A annual survey made by Accenture about diversity, “Getting to Equal 2020“, brings out the challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community in the corporate world. The conclusion achieved regarding Brazil is that, even though it is more likely that they will expose their identities, gender expression or sexual orientation, 55% of LGBTQIA+ still feel that revealing themselves to be outside of heteronormativy has a negative impact on their work environment.
The survey pointed out that 36% of Brazilian LGBTQIA+ people replied to be “very open” about their sexual orientation or gender identity in their workplaces, which is higher than the global average of 31%.
The study also shows that most companies do not ensure a welcoming or safe environment for the employees to prosper. Half of the interviewed LGBTQIA+ staff in Brazil aspire to become senior managers, meanwhile, globally, this profile isn’t higher than 27%. Nevertheless, all these aspirations conflict with the lack of support coming from leaders. Only 14% of LGBTQIA+ employees worldwide feel completely supported by their bosses regarding discussions about the improvement of inequality conditions and the receptivity to LGBT workers in the organization. On the other hand, 68% of leaders worldwide believe they create inclusive environments.
“These divergences explain why the feeling of helplessness and fear among LGBTQIA+ employees at their workplace remains high, although we have seen advances about this subject in the corporate world”, evaluates Rafael Bonini, director of Strategy and Consulting at Accenture and leader of the company’s LGBTQIA+ discussion group. Throughout the world, only 21% of LGBTQIA+ leaders in management positions tend to openly come out about their identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. Globally, 71% of LGBTQIA+ employees say that it is important to have openly LGBTQIA+ leaders so the scenario can evolve within the companies, in a way that the employees themselves can prosper in their workplace.
“We need to overcome the idea that these discussions about causes should only be brought up within a specific agenda or only during diversity awareness month. This issue permeates the innovation in the corporate world. Putting equality as the company’s culture top priority during the entire year increases people’s engagement in organization and, this way, contributes for the company’s adaptation growth and development, a factor that has been showing itself to be essential for businesses”, Bonini completes.
The global edition of the survey was published in March of this year and proved the existence of this gap of perception over the way leaders and employees see the equality progress inside companies. Aligning these perceptions, according to the survey, would bring advances in innovation that would represent significant increases in global businesses. Only in 2019, the reduction of cultural inequalities represented an increase of an estimated 3,7 trillion dollars on the organizations’ profit. The study evaluated 40 cultural factors related to work equality, covering the LGBTQIA+ subject, among other cultural issues.
This scenario is exacerbated considering the higher vulnerability of LGBTQIA+ professionals to the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy. An OutRight Action International report indicates that these people face more pressures, such as anxiety, fear of social stigma and a higher exposure to family violence.
The same study made by Accenture shows the rise of a generation of diverse leaders committed to the building of a culture of equality within the companies. Although only 6% of the interviewed managers fall under the group identified by the survey as “Culture Makers“, these executives are more balanced in terms of gender (45% of them are women) and age (68% of them are millennials). They are people who openly support LGBTQIA+ causes and prioritize the values of a more diverse, egalitarian and transparent culture. In this way, they have better chances of leading organizations that are more collaborative, innovative and with a greater sense of commitment among their employees. In addition to that, the companies leaded by Culture Makers tend to develop more than twice as fast as the average speed of their peers in the market.
Accenture is a signatory of the LGBTQIA+ Forum, reinforcing their support to the forum’s 10 commitments. The company has been developing policies to improve equality rates, having LGBTQIA+ inclusion, development and talent retention amongst their pillars. As a market leader regarding the support to the LGBTQIA+ community as a whole, Accenture focuses on trainings about the awareness and the comprehension of the cause; equal treatment policies; benefits and professional development of LGBTQIA+ workers.