Corporate Reputation and Marketing Opportunities
The vast majority of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies, and over half extend health benefits to an employee’s same-sex domestic partner. In order to remain competitive, inclusive policies are crucial.
In addition to the HRC Corporate Equality Index, other recognition lists focus attention on corporate diversity practices and can underscore the benefits that an open and inclusive work environment can have on an employer’s reputation.
- DiversityInc, with quarter of a million subscribers, issues an annual Top 50 Companies for Diversity list that uses the HRC Corporate Equality Index as a guide. More than 50 percent of DiversityInc’s readers represent middle and top management in corporate America.
- Business Ethics magazine uses HRC data in its annual list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens. Referenced by vendors, investors and job applicants, this list is considered a standard by corporate social responsibility analysts.
As a number of smart, progressive companies have learned, supporting workplace equality leads to marketing opportunities.
- According to a January 2007 report from market research firm Packaged Facts, the buying power of gays and lesbians is expected to exceed $835 billion by 2011, compared to $660 billion in 2006 (http://www.packagedfacts.com/Gays-Lesbian-1259124).
- "LGBT consumers are very brand loyal to companies that reach out to them," says Wes Combs, partner at Witeck-Combs Communications, a strategic communications firm focusing on the LGBTQ market. That loyalty may in part be due to a company's workplace policies. 72 percent of LGBTQ consumers said it is important for companies who advertise to the LGBTQ community to "demonstrate effective corporate citizenship" by supporting the community's causes.