The imperative for LGBTQ inclusion

KPMG BLC Senior Advisor Susan Angele offers five questions for boards to ask about the company’s LGBTQ-related policies and practices.

As the Business Roundtable has recently commented, “America’s largest employers know that the economy works best when employees can be who they are, without fear of bias, discrimination, and inequality.”

Susan M. Angele

Susan M. Angele

Senior Advisor, KPMG Board Leadership Center, KPMG US

Todd Sears, a former investment banker and the CEO of Out Leadership, describes the advantage of investment in LGBTQ inclusion as the “Return on Equality”: “The openly LGBTQ population is diverse, and growing. Companies improve their bottom lines through LGBTQ inclusion, as both LGBTQ consumers and straight allies increasingly make purchasing decisions based on a company’s commitment to equality and inclusivity. Additionally, as the LGBTQ community is both invisible and also intersectional by definition, forward-thinking companies that include LGBTQ leaders in their board diversity plans and goals will also see increased representation of women, people of color, and other minorities.”

Boards are increasingly deepening their oversight of issues such as talent, culture, equity, inclusion, and diversity. Given America’s changing demographics and attitudes, as well as the impact LGBTQ-inclusive policies may have on the company’s bottom line, boards should take the opportunity to assess whether the LGBTQ-related policies and practices of the company and the board are oriented toward the future. This article provides boards with a starting point to engage in such discussions, including five key questions to consider:

  1. Is management focusing on nationwide compliance in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision?
  2. Does the company provide a safe and inclusive work environment in all regions in which it operates?
  3. Do company benefits equitably address the needs of LGBTQ employees?
  4. How do the company’s values influence its role in LGBTQ- and diversity-related societal discussions?
  5. Does LGBTQ diversity and inclusion extend to the boardroom?

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The imperative for LGBTQ inclusion
Questions for boards to help assess whether the LGBTQ-related policies and practices are oriented toward the future

This article originally appeared in the National Association of Corporate Directors 2020 report, The Power of Difference

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