The Investment Association has made 12 suggestions that the asset management industry could adopt to support LGBT+ employees following a discussion with firms in June.
The trade body has released the report Bringing Our Whole Selves To Work: The LGBT+ experience in asset management, which found just 54% of asset management and investment banking staff had staff who felt senior leaders demonstrated a commitment to LGBT+ equality.
The reason for the inclusivity, the report said, was research suggests a happy workforce can boost sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%.
The IA, supported by OUTstanding part of INvolve, a membership organisation championing diversity and inclusion in business, led discussions with 22 external attendees.
12 ways to support LGBT+ individuals
- LGBT+ people never stop coming out
The report said research shows 58% of 18 to 24 year olds have hidden they are LGBT+ at work, highlighting the "stressful" nature of coming out.
The report said: "Look for ways to demonstrate that your company is welcoming of LGBT+ employees during the induction of new staff."
- Openly LGBT+ people can still value their privacy
Firms should show their support by asking LGBT+ employees about non-work life in the same way as any other employee.
"Do not push employees to share their private life if they appear reluctant."
- Do not assume that you do not have LGBT+ people where you work or that your coleagues are not affected by LGBT+ issues
"Companies should foster an inclusive environment because it is the right thing to do and not for fear of causing offence or generating complaints from LGBT+ staff."
- The most visible or senior LGBT+ person in your organisation might not be indicative of the wider LGBT+ experience
"While some LGBT+ people may feel confident and comfortable being out at work it might be that networks and LGBT+ support mechanisms are most essential for, and most appreciated by, the people who are least vocal about their sexual orientation and gender identity."
- Remember to promote diversity within LGBT+ inclusion (two points)
"Look for ways for different staff networks to work together - such as a joint event between LGBT+ and women's networks - to ensure that different LGBT+ perspectives are considered.
"Ask whether transgender people are properly served by your LGBT+ policies and initiatives."
- There is still a need for 'allies' at work
The report found LGBT+ employees felt colleagues sometimes thought their support was not necessary and view the "battle" as already won.
Instead, the IA suggested: "Encourage the inclusion of allies in your company's LGBT+ networks and programmes."
- We need senior allies too
It said having senior support was a crucial factor in making LGBT+ employees feel like they work in a supportive business which "allowed them to be themselves".
"Senior leaders in your company should actively demonstrate their support for LGBT+ employees and participate in LGBT+ networks and events," it said.
- Do not be put off by a fear of appearing ignorant
"Offer all employees the chance to take part in training or e-learning so that they can broaden their understanding of LGBT+ issues.
"It is better that such training is not compulsory to ensure that only those who actively want to take part do so."
- Do not concentrate all of your activity in your largest offices
The IA said: "Employers should consider ways of creating virtual LGBT+ networks to enable LGBT+ staff across different locations to connect.
"Consider too whether you could support a Pride event outside of London."
- Join forces with others in the industry
"Encourage your LGBT+ and ally employees to collaborate with employees from other firms in order to build bigger networks and share best practice."
- Finally, remember there are places were it is still illegal to be LGBT+
"Make sure you are aware of the laws and social attitudes relating to LGBT+ people in the countries where you carry out your business.
"Consider how you can support and protect all employees around the globe."
Chris Cummings, CEO of the IA, said: "From making it clear during recruitment that firms are welcoming to LGBT+ employees, to building a network that includes non-LGBT+ allies, or to ensuring that senior leaders actively demonstrate their support to LGBT+ colleagues, there is plenty that organisations can do to ensure they are fostering inclusive environments.
"I will personally be sponsoring this report's findings at the IA and ensuring that its recommendations are implemented."
In May, a survey carried out by LGBT Great, a not-for-profit investment industry network aiming to attract 1,000 LGBT+ people to the industry within the next five years, recently found that 40% of respondents said they had either heard of or experienced homophobic or transgender "banter" at work, while 25% said they were considering leaving their employer as a result.
UK recovery mandate marking 10 years
Concerns rally is overextended
Female millennials invested 40% more year-to-date
Will compare with May 2017 results
Jane Ambachtsheer joins as global head of sustainability