There is a clear business case to focus on sexual orientation in the workplace:
Brand and Reputation
Demonstrate your commitment to diversity to your staff, community and clients.
Network with employers in your sector, mark yourself out as a leader in your area and benefit from cross sector networking.
Benefit from brand loyalty and access to the untapped LGB market worth an estimated £70 billion a year by showing your support for the LGB community.
The public sector procurement market is worth 15% of GDP, or £220 billion (HM Treasury, 2010). The Equality Act requires private sector companies to demonstrate their diversity credentials in winning public sector contracts.
Recruitment and retention
People perform better when they can be themselves. Concealing one’s sexual orientation at work reduces productivity - employees need to be able to communicate and build supportive, cooperative relationships with colleagues, clients and service users (Peak Performance, Stonewall, 2008).
Progressive employers recognise that their workforce should reflect the diversity of the population in order to serve the needs of customers and service users. By 2011 only 14.4% of Britain’s workforce will be white, male, non-disabled, under 35 and heterosexual (IES 2010). Position your organisation as an employer of choice for diverse talent.
Prejudice has human costs for staff - bullying at work contributes to £12 billion lost to employers each year through stress-related absenteeism (HSE, 2006).
Avoid bottom-line costs for employers in legal fees, recruiting, inducting and training new staff, and regaining the trust of key stakeholders. So far, £120,000 is the largest sum awarded by an employment tribunal for sexual orientation discrimination. There is no limit to the amount that can be awarded.
Equality Act - all publicly funded bodies must show how they proactively consider the needs of LGB staff and service users.
In Wales, the new Public Duties mean employers must set clear equality goals as well as work with the LGB community and collect data on their performance.