Findings from HRC’s recent report, Future-Proofing Business: Embracing Today and Tomorrow’s LGBTQ+ Workers and Customers, make it clear that employees, customers and clients have growing expectations for companies to uphold values of LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace, and serve as advocates for LGBTQ+ equality in society, more broadly. U.S. employees are 4.5 times more likely to want to work at a company if it publicly supports and demonstrates a commitment to expanding and protecting LGBTQ+ rights–with Gen Z and Millennials 5.5 times more likely to want to work at a company that does so. Consumers are also looking to shop at companies that support them and their loved ones: three quarters (75%) of LGBTQ+ adults, and more than half (51%) of non-LGBTQ+ adults report feeling more positively about brands that support LGBTQ+ equality year-round.
In addition, Millennials and Gen Z comprise a growing segment of the workforce; Gen Z is expected to overtake older generations, representing over a third of the global workforce by 2030. A report from the HRC Foundation and Bowling Green State University projects that 17.5% of all adults will identify as LGBTQ+ by 2040. These findings illustrate that to stay competitive, corporations must evolve their level of commitment to the community to find the best talent and grow their customer base.
For decades, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation has successfully built and leveraged relationships with institutional stakeholders to advance LGBTQ+ inclusion and equality. Whether through the evolution of our indices like the Corporate Equality Index and Healthcare Equality Index, building coalitions to advocate with lawmakers, and educating employees on how to advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion in their workplaces, HRC harnesses the power, influence, scale, reach and resources of companies and other organizations in the fight for LGBTQ+ civil rights.
In 2022, HRC created the Stakeholder Engagement program to capitalize on evolving business expectations and scale our impact. The Stakeholder Engagement team works alongside companies in several ways, including but not limited to 1:1 consultations, organizational and employee education, weekly legal and legislative update reports, bi-weekly public policy briefings that feature key advocates within HRC, amicus briefs, behind-the-scenes engagement in specific states, and activations like sign-on letters. These include theBusiness Coalition for the Equality Act,National Business Statement on Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation, andcorporate sign-on letter for the Respect for Marriage Act.
Over 530 businesses have signed the Business Coalition for the Equality Act, and nearly 300 have signed the National Business Statement on Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation. These include Fortune 500 companies across sectors, including big tech companies like Google and Apple, major retailers like Amazon, Macy’s and Target, manufacturers like Medtronic and Dow Chemical. The Business Coalition for the Equality Act brings together major United States companies who support the passage of the Equality Act, which would guarantee equal protections to LGBTQ+ identified individuals under federal law. These companies represent over 15.9 million employees in all 50 states, and produce over $7.5 trillion in annual revenue.
Have signed the Business Coalition for the Equality Act
Have signed the National Business Statement on Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation
The National Business Statement on Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation reflects the unified position of nearly 300 companies that stand in opposition to harmful anti-LGBTQ legislation, including those impacting the transgender community and workplace protections. In the first two months of 2023 alone, HRC is already tracking 340 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. 150 of these would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date. As the statement itself reads,
Restrict the rights of Transgender People
Businesses can also sign letters in support of specific legislation, such as the Respect for Marriage Act corporate sign-on letter, which gathered 220+ company signatures prior to the bill’s passage. These statements are tangible support that advocates and lawmakers can point to as reflecting a unified business voice supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion and equality.
Companies that sign are not only indicating their commitment to equality for LGBTQ+ Americans, but also their commitment to their employees. As the workforce becomes younger and increasingly out as queer and allied, companies are looking for ways to better support a diverse array of employees. Showing their support through the sign-on letters is one way to get involved, but many companies go far beyond by leveraging relationships with lawmakers behind the scenes, and encouraging trade associations and chambers of commerce to wield their influence as well. Employees can also participate in this process by encouraging their employers to support these efforts. Engaged employees often make a big difference in their companies, who can then make a big difference nationally.
HRC is prioritizing this important work, mobilizing employees and corporate stakeholders to deepen engagement, building a new class of businesses that represent the very best advocates for LGBTQ+ equality. Through several avenues, including the ongoing evolution of the CEI and expansion of Stakeholder Engagement, within HRC and externally with key stakeholders, companies can stay competitive, gain recognition, and improve talent recruitment/retention. LGBTQ+ workers who are affirmed by their employers report greater job commitment, higher job satisfaction, better relationships with peers and supervisors, less discrimination, and increased well-being - both at work and at home. Ultimately, engagement with HRC will help companies to succeed, and their employees to thrive.
To learn more about HRC’s workplace programming, visit: https://www.thehrcfoundation.org/about/workplace-equality-program
To connect with the HRC Stakeholder Engagement team, email us at email@example.com.