How 8 Companies Support Their LGBTQIA+ Employees

There’s a lot companies can do to help support and empower their LGBTQIA+ employees and the communities they serve.
Adam Calica
March 28, 2021
Updated: May 24, 2021
Adam Calica
March 28, 2021
Updated: May 24, 2021

Although the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village didn’t start the gay rights movement, it certainly was an igniting force for LGBTQIA+ activism in the U.S. 

The riots, which stemmed from decades of discrimination toward members of the LGBTQ+ community, led to the formation of various gay rights organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and more. 

On June 28, 1970, the 1-year anniversary of the riots, thousands of people marched the streets of Manhattan from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park, officially marking the country’s very first Pride Parade. 

Now, over 50 years later, Pride is recognized, supported and celebrated all year long. And in the same U.S. city where so much progress has taken place, many companies today are taking action to build cultures and work environments where people of all backgrounds and identities feel valued, included and heard. 

Below are just a few of those companies. Built In connected with leaders from eight companies to learn what they’re doing to foster an environment where everyone feels welcome and supported. 

Companies That Support LGBTQ+ Employees

  • Fetch Rewards
  • Cloud Guru
  • Addepar
  • Skillshare
  • Harry's Inc.
  • White Ops
  • Getty Images
  • Qualtrics

 

 

 

Fetch Rewards

Diana Mudenda

INCLUSION SPECIALIST

Diana Mudenda

Internally, what does your company do to support LGBTQIA+ employees? 

At Fetch, we deeply value the diverse experiences, perspectives and ideas that make up our community. Because of that, we’re committed to diversity, equality and inclusion every day and in everything we do.

Fetch is proud to be an equal employment opportunity employer. We do not discriminate based on race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, political views or any other applicable legally protected characteristics.

Crowd-Favorite Benefits

  • An LGBTQ+ employee resource group that provides a safe space and fosters community for LGBTQ+ employees within the company
  • A wellness coach that specializes in overall health
  • Unlimited PTO and flexible scheduling
  • Access to a D&I learning software

 

How do you work with LGBTQIA+ employees to ensure they feel supported in the workplace?

Our approach to maintaining an inclusive workspace is an intersectional one! We encourage people to be who they are and prioritize respectful and empathetic dialogue. Additionally, we provide resources that allow people the ability to self-educate around issues of diversity and inclusion at any level.

At Fetch, we deeply value the diverse experiences, perspectives and ideas that make up our community.”


Our LGBTQ+ employee resource group functions as a safe space that allows our LGBTQ+ employees the ability to amplify their voices, feel heard, supported and be a part of a community.

 

Addepar

Christy Hastings

SENIOR SOLUTIONS CONSULTANT

Christy Hastings

As a way to help LGBTQIA+ employees feel supported at work all year long, Addepar, a fintech software company, offers a variety of training programs and resources, Senior Solutions Consultant Christy Hastings said. But in honor of Pride Month last year, they sent rainbow-filled boxes to employees.

 

Internally, what does your company do to support LGBTQIA+ employees? 

At Addepar, we embrace a culture of acceptance and have the full support of leadership. We’ve formed an AddePride affinity group, run by members of our LGBTQIA+ community and allies. The AddePride mission is to provide an inclusive environment that encourages Addepeeps to bring their true authentic selves to work daily, and to foster an accepting environment within the firm, in our communities and in our interactions with clients. Approximately 25 percent of the Addepar community is active in the AddePride affinity group.

For new parents, Addepar offers a generous 10 weeks of caregiver leave regardless of employee gender, tenure or how the child is welcomed into the family. We also offer a variety of training programs throughout the year to help promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

And you can’t forget the swag. Last year, we sent rainbow-filled boxes to our AddePride members to celebrate Pride!

 

How do you work with LGBTQIA+ employees to ensure they feel supported in the workplace?

Each year, Addepar conducts an engagement survey to anonymously gauge satisfaction within the workplace. This offers all employees the opportunity to share their true thoughts on the Addepar culture. To further support LGBTQIA+ employees, the AddePride affinity group sponsors a multitude of events year-round, which are open to everyone. The diverse range includes happy hours, story time for those with children, fundraisers, Peloton group rides, movie-of-the-week suggestions, blog posts, songs of the summer, town hall presentations, an employee-curated art gallery, educational facts and figures and more. We obviously know how to have fun.

The AddePride mission is to provide an inclusive environment that encourages Addepeeps to bring their true authentic selves to work daily.”

