If you are unfamiliar with the Human Rights Campaign and the Corporate Equality Index allow me to explain briefly. I would first recommend you head on over to the Human Rights Campaign website and take a look around. http://www.hrc.org
The HRC’s Mission Statement is: “The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.”
Occasionally you will run into folks who have mixed opinions on the HRC, but you won’t get that here. I fully support what they do and feel they add an immense value to the LGBT movement.
So the Corporate Equality Index is a rating system which rates companies on their diversity practices as they relate to LGBT issues. They are scored on areas such as how they treat their employees, what types of benefits are offered to same sex couples and what types of policies they have in place for their LGBT employees. The data from the CEI is then turned into the Buying for Workplace Equality Guide. I swear by these bad boys. They are a small 6’x9′ pocket guide that contains the results of each of these companies at a real quick glance.
Why does this matter?
The scores range from perfect down to negative numbers. The guide color codes their sections very easily so you can identify at a glance if a company is in the green (safe to do business with) or if a company is red (steer clear.) I am a bit of an extremist so you’ll find these pocket guides anywhere that I have been – I keep a guide in the glove box of my car, my wife’s car and usually in all of my bags and purses. I do this because on a whim I can tell if the company I am about to do business with is a company I should be doing business with. With this information I can buy with confidence, knowing that I am supporting a company that supports LGBT equality for not just me but the employees and families of those that work for the company.
The LGBT community is one of a few communities who have such a tool at their disposal to really guide their purchasing decisions. I am always making sure I am shopping with a retailer or corporation who supports workplace equality and the only way I know this is by having this handy guide available. It is my way as one person to make a difference. You can do this too.
In short, data shows that LGBT consumers are savvy individuals who know if you are treating your employees unfairly by not providing appropriate benefits or if you have policies that blatantly discriminate against them. As someone reading this who is considering marketing to the LGBT community, make sure you are looking at the Corporate Equality Index. It will tell you a lot about the state of LGBT issues in Corporate America and make you much more educated and aware of the current climate.
p.s. If you are looking for more information about the HRC straight from the source you can check out my podcast interview with Liz Cooper who is the Manager of Corporate Programs, Workplace Project at the HRC. She has a “special focus on engaging new businesses to participate in the CEI survey, and also oversees the annual Buying for Workplace Equality Guide” as indicated on their website. Listen to the podcast here.