If you live in Grand Rapids, chances are you have seen the controversy surrounding the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce’s decision to endorse Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Bill Schuette.

8THIRTYFOUR, along with multiple other businesses chose to cancel their Chamber memberships in a show of solidarity with the LGBTQ community and women everywhere.

While the Chamber defended it’s decision by stating that Schuette is business friendly and that is in line with their mission within the community, I beg to differ.

You see, diversity and inclusion are just good business. More than 40% of LGB (and almost 90% of transgender) individuals have experienced discrimination, harassment, or mistreatment in the workplace. This is not only unacceptable; it’s also bad for business.

If you’re implementing policies and fostering an inclusive workplace, you’re likely to reap these benefits:

  • Increased productivity: members of the LGBTQ community can focus their energy on their actual work, instead of worrying about their health and safety.
  • Better ideas: Similarly, a welcoming culture fosters creativity and better ideas from all team members.
  • Improved public image: perception matters.
    • 23% of LGBT adults have switched products or services because a different company was supportive of the LGBT community, even if the new brand was costlier or less convenient.
    • 97% of LGBTQ adults said they are likely to consider a brand providing equal workplace benefits (glad.org).
  • Decreased talent expenses: LGBTQ members of your team who are able to be open and out about their true identities are more likely to remain in their current position, and stay loyal to your company. This reduces turnover and saves you on costly recruitment expenses.
  • Decreased health expenses: improved health is a common result of a welcoming workplace, keeping your healthcare expenses lower.

So, you see, inclusivity is not just good for the heart, it’s good for business.

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