Posted: 16 Aug. 2022 4 min.

Uniting under the rainbow flag is serious business

Topic: Talent

It is time for Copenhagen Pride, and the city is more colourful than usually with rainbow flags on every corner celebrating diversity and LGBT+ rights. In Deloitte, we take LGBT+ inclusion seriously all year round, but what is the state of LGBT+ inclusion in workplaces around the globe?

Deloitte published a new global survey this June based on data from respondents who identify as LGBT+ in 12 different countries around the world such as the UK, Australia, Germany and France. Despite not having any Danish respondents, I find that the numbers give food for thought.

  • More than 4 out of 10 LGBT+ persons have experienced non-inclusive behaviour at work.
  • One-fifth is not “out” at their job, and 34 per cent are only out to their closest coworkers. 
  • On the positive side, the majority of respondents says that their employer prioritizes LGBT+ inclusion. 
  • Among those who are out, 9 out of 10 say that a safe culture at work has helped them to be open about their sexual orientation/gender identity.
  • The importance of an LGBT+ community at work must not be underestimated: 90% of the respondents who work in an organization with an established LGBT+ community state that this network makes it safe to be out at work.

In Deloitte Denmark, we have an employee LGBT+ community called GLOBE. Apart from organizing Deloitte’s attendance in Copenhagen Pride Parade, the network supports and facilitates a range of inclusion initiatives. GLOBE is involved when internal policies about equality and anti-harassment are made, and the network is heard in relation to the inclusion of LGBT+ employees in off-site events etc. and the design of the physical work environments and bathrooms. They also provide a safe social meeting point for our LGBT+ employees.

We see the GLOBE community as a crucial part of Deloitte’s work with inclusion, and for this reason, GLOBE will hopefully play an even larger role in this financial year and regain its pre-pandemic network power.

Inclusion and diversity go hand in hand

My recommendation to all organizations who celebrate Pride these days – and to those who remain silent, too – is to prioritize inclusion all year round. As a starting point, workplaces and leaders must implement a clear policy for handling harassment and non-inclusive behaviour.

Furthermore, a stronger focus on representing minorities and avoiding unconscious bias are effective tools for inclusion. A network with and for LGBT+ employees is helpful to facilitate a safe and inclusive culture at work. However, the right to feel included, respected, and connected is not something that minorities should fight for themselves. We must be active allies.

A lot of focus these days is on diversity in top management, boards, and positions of power in society at large. I obviously agree that this is important. But diversity in an organization does not necessarily mean that minorities feel included and respected. In my opinion, we have to work with both agendas on our way toward a truly diverse and inclusive workplace. So let’s get serious about making everyone feel safe and respected at work – every day of the year. 

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