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Expanding Your Organization’s LGBT Resources by Pat Baillie

January 9, 2012

Creating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workplace equality can sometimes feel like a full time job! Companies that are aware of the inequalities that exist for their LGBT employees can change what their programs provide to support and maximize benefits for all of their employees.

The inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in the EEO policy, providing domestic partner benefits and transgender health insurance are now corporate benchmarks for inclusion. But where do you go to get the most up-to-date information? Getting good training is a great way to start and there are courses available from Out & Equal to gain that cultural competency. What are some other resources to use to see how you are doing? The 2012 Corporate Equality Index, which scores companies on LGBT policies and benefits, has just been released and provides an easy metric to score your programs and to see how the competition in your sector is doing. Sector competition can be key to encouraging change within your business.

We also encourage companies to be the innovators or early adapters when dealing with benefits. If your company philosophy is conducive to this philosophy, you can add additional momentum for your sector. If your company is more conservative and wants to wait and see how the sector goes, be sure to stay current on your competition and know what the new trends will be so you can be ready to add the new benefits when your company is ready. You can also increase your recruiting and understanding of your potential LGBT market by using the 2010 Census data to research the markets you are in through the Census Snapshot 2010. This data provides metrics on same-sex couples in the United States who reported during the 2010 Census. This means there are many more single LGBT individuals and probably couples who prefer not to identify on the census as well those who are not represented so, if you can, research your target areas. The map says it all, LGBT potential employees and customers are everywhere!

As you build a business case for expanding your company’s benefits to LGBT employees, these tools can provide the demographics and sector comparison data needed to talk to management about new trends and programs. Keeping your best employees with a competitive benefit package is the first step to workplace equality for LGBT employees!

About the Author:
Pat Baillie is the Associate Director of Training at Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. Pat’s career has focused on training. She has experience in secondary schools, the military and as a government contractor. She is also active in LGBT causes on the local, state, and national level. She trains internationally and provides resources to HR professionals and Employee Resource Group leaders to advance workplace equality.

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