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Workplace discrimination is driving LBGTQI+ employees to quit their jobs, but there are all kinds of ways for companies to support them



Pride Month is right around the corner, and it’s the perfect time for employers to take a hard look at how they’re showing up for their LGBTQI+ employees. Amid a new spate of laws targeting the LGBTQ community and recent backlash to corporate Pride campaigns, many queer people are wondering how to handle the prejudice they face in many facets of their lives—including at the office

Around 41% of LGBTQI+ employees say they have been discriminated against at work, according to a new report from Randstad, an HR consulting firm. That has serious consequences, as 29% of queer staffers say that discrimination has forced them to quit their jobs, with another 32% saying that it spurred them to pursue alternate career paths. The report notes that these stats show how non-inclusionary company cultures lead to poor retention of LGBTQI+ talent.  

“Unfortunately these statistics aren’t a surprise, discrimination continues to be a reality for many workers around the world,” Sander van’ t Noordende, CEO of Randstad, tells Fortune

Overall, around 35% of LGBTQI+ workers say their sexuality or gender identity has negatively impacted their career, remuneration, or progression within their organizations. And this lack of mobility, combined with workplace discrimination, can lead to some serious business complications. 

About 36% of LGBTQI+ employees overall say they are less motivated or productive in their jobs because they can’t be themselves, and the same proportion choose to work remotely because their office isn’t an inclusive space. 

“If people don’t feel like they can be their whole selves at work then they begin to lose their motivation, productivity then takes a hit, and it echoes across the entire workforce,” Noordende says. “Businesses need to make sure they’re creating equitable environments where employees feel like they can be their true selves. If this doesn’t exist, it’s not surprising that workers would prefer to work remotely.”

There might be a glimmer of hope, though—queer inclusion in the workplace has slowly been getting better. Two in five LGBTQI+ workers say they face less discrimination now compared to five years ago, and over half say their bosses have taken meaningful steps to create an equitable workplace, according to the report.

To best support LGBTQI+ employees and foster meaningful inclusion initiatives, Noordende says that employers should publicly show their commitment by participating in Pride events, sponsoring queer charities, and cultivating leadership that is representative of their own queer workers. About 58% of LGBTQI+ workers say that it’s employers’ responsibility to foster an inclusive job environment, and 48% value allyship from their bosses now more than ever. Half of these workers also say companies should take a stance on queer issues internally, and follow through with positive changes. 

“Instilling a culture of respect and empathy by educating leaders and employees on LGBTQI+ issues and providing inclusive benefits ensures authentic allyship year-round, helping build trust and openness,” says Noordende.

But there should be an emphasis on improvements being sincere. While 41% of LGBTQI+ employees say their employer engages with Pride Month, 39% consider their efforts to be tokenistic

“There’s been countless examples of when companies have missed the mark,says Noordende, citing a general lack of corporate understanding about the LGBTQI+ community. “Many companies still focus on insincere gestures rather than implementing genuine, year-round support and inclusion initiatives. Engagement needs to be authentic, consistent, rooted in change and implemented from the top down.”

Emma Burleigh

Around the Table

A round-up of the most important HR headlines.

Following public backlash, OpenAI will no longer force former employees to choose between signing a non-disparagement agreement and keeping their vested equity. Bloomberg

A majority of Americans don’t believe a college degree is necessary to get a high paying job, and nearly half find it less important to get top salaried work compared to 20 years ago, according to a new report. Business Insider

Electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid will cut 400 jobs, as the company cuts costs amid a slumping market for battery-powered cars. Bloomberg


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