Corporate Equality Index: About the Survey

Updated: 4/6/2021

Survey Process and Methodology

The surveys will be sent out in late spring. If a F1000 ranked business has not previously participated in the HRC Corporate Equality Index, surveys are sent to the chief executive officer or managing partner of the firm, as well as the head of human resources and diversity managers or chairs when it is possible to obtain this information. If a business has previously participated in the Corporate Equality Index, surveys are first sent to the individuals responsible for the previous submissions.

Participating businesses submit their answers through a web-based survey which includes links to sample policies and other guidance on the HRC Foundation Workplace Equality Program website; HRC Foundation staff and Business Council members provide additional assistance and advice throughout the process. Businesses are able to check their preliminary ratings through the online survey and are invited to provide HRC with any additional information or updates before the report is released.

The HRC Foundation may rate businesses that have not submitted a survey this year if the business had submitted a survey in previous years and the information is determined to be accurate, or if the HRC Foundation has obtained sufficient information to provide an individual rating. In both cases, the HRC Foundation notified the business of the official rating and gave them an opportunity for any updates or clarification prior to the report release.

Fortune 500-ranked businesses that after multiple invitations have never responded to the CEI survey were evaluated independently and have designated unofficial ratings listed in gray in Appendix A. The HRC Foundation proactively evaluates these Fortune-ranked companies for two key reasons:

  • To provide the public with accurate information on these key employers; and
  • To ensure the CEI is truly a benchmarking report among peers.

Who Completes the Survey

Typically, one person acts as the official submitter of the survey and is responsible for obtaining information from multiple departments. At any point, the following practice areas may need to provide input for the survey:

  • Human Resources
  • Diversity
  • Staffing
  • Counsel / Legal
  • Marketing / Communications and
  • Corporate Giving / Foundation Relations.

The Business Case

  • Drives recruitment and retention of talent, eliminates barriers to investment
  • Eliminates inconsistencies across operations, business clients and suppliers.
  • Reinforces corporate reputation as a champion of fairness and equality.
  • LGBTQ+ and fair-minded market segment is looking to spend their dollars with companies that align with their values.

Rating Criteria for the Corporate Equality Index

1. Workforce Protections (30 points possible)

  • Policy includes sexual orientation for all operations (15)
  • Policy includes gender identity or expression for all operations (15)

2. Inclusive Benefits (30 points possible)

To secure full credit for benefits criteria, each benefit must be available to all benefits-eligible U.S. employees. In areas where more than one health insurance plan is available, at least one inclusive plan must be available.

  • Equivalency in same- and different-sex spousal medical and soft benefits (10)
  • Equivalency in same- and different-sex domestic partner medical and soft benefits (10)
  • Equal health coverage for transgender individuals without exclusion for medically necessary care (10) (more info)

3. Supporting an Inclusive Culture & Corporate Social Responsibility (40 points possible)

a. Three LGBTQ+ ​Internal Training and Education Best Practices (10)
Businesses must demonstrate a firm-wide, sustained and accountable commitment to diversity and cultural competency, including at least three of the following elements:

  • New hire training clearly states that the nondiscrimination policy includes gender identity and sexual orientation and provides definitions or scenarios illustrating the policy for each
  • Supervisors undergo training that includes gender identity and sexual orientation as discrete topics (may be part of a broader training), and provides definitions or scenarios illustrating the policy for each
  • Integration of gender identity and sexual orientation in professional development, skills-based or other leadership training that includes elements of diversity and/or cultural competency
  • Gender transition guidelines with supportive restroom, dress code and documentation guidance
  • Anonymous employee engagement or climate surveys conducted on an annual or biennial basis allow employees the option to identify as LGBTQ+.
  • Data collection forms that include employee race, ethnicity, gender, military and disability status — typically recorded as part of employee records — include optional questions on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Senior management/executive performance measures include LGBTQ+ diversity metrics.

b. Employee Group –OR– Diversity Council (10)
c. Three Distinct Efforts of Outreach or Engagement to Broader LGBTQ+ Community (15)
Businesses must demonstrate ongoing LGBTQ+-specific engagement that extends across the firm, including at least three of the following:

  • LGBTQ+ employee recruitment efforts with demonstrated reach of LGBTQ+ applicants (required documentation may include a short summary of the event or an estimation of the number of candidates reached)
  • Supplier diversity program with demonstrated effort to include certified LGBTQ+ suppliers
  • Marketing or advertising to LGBTQ+ consumers (e.g.: advertising with LGBTQ+ content, advertising in LGBTQ+ media or sponsoring LGBTQ+ organizations and events)
  • Philanthropic support of at least one LGBTQ+ organization or event (e.g.: financial, in kind or pro bono support)
  • Demonstrated public support for LGBTQ+ equality under the law through local, state or federal legislation or initiatives.

d. LGBTQ+ Corporate Social Responsibility

Contractor/supplier non-discrimination standards AND Philanthropic Giving Guidelines (5)

4. Responsible citizenship (-25)
Employers will have 25 points deducted from their score for a large-scale official or public anti-LGBTQ+ blemish on their recent records. Scores on this criterion are based on information that has come to HRC’s attention related to topics including but not limited to: undue influence by a significant shareholder calculated to undermine a business’s employment policies or practices related to its LGBTQ+ employees; directing corporate charitable contributions to organizations whose primary mission includes advocacy against LGBTQ+ equality; opposing shareholder resolutions reasonably aimed at encouraging the adoption of inclusive workplace policies; revoking inclusive LGBTQ+ policies or practices; or engaging in proven practices that are contrary to the business’s written LGBTQ+ employment policies.

Point Allocations

Businesses are rated on a scale from 0 to 100, with a certain number of points awarded for meeting each criterion. The HRC Foundation will continue to award partial credit to employers that have satisfied a portion of certain criterion.