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What Are the Main Reasons Companies Cite for Creating an LGBT-Friendly Workplace?

Attract a wide talent pool of not only LGBT people but also their friends/family members and a larger share of young talent: According to Pew Research Center’s “Millennials: A Portrait of the Next Generation,” people ages 18 to 29 who are currently entering the workforce are quite “different from members of other generations when it comes to their experience with and exposure to gay people.” Of the more than 2,000 polled, 54 percent of millennials have a close friend or family member who is gay, compared with 44 percent of baby boomers (46- to 64-year-olds). These relationships strongly influence the social attitudes of tomorrow’s talent. Among millennials who have an open friend/family member, 65 percent said they favor same-sex marriage versus 51 percent of respondents older than 29.

Build greater brand loyalty: Companies with LGBT-friendly policies are favored by LGBT as well as allied consumers. A national online survey of more than 2,500 adults conducted by Harris Interactive/Witeck-Combs found that 70 percent of heterosexuals would consider switching to a brand if its workplace benefits were inclusive (as would 88 percent of LGBTs).

Win new business: During the request-for-proposal process, “other companies want to know about our diversity programs,” explains strong>AMERICAN EXPRESS Chief Diversity Officer Kerrie Peraino. “So there’s a real compelling value proposition for [us] to be paying attention to the LGBT community.”

Inclusive workplaces have both a mix of internal policies, such as same-sex domestic-partner/spousal benefits and sexual-orientation/gender-identity EEO policies, and external programs. The 2010 CEI, for instance, requires at least three of the following external criteria: LGBT recruitment, supplier diversity, marketing/advertising, philanthropy or public support for legal LGBT equality. Note: New CEI criteria will go into effect for the 2011 report. 

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