WASHINGTON, D.C. — At the start of Pride Month, most small business owners believe it is important to support the LGBTQ+ community and take action to ensure inclusion, according to a new poll released today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife.
More than eight in 10 small business owners (86%) say that it is important to provide an inclusive culture for customers and guests. Two in three (67%) say it is important to make a public statement in support of equality and fairness for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“Employing nearly half of the nation’s workforce, small businesses are essential to fostering inclusive workplaces," said Tom Sullivan, Vice President of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "The poll shows that small businesses care about LGBTQ+ inclusion for their employees, their customers, and their community, but they often lack the bandwidth or expertise to act. That is why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has built an online platform that makes it easier for small business owners to access the information they need to build LGBTQ+ inclusive workplaces."
The poll shows that across several actions that small businesses could take to support the LGBTQ+ community like creating inclusive advertising, having a formal workplace policy prohibiting discrimination based on LGBTQ+ status, and donating to organizations supporting the LGBTQ+ community, most small businesses—in some cases more than three in four—feel taking action is important.
- 84% of small business owners say that having employees from diverse backgrounds makes a company stronger.
- 69% say it is important to take more direct action to help such as doing business with, or investing in, an LGBTQ+ owned business.
- 77% of small business owners say it is important to have a formal workplace policy prohibiting discrimination based on LGBTQ+ status.
- 73% of small business owners say LGBTQ+ owned small businesses face more challenges than non-LGBTQ+ owned businesses.
- 69% say it is a good idea for businesses to publicly share their beliefs on LGBTQ+ rights.
- 72% of small business owners say they are okay with losing customers as a result of supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
"Ensuring employees feel included and supported is essential to building a successful business,” said Cynthia Smith, senior vice president, Regional Business at MetLife. “As one of the backbones of our economy, it is positive to see small business owners’ commitment to inclusion among their employees and customers, as well as their support of publicly sharing their beliefs on LGBTQ+ rights."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s LGBT Inclusion Hub for Small Businesses provides tools, resources, and best practices on inclusion in the workplace, as well as one-on-one expert assistance on how to build LGBT-inclusive programs and policies. A 2021 report by the U.S. Chamber Foundation further explores what small businesses need to foster inclusivity.
About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organization representing companies of all sizes across every sector of the economy. Our members range from the small businesses and local chambers of commerce that line the Main Streets of America to leading industry associations and large corporations.
They all share one thing: They count on the U.S. Chamber to be their voice in Washington, across the country, and around the world. For more than 100 years, we have advocated for pro-business policies that help businesses create jobs and grow our economy.
MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates ("MetLife"), is one of the world's leading financial services companies, providing insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management to help its individual and institutional customers navigate their changing world. Founded in 1868, MetLife has operations in more than 40 markets globally and holds leading positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.