Op-ed by Dean Johnson
As Pride events ready themselves from coast-to-coast across Canada, findings from a new survey probes working Canadians attitudes about workplace diversity, specifically as it pertains to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) employees.
First off, the good news. The survey shows support for workplaces that are welcoming of LGBT employees is widespread. Nine-in-10 working Canadians believe that workplace cultures should welcome all employees, regardless of sexual orientation according to the Sodexo Workplace Diversity Survey, a Leger poll of working Canadians.
In terms of how working Canadians view the performance of corporate Canada, the results are less positive. Two-thirds of Canadians feel businesses need to do more to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered employees feel welcome and valued in the workplace. The LGBT community is even more likely (81 per cent) to feel that businesses generally need to strive harder.
Half of Canadians think their own employer should do more to ensure that LGBT employees feel comfortable in the workplace. Yet when the same question is asked of the LGBT community that number jumps considerably to 59 per cent.
Diversity is a tremendous source of strength for all businesses. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do and is critical in helping Sodexo remain an employer of choice.
Other findings - Diversity strengthens the workplace
• 81 per cent of working Canadians agree that companies committed to diversity find it easier to attract and keep the best employees, compared to 93 per cent of LGBT employees polled.
• 84 per cent agree that workplace diversity helps companies deal with business challenges by enabling them to access new ways of thinking and perspectives, compared to 93 per cent of LGBT employees.
• 85 per cent agree that employees working for organizations committed to diversity and inclusiveness are more likely to have positive attitudes towards their work and their employer, compared with 91 per cent of LGBT employees.
When asked about overall workplace diversity, 72 per cent of Canadians feel that it should be a priority for Canada's business leaders. Again, in the LGBT community that number jumps significantly to 85 per cent.
“We envision a nation where LGBT individuals can bring their authentic and whole selves to work enabling them to achieve their full potential.” said Matt Petersen, chairman of Pride at Work Canada. “It’s important to celebrate the high degree of support among working Canadians for workplace cultures that welcome LGBT employees, just as it’s vital to highlight and address the areas for improvement.”
Dean Johnson, is the president and CEO, Sodexo Canada.