Taking Pride in DE&I
Over the past two years, The Council has made a concerted effort to focus more on our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
We’ve formed two committees—one internal, led by staff, which seeks to foster an inclusive culture an increase employee engagement within our company walls, and one at the board level, driven by a group of member executives, which provides guidance on DE&I opportunities and challenges faced by The Council’s membership with respect to leadership, workforce and strategic vendor partners. We’ve also taken an organizational pledge to build diverse and inclusive teams and set standards for inclusive behavior, and have encouraged our member companies to do the same.
Last month we celebrated the LGBTQ+ community during worldwide Pride Month, and it got me thinking—one of the most marginalized communities we have not done enough for is LGBTQ+. For me, Pride Month is personal and it’s also a reminder that I have a unique perspective to bring to my role as a business leader. It compels me to keep my foot on the gas when it comes to our all-encompassing DE&I efforts.
Today, most all Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation and gender identity in their nondiscrimination policies. Yet, nearly half of LGBTQ+ workers in the U.S. have reported unfair treatment at some point in their careers. Consider the following statistics from Catalyst’s 2022 LGBTQ+ Workplace Issues: Quick Take report:
- Nearly one in 10 LGBTQ+ employees have left a job because the environment was unwelcoming.
- More than half of all LGBTQ+ employees report that discrimination has negatively affected their work environment.
- One in four LGBTQ+ employees report experiencing workplace discrimination in the last five years.
According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report, 58% of Americans are stressed at their current job daily. Even more jarring, employees across the globe are feeling even more stressed than they did in 2020, according to the report. With millions of workers looking for new jobs amidst the Great Resignation, and with rising workplace stress and burnout being reported by U.S. workers today, one thing is clear: if your workforce doesn’t feel comfortable, supported or heard, they’re going to be out the door.
I’ve seen a lot of different ideas and initiatives in my 35 years at The Council but perhaps none more encouraging than the work our industry has done as a whole to treat DE&I as a year-long objective. In the last two years alone, we’ve seen company pledges, employee resource groups, new and different benefits offerings, more emphasis on and support of mental health and whole person well-being, stronger workplace culture and compassion. Making sure we fold our LGBTQ+ talent pool into these initiatives is a necessary next step.
Pride means different things to different people. You may be proud to work in this industry, or proud to be a parent, or proud of something else in your life. At it’s very core, Pride Month is simply a time to reintroduce the concept of being kind and generous and accepting—to our employees, to our customers, to our partners, and most importantly, to each other.