 

In addition to events, Addepeeps are encouraged to participate in the AddePride Slack channel and provide feedback in AddePride-sponsored surveys. Finally, as part of the AddePride 2021 kickoff, subcommittees were created to allow all Addepeeps to feel more empowered and involved in the idea generation and planning.

 

Externally, how does your company support the LGBTQIA+ community?

In 2020, AddePride adapted to the rise of remote events and completed two fundraising events to benefit the LGBTQIA+ community. The AddePride team raised $2,863 for AIDS Walk NYC by virtually walking to support the cause. In November, we celebrated Transgender Awareness week — in partnership with our BOLD affinity group — raising $1,360 to benefit the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, with the help of employee-donated raffle prizes. We are currently in the planning phases for additional community outreach activities, including a virtual volunteer opportunity and fundraising event for 2021.

 

Skillshare

Elise Felker

SENIOR PEOPLE OPERATIONS MANAGER

Elise Felker

As part of its efforts to ensure LGBTQIA+ employees feel supported in the workplace, education technology platform Skillshare launched a LGBTQIA+ employee resource group. Senior People Operations Manager Elise Felker said that the focus of the ERG is to highlight the intersectionality of identity.

 

Internally, what does your company do to support LGBTQIA+ employees?

At Skillshare, we strive to create both a diverse and inclusive company, where each person feels like they can bring their whole self to work. As part of this effort, we provide guidance around creating ERGs, in which team members decide to come together around a shared identity or background.

We offer an LGBTQIA+ ERG that creates a safe space for LGBTQIA+ employees to come together and build community. This was our first ERG that launched and it’s paved the way for others. A big focus of our LGBTQIA+ ERG is to highlight the intersectionality of identity, often partnering with other ERGs and allies across the organization. Pride is a staple cultural moment for the Skillshare team annually, with programming, initiatives and resources that empower the team to share in the celebration of Pride. Last year’s signature Pride event featured a special guest, a top contender on season 13 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

We also have communication guidelines and norms in place (i.e. Slack code of conduct) to ensure we’re using inclusive language in the workplace. We’re big believers in adding our pronouns to our Slack handles as well as email signatures.

 

How do you work with LGBTQIA+ employees to ensure they feel supported in the workplace?

Our LGBTQIA+ ERG is paired with an executive sponsor to act as a mentor and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community at Skillshare. The people operations team also meets with the leaders of our ERGs on a routine basis to cross-share initiatives and feedback.

To protect the privacy of folks who are not out within the organization, we provide anonymous and non-anonymous forums for feedback through surveys, office hours and live discussions and workshops that are optional to attend.

We also have communication guidelines and norms in place to ensure we’re using inclusive language in the workplace.”

 

In 2021, we are launching a DE&I Council that will aim to bridge the gap between people operations and ERGs. In an effort to make DE&I stick, our goal is to create more visibility around the day-to-day experience for underrepresented or minority employees, carve out paths for feedback and clear lanes for collective action across the organization.

 

Externally, how does your company support the LGBTQIA+ community?

During Pride Month, we highlight the voices of our LGBTQIA+ teacher community — allowing our entire community of Skillshare students and employees alike to see how identity and expression impact creativity.

RelatedThese 4 Tech Companies Discuss Their Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

 

Harry's Inc.

Nick Jones

SR. MANAGER, PRODUCTION & HARRY'S PRIDE ERG LEADER

Nick Jones

To support and empower its LGBTQIA+ employees, consumer packaged goods company Harry’s offers progressive benefits policies that are available to employees of all genders and sexual identities and extend to employees’ spouses and domestic partners of any gender, Senior Production Manager and Pride ERG Leader Nick Jones said. The company’s medical insurance also includes coverage for gender affirmation surgery. 

 

Internally, what does your company do to support LGBTQIA+ employees?

Harry’s has great benefits for all employees and we are proud to offer progressive benefits policies that are available to employees of all genders and sexual identities. For example, Harry’s parental leave policy applies equally to employees of all genders and all paths to parenthood.

Our health benefits (medical, mental health, dental and vision) extend to employees’ spouses and domestic partners of any gender. We have chosen medical insurance that includes coverage for gender affirmation surgery. We also have a healthcare concierge service that can help employees navigate the healthcare system and manage their individual needs.

 

How do you work with LGBTQIA+ employees to ensure they feel supported in the workplace?

Harry’s believes in the value of bringing individuals from all walks of life together and strives to have inclusive, equalizing policies.

