQ+ inclusion not only benefits the individuals directly involved but also promotes a culture of openness and respect that benefits all minority groups and society in general.
I cannot overstate how crucial it is to foster environments, the workplace being one of them, that value diversity, understanding, and respect. What I have witnessed throughout my life is that LGBTQ+ inclusion is vital in the workplace for the creation of a safe and supportive environment for all employees. Embracing diversity and actively promoting equality and belonging empower individuals to be their authentic selves without fear of discrimination or prejudice.
Many positive outcomes can be linked to such a corporate commitment: (i) employees who feel welcomed and respected are more engaged and tend to have higher productivity; (ii) inclusive workplaces can attract a broader range of talented individuals from diverse backgrounds; (iii) valuing and embracing diversity (LGBTQ+ and all other forms of it) demonstrates a nurturing and accepting workplace culture, which helps attract and retain employees, resulting in a stronger and more cohesive workforce; (iv) a diverse organization brings together individuals with unique perspectives, experiences, and ideas, which can lead to more innovative solutions and approaches; (v) inclusive environments encourage employees to share their thoughts openly, fostering collaboration and creativity.
Moreover, minority groups often face unique challenges and barriers which can give them a different outlook on various aspects of business. By providing a platform for these perspectives to be heard and valued, organizations can access a wealth of untapped talent and unleash the full potential of their workforce. Lastly, it is evident that organizations that prioritize LGBTQ+ inclusion not only gain the trust and respect of their employees but also enhance their reputation among customers and clients. By actively promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion, organizations position themselves as advocates for equality and fairness, which undoubtfully improve their brand image and customer loyalty.
These benefits, however, entail sustaining a commitment to inclusivity and allyship beyond celebratory dates, such as Pride Month, placing it as an integral part of the company’s culture, guiding decision-making processes, policies, and practices. By formalizing the commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion, organizations send a clear message that inclusivity is not limited to a specific timeframe but a fundamental aspect of their operations.
It requires ongoing effort, dedication, and a genuine desire for change. By embedding inclusivity in organizational values, providing education and training, establishing employee resource groups, reviewing policies, fostering inclusive leadership, engaging in community support, and seeking feedback, organizations like Arcadis and Lovinklaan ensure that their commitment to DEIB is not an initiative or program, but an everlasting attitude, something to be legitimately proud of.