Like lots of LGBTQ+ people, I have experienced situations that have left me feeling hurt, unseen and even unsafe. There was the time when I attended an antenatal course, and the facilitator only talked about birth partners being dads. There was the time that a colleague asked whether my husband was picking up my kids, prompting an awkwardness when I said it was my wife.
There was the frightening time when my wife and I were verbally attacked in a pub on holiday, leaving us both shaken.
As employers, we want to create environments where everyone feels respected, valued and safe from discrimination or harassment but almost one in five LGBTQ+ staff (18 per cent) have been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues in the last year because they’re LGBTQ+ (LGBT in Britain – Work stonewall.org.uk)
As well as difficult experiences, as an LGBTQ+ person, I have also experienced work contexts that have felt empowering, liberating and safe. In these environments, I have been able to bring my whole self and have felt welcome and celebrated. I have no doubt that this impacted on my performance and enabled me to give my best.
Research backs this up and shows by embracing diversity and inclusion (D&I), employers can create an environment where employees can be creative, work together, support one another, and grow.
Let’s look at some of the evidence of the benefits of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I):
- McKinsey 2020 shows that having a diverse team leads to increased creativity, innovation, and problem-solving capabilities
- Forbes data tells us inclusive teams make better business decisions 87% of the time
- Deloitte’s research highlights inclusive leadership can increase team performance by 17% and team collaboration by 29%
- Diversity can help to attract talent with 76% of job seekers reporting that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and their job offers.
It is clear then that D&I are not just the right thing to do but are essential to be a quality, effective organisation. Despite the clear business case, charities still have a long way to go.
For example, looking at race, only 6% of CEOs are from Global Majority groups (ACEVO, 2019) compared to 14% of the overall UK population and 40% in London and other major cities (where most charities are located) (GOV.UK, 2014).
In my next blog on D&I, I will set out some concrete steps not-for-profit organisations can take to truly embed D&I in everything they do.