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Pride Month: 5 LGBTQ-friendly companies to work for

SOURCE: Josh Edelson / AFP
The LGBTQ workforce is on the rise, thanks to several major organisations with offerings that can inspire others to follow suit.


By Shekinah Kannan 

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Diversity is an important topic in the 21st century. According to Guardian’s Workforce 2020 report, nearly 12 million Americans identify as LGBTQ. An increasing number of leaders are realising the importance of diversity in the workplace and its benefit, and not just on Pride Month.

Hiring people of different ethnicities, backgrounds, and ages allows companies to tap into diverse thinking and approaches. Still, business leaders need to be equipped with the right skills to bolster workplace inclusion.

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According to a Monster survey, 56% of respondents think companies should be doing more to recruit and hire from the LGBTQ community. Additionally, nearly 20% believe their current employer has a negative attitude toward LGBTQ hiring.

These findings prove that an inclusive workplace requires more than just talk. Many have come under fire for perpetuating “pinkwashing” – a term used to describe companies using Pride aesthetics for marketing purposes instead of tangible commitments to their community.

Thankfully, there’s a host of multinationals that smaller businesses can take notes from in this area. Here are five of the world’s biggest organisations that are known to be LGBTQ-friendly:

Apple

LGBTQ inclusivity goes far beyond Apple Watch Pride Edition bands and an annual Pride Month parade at this tech powerhouse.

Apple employees connect through its Diversity Network Associations, which supports employee-led groups that foster a culture of belonging through awareness, leadership programmes and more. Over 25,000 belong to groups like Accessibility@Apple, Amigos@Apple, Black@Apple, Pride@Apple, Women@Apple, and a range of faith-based options.

Additionally, who could forget 2014 when Tim Cook, Apple’s leader, became the first CEO to come out as a proud member of the community? 

His coming out was viewed across the globe as an open invitation for other members to acknowledge the company as a true ally. Cook confirmed this stating: “At Apple we believe in equal treatment for everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love.”

IBM

IBM has gained recognition from LGBTQ organisations for being an innovator and leader in workplace inclusion. It all began in 1984 when sexual orientation was added to its equal opportunity policy.

Since then, the company appeared on some of the earliest lists of “Best companies to work for” for LGBT+ employees, and has received awards from many LGBT+ organisations. These include the Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, Workplace Pride, DiversityComm, NGLCC, to name a few.

IBM makes it possible for employees in 40 countries (covering 87% of the IBM workforce) to provide their own self-identified sexual orientation and gender identity on their IBM human resources record. This declaration is voluntary, and employees can remove it at any time. 

Oracle

Professionals at Oracle spend a lot of their time posting on LGBTQ job boards, conducting events, and educating its staffers on the importance of working amongst a diverse team.

Employers stay connected on the Oracle Pride Employee Network, which unites and empowers its communities around the world. With 43 chapters in 21 countries, it’s a large one. Together, they increase opportunities, raise awareness and form partnerships that improve the LGBTQ experience. 

When it comes to engagement, Oracle Allies stay ready to advocate for equality and acceptance. Additionally, the company is known for providing same-sex partner medical benefits, in addition to transgender benefits in certain countries.

Microsoft

Microsoft has attained a 100 score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index for 16 years. Understandably so as sexual orientation in non-discrimination policies were introduced in 1989. In 1993, the company began offering employee benefits for same-sex domestic partnerships — it was one of the first in the world to do so. 

Employees can opt to join GLEAM, Global LGBTQI+ Employees and Allies at Microsoft – each of which provides support, advocacy, networking opportunities, external outreach to community nonprofits, and education. GLEAM also actively helps to attract, retain, and develop LGBTQI+ staffers. 

Today, Microsoft continues to stand as public supporters for marriage equality, advocating for every type of individual and family. Its efforts have inspired a sense of giving throughout the organisation. Together with its employees, the company has donated US$2 million in the last year to organisations that support LGBTQI+ communities.

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Amazon

Joining the Amazon family means gaining access to its LGBTQ affinity group, Glamazon. It became an official part of Amazon in 2005, joining other empowering groups such as Amazon PWD, Women in Finance, Warriors@Amazon and more. Today, the group extends beyond Seattle, with over 3,000 members in 60 chapters worldwide.

The group has since been active in community projects and civil rights issues. They’ve also helped create Amazon’s transgender toolkit, which debuted in 2017. The did so for employees who needed information on company benefits and education on how to be mindful of preferred pronouns.