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The level of employee comfort in the workplace directly correlates to employee retention and overall company culture. — Getty Images/Aneese

A report released this week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation concluded that companies with LGBT-inclusive policies have higher employee retention rates and earn more revenue. It also outlined the steps these companies are taking to build an inclusive workplace.

The report, released in partnership with the Gill Foundation, looked at the adoption of LGBT-inclusive practices and their outcomes. The research included online surveys, phone interviews, and focus groups with participating companies.

Employee concerns

While the report found that companies are increasingly addressing LGBT issues, it also found that, in spite of the growing resources available to LGBT employees, nearly half choose not to disclose their sexual orientation at work. This is likely because there are no federal laws that protect LGBT employees from discrimination and legal protections can vary by state.

And many employees fear the social repercussions of disclosing this information. According to the report, 40% of LGBT employees said they have been bullied at work. Another 41% have left a job as a result of feeling bullied.

A 2017 Deloitte study found that 80% of respondents said they look for employers that are inclusive. And, 72% are willing to leave their current job if they find another one that is more inclusive.

Research shows that employees who work in inclusive workplaces report greater job satisfaction, regardless of their sexual orientation; and LGBT employees tend to be healthier, more productive and have better relationships with other employees.

According to the report, 40% of LGBT employees said they have been bullied at work. Another 41% have left a job as a result of feeling bullied.

The impact on businesses

The business community as a whole is increasingly supportive of LGBT-inclusive policies.

In fact, the report found that 91% of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies and 83% include gender identity.

Studies also show that companies that adopt inclusion policies see their stock performance increase by an average of 6.5 percentage points. Plus, these companies are also able to create strong partnerships with community organizations and employee groups. Diverse teams solve problems faster and are more financially successful. This helps them outperform competitors.

How companies are implementing these policies

Given the ongoing legal inconsistencies, it’s up to businesses to foster an inclusive workplace.

Nearly all of the companies that participated in the study have formal non-discrimination policies in place and some implement additional practices, including:

  • LGBT awareness training
  • Inclusive management strategies
  • Expanding the definition of paid family leave for all employees
  • Same-sex benefits coverage
  • Tax equalization
  • Reimbursement for fertility treatment

Through implementing inclusive policies, these companies learned the value of investing in relationships with their LGBT employees. And company leaders learned that authenticity is key to building an inclusive workplace for all employees.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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