Staff who feel they have to hide their sexual orientation at work lose confidence and feel isolated from colleagues, says survey
Failing to be inclusive of employees of different sexual orientation can have disastrous effects on staff morale and productivity, according to a new survey.
More than 80% of those polled in a study of 200 senior lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) business figures by LGBT network OUTstanding said that being unable to be themselves at work damages people’s confidence and isolates them from workmates.
Of those surveyed, 85% said that gay employees who stay in the closet waste valuable energy pretending to be someone they’re not, while 86% said that the fear of being outed to colleagues makes them anxious.
The majority of respondents said that being open about their sexuality at work was often less difficult than they anticipated, with 60% saying that workplace bullying was not a concern.
However, the situation is not as rosy further down the career ladder. Less than a quarter of business people surveyed said that they believed middle managers had an inclusive attitude towards LGBT workers.
As such, a third of LGBT executives are calling for greater boardroom diversity, more openly-gay and transgender role models in business and more mentoring opportunities for LGBT staff.
“Whilst we’ve taken huge strides in terms of diversity and LGBT equality in the UK, for many, the perception is that it’s safer to stay in the closet if they want to get on at work,” said Suki Sandhu, CEO and founder of OUTstanding. “In fact, 62% of students who were out at uni go back into the closet when they start work.”
“It’s vital that those in leadership positions use their influence to communicate that by being authentic and yourself at work; business professionals will be more confident, perform better and ultimately boost the business’s bottom line.”
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