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August 24, 2018
Creating a culture of equality for LGBT employees
By: Paul D. Johnson

As both a researcher and action-oriented member of the LGBT community, I am acutely aware of the lack of data on LGBT employees in the workplace. There are several reasons for this, such as the way segments of the LGBT population are defined and variations in methods from one survey to the next. Most important, however, is LGBT employees’ fear of retaliation if they openly identify as LGBT—a reasonable concern given the lack of protections worldwide against discrimination because of sexual orientation.

One thing that we can now show empirically is the importance of an inclusive culture to progress for LGBT employees. In “When She Rises, We All Rise,” Accenture Research showed that in more inclusive company cultures, women are more likely to thrive and to advance at work. Further analysis of the data reveals how workplace culture matters for LGBT workers as well.

This June Accenture celebrated LGBT Pride Month throughout the world

More than 1,500 women and men from 31 countries who self-identify as LGBT participated in the survey. By identifying 40 workplace factors that create a culture of equality—including the 14 cultural drivers that matter the most—we’re able to understand the impact that certain workplace characteristics have on the experience of LGBT employees worldwide.

Within organizations that promote a culture of equality, LGBT employees:

  • Are twice as likely to work for organizations that have announced goals to increase diversity and more than three times as likely to believe their organization has made great progress in doing so;

  • Are more than one and half times more likely to advance to manager or above, and three times more likely to advance to senior manager or above;

  • Are three times more satisfied with their career progression and almost one and a half times more likely to aspire to be/are in a senior leadership position.

In contrast, in organizations where these factors are less common, LGBT professionals:

  • Are twice as likely to face discrimination and/or harassment

  • Have been asked to change their appearance or know a colleague that has—more than half

On a personal note, I am constantly impressed with Accenture’s commitment to the belief that no one should be discriminated against because of their age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, religion or sexual orientation.

This unwavering commitment to the principle that every employee belongs is fundamental to our culture and core values.

Quite often, meaningful progress toward LGBT workplace equality requires innovative ways of working. These can include:

  • Setting clear diversity targets

  • Enabling the freedom to be creative

  • Providing flexible hours

  • Offering skills training

  • Not asking employees to change appearance to conform


To learn more about the drivers of a workplace culture in which everyone can thrive and advance, check out the full set of results: https://www.accenture.com/us-en/company-lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender

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