Earlier this month, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released the 15th Corporate Equality Inbox rating workplaces on LGBTQ equality. Over 500 major companies spanning a variety of industries earned a top score of 100 percent and the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” You can read the full report here.
We caught up with a couple of executives from two companies on the list – Jolen V. Anderson, Chief Diversity Officer at Visa, and Sharon Silverman, Group Vice President in Human Resources at Macy’s – to talk about being out in the office and how LGBTQ candidates can actually use their diversity to their advantage to stand out when seeking employment.
For Anderson, diversity and inclusion mean more than just checking off a box. “Today, diversity and inclusion are business imperatives, and companies who get that are winning in the market,” said Anderson. “The global marketplace and workforce are changing faster than ever, and that is reflected in the demands and expectations of our consumers, merchants, clients, and employees. Our workforce must reflect that diversity of thinking to understand how to tailor our products and services to meet those demands and expectations.”
Grindr: So, now that companies are expected to be as diverse as their consumers and clients, how are companies recruiting diverse candidates?
Silverman: Key things we look for on a candidate’s resume include leadership in diversity-focused groups, philanthropy, service-minded experiences and community involvement. Candidates can stand out by amplifying these areas and experiences during their candidacy.
What’s it like being out in “Corporate America” today?
Silverman: Our diversity is celebrated today. It’s a great feeling being able to join in celebrations with my colleagues and have my family – my spouse and our children – participate with my heterosexual colleagues and their families.
Anderson: We believe that differences and unique attributes contribute to our company’s success. It’s important that our employees feel like they can bring their authentic selves to work every day.
What type of training and support exists for fostering inclusivity in the workplace today?
Silverman: Macy’s, like many companies, offers employee resource groups so employees can meet people like themselves and find community. The resource group at Macy’s heavily influenced company policy around family-leave benefits. So, in addition to organizing events like Drag Bingo and participating in the Pride March, employees help shape policy and climate within the company.
Anderson: We have LGBTQ+ and Ally employee resource groups across our global offices –called Visa Pride- and are committed to key issues like Marriage Equality, signing the Amicus Brief and urging Supreme Courts to strike down prohibition laws.
Any other advice?
Silverman: Networking is no longer optional. Employers rely much more on personal referrals than ever before. Make sure you’re attending events, getting in front of employers and asking your friends to refer you.
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