Walk around a shopping mall during June, and you’ll see products on store shelves and posters in store windows dressed boldly with every color of the rainbow promoting Pride Month—ROYGBV supporting LGBTQ.

Over the last few years, an increasing number of companies are showing their support for the Pride movement. While this also represents a step in the positive, progressive direction for job seekers looking to work for an inclusive employer, organizations must follow through by fostering an inclusive work environment.

To promote a healthy employer brand and show candidates and employees that they are an equal opportunity employer, organizations must prove that their initiatives are financially and socially helping their LGBTQ teammates so they can reach their full potential in the workplace.

LGBTQ Crusade for Inclusion

Employers haven’t always been as accepting of other cultures, genders, and sexual orientations as they are today. There has been a decades-long battle to be inclusive of every background not only from a legal standpoint, but from a societal one too.

In 1948, US President Harry Truman desegregated the armed forces so that discrimination based on race, color, religion, or natural origin was illegal. Sixteen years later, the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took this one step further by outlawing hiring, firing, and promoting individuals based on the same criteria, and added gender discrimination.

During that same time, members of the LGBTQ community faced extreme prejudice; the FBI maintained a list of known LGBTQ Americans and the US Post Office kept track of addresses where mail pertaining to homosexuality was delivered. This led to the riot at Stonewall in New York that set the Pride movement in motion.

Nearly thirty years later, in 1995, US President Bill Clinton added disability and sexual orientation to the list, mandating that it was illegal to discriminate against those regardless of who they date or marry in the workforce. This was the first time sexual orientation was established in the line of protected individuals.

While regulations are in place to safeguard human differences, it falls on the shoulders of talent acquisition to employ diverse talent and HR professionals and talent management to cultivate an inclusive workplace. Presently, 46% of LGBTQ employees remain closeted at work. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) reported that 38% of them stayed quiet for fear of being stereotyped and 36% said they were not out to avoid making their coworkers feel uncomfortable. Companies must take necessary strides so their employees feel comfortable to express themselves.

When a company is known for its Diversity & Inclusion, employees’ cultural insights are expanded and the employer brand reputation is revered by external candidates. Applicants flock to job postings, offering recruiters talent pools of many skill sets—productivity and retention then flourish. In fact, teams with more diversity witness 19% higher revenue because of the innovation produced from different backgrounds.

3 Examples of Employers Proud of Pride

While a public support of Pride with branded products, commercials, and parade presence is nice, it feels futile if organizational policies and practices aren’t in place to bring LGBTQ in company doors—and all other cultures, backgrounds, and ethnicities for that matter.

According to the HRC’s 2019 Corporate Equality Index report, 572 companies out of the Fortune 1000 earned a 100% rating for employing and promoting the LGBTQ community and have been named a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” They were judged on their performance of several standards:

  • Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Equivalency in same and different-sex spousal medical and soft benefits
  • Presence of employee resource groups and diversity council
  • At least three LGBTQ internal training & education practices
  • At least three efforts of outreach or engagement to the LGBTQ community

If a company wants to truly impact and acknowledge their LGBTQ colleagues, employers should put their Pride into practice. Here are three companies that received exceptional scores and demonstrate equality in and out of the office space:

  1. Best Buy: In addition to offering more LGBTQ inclusive movies, TV shows, and other merchandise in stores, Best Buy has received a perfect score from HRC for the 14th year in a row. Their Pride Employee Resource Group in particular provides support and networking opportunities for LGBTQ employees.
  2. GE Appliances: GE Appliances cultivated its own internal Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender & Ally Alliance (GLBTA) group that hosts in-person and virtual meetings, panels, and workshops to build skills and broaden exposure to senior leadership.
  3. PVH: PVH associates and executives established an LGBTQ Business Resource Group after their involvement with Pride in New York and Hong Kong in 2016. The clothing company was also named Forbes Best Employers for Diversity in 2019.

Employers who are truly interested in diversifying their talent and improving their candidate and employee experiences should look to not only put their logo on a rainbow background, but also put equality policies into practice.