Business Case

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There is a clear business case to focus on sexual orientation in the workplace:

Brand and Reputation

  • Demonstrate your commitment to diversity to your staff, community and clients.
  • Network with employers in your sector, mark yourself out as a leader in your area and benefit from cross sector networking.
  • Benefit from brand loyalty and access to the untapped LGB market worth an estimated £70 billion a year by showing your support for the LGB community.
  • The public sector procurement market is worth 15% of GDP, or £220 billion (HM Treasury, 2010). The Equality Act requires private sector companies to demonstrate their diversity credentials in winning public sector contracts.

Recruitment and retention

  • People perform better when they can be themselves. Concealing one’s sexual orientation at work reduces productivity - employees need to be able to communicate and build supportive, cooperative relationships with colleagues, clients and service users (Peak Performance, Stonewall, 2008).
  • Progressive employers recognise that their workforce should reflect the diversity of the population in order to serve the needs of customers and service users. By 2011 only 14.4% of Britain’s workforce will be white, male, non-disabled, under 35 and heterosexual (IES 2010). Position your organisation as an employer of choice for diverse talent.
  • Prejudice has human costs for staff - bullying at work contributes to £12 billion lost to employers each year through stress-related absenteeism (HSE, 2006).

Risk Mitigation

  • Avoid bottom-line costs for employers in legal fees, recruiting, inducting and training new staff, and regaining the trust of key stakeholders. So far, £120,000 is the largest sum awarded by an employment tribunal for sexual orientation discrimination. There is no limit to the amount that can be awarded.
  • Equality Act - all publicly funded bodies must show how they proactively consider the needs of LGB staff and service users. 
  • In Wales, the new Public Duties mean employers must set clear equality goals as well as work with the LGB community and collect data on their performance.

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