LGBT Diversity in Cos Supports Success: Noordende
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.