Jobs and the Future of Work

Why it’s good for business to value your LGBT workforce

Sander van't Noordende
CEO, Randstad
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And so it is upon us. More than 2,600 world leaders, CEOs, heads of nonprofits, leading academics, and journalists from 100 plus countries are meeting in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum annual meeting. This forum, “Davos”, is one of the most highly visible and prestigious events of its kind and generates an enormous amount of media attention. The delegates at Davos debate some of the most important issues shaping our world today, including leveraging the power of diversity.

I am very proud that Accenture is organizing an LGBT panel session at Davos – and, that I will be a participant! This is an exciting opportunity, and I’m grateful to my fellow panelists – who are out and role models in their companies — for so enthusiastically embracing the invitation to participate. Our moderator is a renowned and out CNN anchor, Richard Quest. The panel will include Beth A. Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice Chair, Public Policy, E&Y and Antonio Simoes, Chief Executive Officer, UK. HSBC Bank plc. We will shine a spotlight on the LGBT workforce and the challenges companies encounter across their global operations. I encourage you to join this live conversation.

Like many companies, Accenture believes it’s important to actively foster and support an inclusive workplace that welcomes all diverse people, including our LGBT employees. Our Inclusion & Diversity teams work closely with our Global LGBT Network to drive initiatives, design inclusive recruitment and retention policies and develop guidelines to help make Accenture one of the most inclusive and progressive companies in the world for LGBT people. For example, in some countries, this includes creating policies offering domestic-partner benefits and shaping recruiting efforts for LGBT employees.

Personally, I am committed to ensuring an inclusive environment for our LGBT employees across the globe. Embracing our diverse culture and inspiring collaboration is the way we do things at Accenture. Simply put, it’s the right thing to do. And serving as a leader for Accenture’s global LGBT network is both personally fulfilling and makes me proud of our company’s core values.

There’s a business logic too. Embracing inclusion and diversity is essential for companies to compete successfully in the global marketplace. I have made this point in a previous post here, because I believe that corporate leaders have an opportunity – indeed, an obligation – to create a more diverse workforce that helps fuel a strong sense of belonging and pride…and ultimately helps companies to understand and serve a diverse customer base.

The number of companies supporting LGBT equality in the workplace internationally has grown tremendously in the past decade, and is now on the radar in C-suites around the globe. To that end, this is the perfect time to host this discussion in Davos.

I’m very proud and grateful for the opportunity to lead on this issue and I look forward to our discussion. Please join in! I encourage you to watch the LGBT Panel live from Davos. Learn more about the panel and download a calendar invite for the event.

This article is published in collaboration with LinkedIn. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

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Author: Sander van ‘t Noordende is the Group Chief Executive of Products Operating Group at Accenture

Image: A generic image of an empty meeting room. REUTERS

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