Future Of Work – Why Inclusivity Is Good For Business

Future Of Work: Why Inclusivity Is Good For Business - Image of the pride flag

Doing something because “it is just the right thing to do” does seem to be a bit rare in business.

Over the last few years some businesses have been sucked into the never ending culture war. A number of well known companies have also paid lip service to inclusivity publicly, while endorsing something else entirely in private.

In this post, during Pride month, we will be looking at why this sort of thing deserves to be thrown into the dustbin of history. Diversity and inclusivity should be considered a key investment.

We will look at why businesses should be more diverse, inclusive and LGBTQ+ friendly, the benefits that can bring and why eCommerce brands in particular should be paying attention to this.

Future Of Work: Why Inclusivity Is Good For Business - image of people crossing the road on a rainbow colored crossing.
Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

LGBTQ+ Friendly Companies Are Better At Attracting & Retaining The Best Talent

At the very least, every company should make its employees feel that the workplace is safe for them.

How can you expect team members to be productive, creative and innovative if they feel threatened in some way? Or have to lie all the time about who they are?

It’s not really a surprise that LGBTQ+ employees want to work for a company that welcomes them. But this also extends to non-LGBTQ+ employees.

According to a Harvard Business Review report, 72% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents said that they are more likely to accept a job at a company that is supportive of its LGBTQ+ employees. Inclusivity sends a friendly signal to potential recruits. It means an inclusive company will be more considerate towards its employees.  

This extends into employee engagement. Employees at inclusive companies are much more likely to say that they are proud to work for an employer (84% against 68%) and will “go the extra mile” for the success of that employer (84% versus 73%) than employees who work at a company that has a negative outlook towards LGBTQ+ employees.

The data is clear. If you are an organization that wants to recruit the very best people, you need to provide an inclusive environment.

An image showing diversity and inclusivity in the workplace and how that boosts cooperation.

Diverse And Inclusive Teams Are More Innovative & Creative

When a company spends money on diversity and inclusion initiatives, they are really investing in innovation.

Companies that are inclusive and diverse can create more adaptable and effective teams. The plurality of viewpoints that comes with diversity and inclusion is a distinct competitive advantage. 

According to McKinsey, companies that have a diverse workforce and an inclusive outlook are better at “anticipating shifts in consumer needs and consumption patterns that make new products and services possible”.
This also extends to decision making. Economic and market conditions are tough right now and forecasts suggest they will get tougher. So businesses will need to have strong vision and problem solving skills in place to thrive. Inclusive and diverse workplaces can bring multiple perspectives and viewpoints to bear on problems. Which in turn makes creative solutions to those problems possible.

An image of a person shopping in a store.
Photo by Arturo Rey on Unsplash

LGBTQ+ Friendly Businesses Appeal To More Customers

There is a reason why so many huge brands publicly display support for LGBTQ+ inclusivity. That reason is profit.

It is estimated that the LGBTQ+ community has approximately $3.7 TRILLION in purchasing power.

For eCommerce brands this is something they cannot ignore. But companies really should go beyond nice pictures and slogans once a year. Proper research and engagement with LGBTQ+ team members who want to participate can really level up your marketing messaging and build customer brand loyalty.

For eCommerce brands and even their agency partners there is a clear gap in advertising to the LGBTQ+ community. Despite purchasing power of around $3.7 trillion, a recent GLAAD study stated that a mere 1.8% of mainstream advertising represented (and appealed to) LGBTQ+ people.

This is in part due to the challenge of appealing to the LGBTQ+ community. Proper representation of the whole spectrum of different LGBTQ+ identities is a very complex challenge. It is not one or two segments you are targeting, it is a much wider range. 

It is no surprise that advertisers are cautious about this. 78% of Advertisers and 31% of Advertising Agencies agree “it is difficult to adequately represent the LGBTQ community because the community is complicated and has many nuances.”

But this only gets resolved with proper dialogue. It is up to brands, advertisers, agencies and any commerce focused business to talk to the LGBTQ+ community and make an effort to understand their needs. It may seem obvious, but asking team members is a great way to start this dialogue process.

A street sign in the U.S.A. which says "eCommerce".
Photo by Mark König on Unsplash

What eCommerce Companies Can Do To Show Inclusivity

Being an inclusive organization can help you attract and retain top talent, rapidly adapt, innovate and help you market your product/service to a bigger audience.

But being inclusive is not just for June. A company has to make a real effort to maintain an inclusive culture all of the time. The key to inclusivity, in external marketing messaging at least, seems to be authenticity and consistency

But how can companies make a change? It can be tough to know where to start.

Nick Wolny, in his post on entrepreneur.com, gives some great advice to retail brands who want to engage with and sell to the LGBTQ+ community. For most companies who want to engage in this area, their best resource will be team members. But only if those team members want to participate. 

Try to start a dialogue with your team on how your business could be more inclusive. Not just in its external messaging and product offering, but also in its policies and procedures.

Small changes such as reviewing digital touchpoints also help. For example, do you have a contact form that asks for someone’s gender? Maybe you should review that to ensure that binary options are not the only option. An open text field could be easily added too.

Being inclusive and diverse is not just the right thing to do. It seems clear that it provides huge benefits to organizations across the board. 

If we all listen a bit more and try to be more considerate, then everyone wins.

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