The release of the top 100 employers for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, compiled by the charity Stonewall, is a moment for celebration and reflection.
Ensuring a diverse workforce is now considered essential to the success of businesses right across Britain. There is a wealth of evidence that shows this makes good business sense and leads to better business and individual outcomes.
At Lloyds Banking Group, driven through our Helping Britain Prosper Plan we have found it possible to make a difference on inclusion and diversity, and we were delighted to be named the top private sector employer for LGBT people. However, we are conscious that there is still much more to do, both at a business and an industry level.
So how can businesses make it happen? We believe there are three critical components to building a diverse workforce and establishing an inclusive workplace for all employees.
Firstly, goals. Defined goals might not be right for every organisation, but they are undoubtedly an incredible catalyst for change. What gets measured, gets done. We’ve found that through setting clear goals, including a public goal on increasing gender diversity within senior management tiers, inclusion and diversity becomes as important a business issue as any other.
Secondly, effective change cannot happen without dedicated champions. Senior stakeholders who take ownership of inclusion and diversity, ensure they take people with them on their journey, recruit other advocates, and bang the drum throughout the organisation contribute to the overall objective and move things along at speed.
Finally, never underestimate the need for visibility. No matter how many internal policies a company can introduce, the mark of real change is in the culture of an organisation. Every colleague must feel included in the journey. Talk to them, particularly your ‘detractors’, explain why it is important, recruit team ambassadors and use allies/advocates to tell the story.
Being in a globally competitive sector, we cannot afford to miss out on the widest possible pool of talent. It is encouraging that many financial services providers are already in Stonewall’s 2016 list – next year, we hope to see even more.