LGBT Di­ver­sity in Cos Sup­ports Suc­cess: No­or­dende

The Economic Times - - Careers: The Fast Track -

LGBT di­ver­sity in or­gan­i­sa­tions makes busi­ness sense be­cause it sup­ports suc­cess, says San­der van't No­or­dende, group chief ex­ec­u­tive for prod­ucts at Ac­cen­ture. In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­ac­tion with ET’s Rica Bhattacharyya, No­or­dende talks about the busi­ness case of LGBT di­ver­sity and im­por­tance of role mod­els. Edited ex­cerpts:

What is the need for LGBT di­ver­sity in or­gan­i­sa­tions? LGBT di­ver­sity in or­gan­i­sa­tions makes busi­ness sense be­cause it sup­ports suc­cess. It fos­ters in- no­va­tion, it can im­prove re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion, and it has an im­pact on sales. Research shows a di­rect cor­re­la­tion be­tween cul­tures that are LGBT sup­port­ive and those that have the el­e­ments es­sen­tial to spark­ing cre­ativ­ity and sus­tain­ing in­no­va­tion. While you would as­sume that LGBT in­di­vid­u­als would check the in­clu­sion and di­ver­sity cre­den­tials of a new em­ployer, what many com­pa­nies are not aware of is that nearly three quar­ters of al­lies—those peo­ple who sup­port equal civil rights, gen­der equal­ity and LGBT di­ver­sity—are more likely to ac­cept a job at a com­pany that sup­ports LGBT rights. And fi­nally, those con­sumer com­pa­nies fail­ing to sup­port LGBT in­clu­sion could be jeop­ar­dis­ing sales. The global LGBT con­sumer mar­ket is es­ti­mated at $3.70 tril­lion —even higher if you fac­tor in the spend­ing power of al­lies. Research shows nearly three-quar­ters of LGBT and 82% of al­lies are more likely to pur­chase from a com­pany that sup­ports LGBT equal­ity.

What are the chal­lenges? We have seen a lot of change and progress around in­clu­sion and di­ver­sity, in­clud­ing the LGBT agenda. How­ever, for ev­ery or­gan­i­sa­tion that scores well on di­ver­sity rank­ings, there are still many that do not. I don’t be­lieve all of th­ese com­pa­nies are ig­nor­ing in­clu­sion and di­ver­sity in­ten­tion­ally. In­stead, I think their lead­ers may not al­ways un­der­stand the value of an en­vi­ron­ment that nur­tures and ce- le­brates di­ver­sity across the board. We can­not over­look the skills, ca­pa­bil­i­ties and value that a di­verse work­force brings. Some­times there are chal­lenges like here in In­dia. The ques­tion is not if, but how we progress the LGBT agenda at Ac­cen­ture. And that is what we are do­ing in In­dia.

What are Ac­cen­ture’s poli­cies on LGBT di­ver­sity? At Ac­cen­ture we want ev­ery­one to be com­fort­able at work in all the coun­tries in which we op­er­ate, in­clud­ing our more than 130,000 em­ploy­ees in In­dia. That is what we stand for. Only when peo­ple are com­fort­able in their work­place are they able to get the best out of them­selves. Like most busi­nesses, we op­er­ate with a range of stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing clients, al­liance com­pa­nies and share­hold­ers – all of which are them­selves di­verse. We have to re­flect their di­ver­sity to max­imise our re­la­tion­ship with th­ese stake­hold­ers, which is why we need to be a haven for in­clu­sion. For com­pa­nies look­ing to adopt a strong LGBT agenda, no mat­ter their in­dus­try, they need to re­flect the di­ver­sity of their cus­tomers to best serve them, and a di­verse work­force will serve them bet­ter if their staff is com­fort­able in the work­place.

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