More and more companies are realizing the importance of diversity and inclusion. A new report by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation found that LGBT inclusive practices gave 59 percent of companies better job applicant pools, and 71 percent of companies a reputation boost.
Bank of America embraces diversity not only because it is the right thing to do for its employees, but it is essential to the bank’s ability to serve clients. Just last year—thanks to Albuquerque Pride—Bank of America’s participation in the Pride parade has led to happier employees who feel confident in bringing their whole selves to work. And research shows a correlation between LGBT+ employees who feel comfortable in their workplace setting and higher levels of productivity.
One example was a new employee, Lydia Alderete, who, along with her wife Elsa, were so impressed with the bank’s role in the Pride parade that Elsa decided to apply for a position at the company. Lydia attributes the company’s supportive LGBT+ benefits to her ability to finally bring her authentic self to her workplace, leading to her fast becoming a top performer on the job. Lydia and Elsa now plan to take advantage of the bank’s fertility reimbursement benefits.
The bank’s presence at Albuquerque Pride also inspired more than 100 local employees to form Bank of America’s first official LGBT+ Pride employee network in New Mexico! The network will volunteer in the community, offer educational and career development support and raise awareness of issues relevant to the LGBT+ community within the global company.
The company isn’t new to the LGBT+ community – in 1983 it established one of the nation’s first known HR policy for employees with AIDS; more than 20 years ago it became the first financial services company to offer domestic partner benefits to employees; more than 10 years ago it expanded health benefits to include medically necessary procedures for transgender employees.
But every year, there are new ways the company can help its LGBT+ employees, clients and communities.
This year, for example, Bank of America “came out” as an official LGBT+ employee network for Albuquerque Pride, with nearly 200 Albuquerque Out and Ally employees – double the number of participants from last year - walking shoulder to shoulder with bank New Mexico president Paul Mondragon, colleagues, family and friends.
The authors are Co-Chairs for the Pride Employee Network at Bank of America.