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Why B2B Businesses Won Pride Month

4 MINUTE READ | June 26, 2019

Why B2B Businesses Won Pride Month

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Grant Weber

Grant Weber has written this article. More details coming soon.

Rainbow-print Nikes. Glitter-bolt Chuck Taylors. Cake batter milkshakes with rainbow glitter sprinkles?! The creativity from brands ahead of this year’s Pride Month was downright delicious, but it’s not only consumer brands hoisting the colors high. A quick scroll through LinkedIn will show agencies, tech companies, publishers, even real estate conglomerates using their logo as a badge of pride in their LGBT+ employees this year.

B2B Company Pride Logos (2019)

Instead of pushing rainbow-colored merchandise down our throats for 30 days, these companies are earning their stripes by investing millions into creating safe spaces for LGBT+ employees and their allies all year round. For some, this is a new look, but other B2B companies were founded with the idea that all should be free to be themselves in the workplace.

IBM, named the most gay-friendly company in the world, has been blazing the trail for LGBT inclusion since 1984. It’s right there in IBM’s first Equal Opportunity policy written over 60 years ago:

“It is the policy of this organization to hire people who have the personality, talent and background necessary to fill a given job, regardless of race, color or creed.”

IBM’s Equal Opportunity Policy

Just last year, IBM was recognized with the Catalyst Award for its leadership in building a diverse and inclusive workplace. This is the fourth time IBM has won the award, the most of any company. IBM isn’t an outlier in the B2B ecosystem. In fact, eight out of the nine LGBT+ ambassadors on the 2018 Workplace Pride Benchmark Report are B2B brands. Ambassadors are chosen for breaking new ground and ongoing leadership in LGBT+ workplace inclusion.

Banner Featuring Workplace Pride 2018 Ambassadors

Listed are some of the most successful companies in the world, yet, when we step outside of the Fortune 500, many corporations are still in their adolescence when it comes to diversity inclusion. In fact, forty-six percent of LGBT+ workers say they don’t feel free to be themselves at their job. The unfortunate truth is that there are businesses that are hesitant to invest the extra resources into building inclusivity programs when the bottom line is the first, second, and third priority.

As it turns out, equality isn’t just good for employees, it’s good for business. A McKinsey research study suggests that companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity (this includes LGBT+ and age/generation) on executive teams were 33% more likely to lead their industry in profitability.

Companies with an inclusive culture are rich in human capital as well. This year, Glassdoor released a list of the top companies championing LGBT+ rights. Slack and Salesforce are two B2B brands making the list for their commitment to increasing the number of minorities in the tech industry.

As it turns out, equality isn’t just good for employees; it’s good for business.

Salesforce, consistently in the top of Fortune’s Best Places to Work for Diversity, has long championed inclusivity. It kickstarted a number of inclusion initiatives including a new C-Suite position: Chief Equality Officer. The sole purpose of this top exec is to ensure that Salesforce remains inclusive of all groups that it employs and serves.

Apart from attracting the world’s top talent, there are other business cases for supporting the LGBT+ community. Research supports that diverse and inclusive teams bring fresh ideas and unique combinations of experiences and approaches to solve problems and speak to new markets.

Slack logo

Slack is making moves as well. As of 2019, Slack has empowered employees that identify as transgender or gender-nonconforming within the workplace. What makes Slack note- and list-worthy is not just how it segments its employees, but how it unites them. Rising Tides, a six-month sponsorship program, was created to build up a diverse group of emerging leaders within the company. The group is supported by the greater Slack community and allies are acknowledged.

Pride has to go beyond June and the Fortune 500. Savvy companies are invested in their company’s activists for diversity and tolerance and offer resources to help them succeed. Installing diversity inclusion programs wins top talent, increases profitability, fosters creativity, and ultimately, creates a safe space for all employees. Sacrificing brand standards for ROYGBV during Pride Month is a start, but consider the following questions before you slap a rainbow behind your logo next year:

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  • Are you educating your staff on the spectrum of LGBT+ people?

  • Have you given LGBT+ employees a way to provide earnest feedback?

  • Is company leadership openly supportive of equal opportunity rights?

  • Is your company taking a stand for LGBT+ outside the workplace?

  • Are your company medical benefits are as inclusive as possible?

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