Businesses need to do more to welcome LGBT employees: survey

Published on June 23, 2014
A Pride flag is raised during a ceremony at Queen's Park in Toronto on Monday, June 23.
Canadian Press photo

Two-thirds of the employed adult population (67 per cent) feel more can be done to welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered employees

Canadian businesses need to do more to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered employees feel welcome and valued in the workplace according to the newly released Sodexo Workplace Diversity Survey, a Leger poll of employed Canadians. Sodexo is a global leader in services that improve quality of life, an essential factor in individual and organizational performance.

Two-thirds of the employed adult population (67 per cent) feel more can be done to welcome LGBT employees. However, the LGBT community is more likely (81 per cent) to feel that businesses generally need to strive harder.

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The survey also found that half of working Canadians (49 per cent) believe their employer should do more to ensure that LGBT employees feel comfortable being themselves in the workplace. However, when the same question is asked of working Canadians in the LGBT community that number jumps considerably to 59 per cent.

Overall, support for work cultures more welcoming of LGBT employees is widespread. Nine-in-10 employees (89 per cent) believe that workplace cultures should welcome all employees, regardless of sexual orientation.

When asked about overall workplace diversity, 72 per cent of Canadians feel that it should be a priority for Canada's business leaders. Again, in the LGBT community that number jumps significantly to 85 per cent.

"Diversity is a tremendous source of strength for all businesses," said Dean Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Sodexo Canada. "It's not just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do."

"We envision a nation where LGBT individuals can bring their authentic and whole selves to work enabling them to achieve their full potential," said Matt Petersen, chair of Pride at Work Canada. "It's important to celebrate the high degree of support among working Canadians for workplace cultures that welcome LGBT employees, just as it's vital to highlight and address the areas for improvement."

Source: CNW

Diversity strengthens the workplace

• 81 per cent of working Canadians agree that companies committed to diversity find it easier to attract and keep the best employees, compared to 93 per cent of LGBT employees polled.

• 84 per cent agree that workplace diversity helps companies deal with business challenges by enabling them to access new ways of thinking and perspectives, compared to 93 per cent of LGBT employees.

• 85 per cent agree that employees working for organizations committed to diversity and inclusiveness are more likely to have positive attitudes towards their work and their employer, compared with 91 per cent of LGBT employees.

"These numbers flag the need for more action to create inclusive workplaces across the country," said Michael Bach, founder and CEO of the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion (CIDI). "The fact that LGBT employees are more skeptical strongly suggests there is still considerable room for improvement to employer diversity policies."

 

Other findings

• 93 per cent of working Canadians believe that employees who feel comfortable being who they are in the workplace are more likely to contribute to the success of their company.

• 87 per cent of working Canadians believe that companies that treat employees equally regardless of sexual orientation, race, culture or religion are more likely to be successful.