than half of LGBTQ Canadians still do not feel comfortable
bringing their whole selves to work.
Amidst these challenges, the study revealed some of the most
impactful ways Canadian businesses could create more diverse and
inclusive working environments. Survey respondents identified
actions and activities they felt would most improve workplace diversity
while also indicating whether these were currently offered
by their employer – uncovering some of the biggest opportunities:
■■ Anti-harassment/discrimination policies (only offered by 69
per cent of Canadian businesses)
■■ Diversity and inclusiveness training (only offered by 34 per
cent of Canadian businesses)
■■ Supporting/taking part in Pride celebrations (only offered by
18 per cent of Canadian businesses)
■■ LGBTQ employee support/resource groups (only offered by
17 per cent of Canadian businesses)
■■ Senior leaders supporting LGBTQ causes and events (only
offered by 15 per cent of Canadian businesses)
As leaders look for ways to help their organizations become
more diverse and inclusive for their LGBTQ employees, one of
the most effective actions is to simply start a dialogue.
BETTER FOR BUSINESS
Embracing diversity and inclusiveness isn’t just the right thing to do;
it can also provide a significant competitive advantage. In a world
of increasing competition and customer choice, a diverse and inclusive
environment introduces new perspectives and fuels innovation.
The study showed that Canadians agree: 64 per cent (86 per cent
of LGBTQ respondents) think businesses that support the community
better understand the needs of their customers; 59 per cent
(81 per cent of LGBTQ respondents) think they are more innovative;
and 49 per cent (83 per cent of LGBTQ respondents) are more
likely to purchase products and services from them.
A safe, diverse and inclusive working environment can also
play a big role in attracting, maintaining and motivating top talent.
According to the study, 56 per cent of Canadians (86 per cent
of LGBTQ respondents) are more likely to consider working for
businesses that support the LGBTQ community, and Canadians
working in LGBTQ-friendly workplaces are more loyal and engaged
than those who don’t. The study found that 71 per cent of
Canadians working in LGBTQ-friendly workplaces said it would
take a lot to get them to leave their employer, compared to only 43
per cent for those in workplaces that aren’t inclusive.
From fueling innovation, to better understanding customers, to
driving employee engagement, fostering a diverse and inclusive environment
creates a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Business leaders have a responsibility to champion diversity and
foster a culture of acceptance, appreciation and inclusiveness within
their organizations and this study brings to bear that there’s still
much work to be done. It is critical that everyone – regardless of
gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, culture or abilities
– feels comfortable bringing their whole selves to work and sharing
their personalities and uniqueness with confidence and trust
that they will be respected and valued. n
Peter Green is senior vice-president, Business Solutions West – Sales
at TELUS and global executive sponsor of Spectrum, TELUS’
LGBTQ team member resource group.
THE STUDY ALSO FOUND THAT
57 PER CENT OF LGBTQ CANADIANS
ARE NOT FULLY “OUT” AT WORK.
38 ❚ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL