Why LGBT diversity matters?

Written on March 4, 2016 by Campus Life in Professional

coffee sapAnother excellent coffee chat about diversity, this time about LGBT inclusion with Miguel Castro from SAP. On top of his work as Demand and Workforce Planning Director, he is one of the coordinators of LGBT initiatives at SAP. Miguel is an old folk of IE, he was one of the supporters and promoters of ieOut, our LGBT network, and has been there since the beginning.

He has a very wide international experience and capacity to reach out. In addition to it, he has a sound knowledge and expertise in LGBT inclusion best practices worldwide. He is not directly involved in diversity area, his commitment with LGBT at SAP is an on top work which is key to crystalize SAP´s commitment with this community

He started his presentation talking about the fuss with black community and the Oscars and explaining how actor Ian McKellen has cautioned that homophobia is as much of an issue among Academy voters as racism. This veteran actor affirms that no openly gay star has ever won the statue as Best Actor. It is true that there are openly gay Oscar winners, counted on the fingers of one hand, but not as protagonist.

20160229_201006He provoked the audience with the following question: If you were an actor or an actress thinking about coming out, would you dare to do that?

Very often corporations answer they do not have LGBT specific policies, because they do not have inequality issues, and sometimes they also state that they do not have gay people within its staff members! Is equality an issue at the Academy? In his presentation, he focused on the economic case of LGBT Diversity. Adopting such kind of policies has direct consequences in the bottom line. Better margins are an example of the kind of result you can achieve by reducing cost and increasing income.

The implementation of LGBT inclusive policies has a direct impact on cost-performance thanks to a reduction in the  expeditures to attract or retain talents. This is clear especially in those industries where innovation is a key factor such as consulting or IT. On the other hand, your margins will increase when people are not forced to hide themselves. If they  can freely express who they are, they will be much more productive!

20160229_205317Later on, we discussed widely how the development of LGBT networks at workplace is crucial to lead diversity champions to properly approach specific needs and challenges of this community. In this context, he answered one of the most difficult questions regarding LGBT global diversity: Expats at countries where being LGBT is against law and they could risk jail or even death penalty. His answer was clear: same rights as the rest of workers prevail even though they mean costs increase. Information is also key and the corporate LGBT network can help on that.

Benefits of a proper strategy for LGBT community is not only profitable when talking about workforce but also when focusing on your client.

So talent, consumer loyalty and innovation… three powerful reasons to be gay friendly!


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