Our hiring and anti-harassment policies include protections for people of all gender expressions and sexual identities. In 2019, we worked with our building and neighboring office tenants to change our floor’s restrooms to all-gender.

We have a Pride employee resource group for LGBTQ employees and our allies. The Pride group provides a sense of community as well as works to create development opportunities for its members and influence company policy.

And in general, Harry’s fosters a progressive culture that values intersectionality and encourages employees to bring their full selves to work.

 

Externally, how does your company support the LGBTQIA+ community?

Harry’s sets aside 1 percent of sales each year to donate to organizations that share our ambition to bring quality mental health care to people everywhere — one group we specifically work to benefit is the LGBTQ community.

Harry’s believes in the value of bringing individuals from all walks of life together and strives to have inclusive, equalizing policies.”

 

Every June since 2018, we’ve created a limited-edition Pride razor and donated 100 percent of the profits to The Trevor Project, the nation’s leading crisis intervention and suicide prevention service for LGBTQ youth. To date, those donations have totaled over $300,000.

Harry’s has also taken a holistic, year-round approach to partnering with The Trevor Project by providing support to the organization’s crisis counselor training program, allowing them to reach hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ youth every year.

 

Getty Images

Kirstin Benson

VP, GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT, EDITORIAL CONTENT

Kirstin Benson

Getty Images is a visual content company that supplies stock images, editorial photography, video and music for businesses and consumers. As a way to support its LGBTQIA+ employees, Benson said that the company’s D&I (diversity and inclusion) team hosts monthly sessions for employees to enhance their knowledge, skills and awareness of D&I-related issues. 

 

Internally, what does your company do to support LGBTQIA+ employees? 

As a company, we’re committed to living by a set of leadership principles, one of which is, “We are inclusive of different voices, perspectives and experiences.” These principles are paramount to our culture and define our behavior and interactions as individuals, as well as how we conduct ourselves as a business. 

Inclusivity and support for LGBTQIA+ employees are manifested through a variety of avenues. For example, over the last year, we’ve updated our internal tools and expanded our demographic options so people can express their identities, as well as opt in to add their pronouns. We’re also building an internal library of resources focusing on the intersectionality across LGBTQIA+ and racial identities, which will be shared and promoted during local and regional Pride months to promote company-wide awareness and fluency. These are just a smattering of the benefits and resources that Getty Images offers, and we also have generous benefits when it comes to family planning.

Our D&I Global Advisory Committee advises, audits and holds leadership accountable to ensure our LGBTQIA+ employees feel seen, heard and respected.”

 

How do you work with LGBTQIA+ employees to ensure they feel supported in the workplace? 

Our D&I team hosts monthly open sessions that are held globally (and now virtually) for employees to enhance their knowledge, skill and awareness of D&I-related issues among our colleagues, share topical resources, and build relationships and best practices by region. We also have an engaged LGBTQIA+ employee resource group made up of a diverse, globally-representative group of employees from the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies. 

In addition to ERGs, our D&I Global Advisory Committee — which is comprised of regional employee representatives — advises, audits and holds leadership accountable to ensure Getty Images is the best place to work and its employees feel seen, heard and respected.

 

Externally, how does your company support the LGBTQIA+ community?

Getty Images is consistently seeking to improve the visual representation of historically underrepresented communities on a global scale, which includes the LGBTQIA+ community. Most recently, we launched a formal partnership with GLAAD through which we will develop a series of guidelines that will address each group individually to help our photographers, customers and team members better understand the nuances within the broader LGBTQIA+ community.

Our first collaboration, in fact, was around depicting the transgender community authentically and respectfully, but there’s much more on the horizon! We also collaborate regularly with LGBTQIA+ organizations around the world and serve as their official photography partners, from Pride in London to the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

 

Qualtrics

Garritt Chrzanowski

PARTNER DELIVERY MANAGER AND Q PRIDE GLOBAL LEAD

Garritt Chrzanowski

Through its proprietary experience management software platform, Qualtrics helps brands continually assess the quality of their four core experiences: customers, employees, products and brands. As a way to support and empower its LGBTQIA+ employees, Chrzanowski said that the company covers the costs associated with gender reassignment as well as expanded its definitions for fertility coverage. 

 

Internally, what does your company do to support LGBTQIA+ employees? 

From a benefits perspective, Qualtrics takes a strong effort to treat all employees equally. We cover gender reassignment and have expanded definitions for the fertility coverage offered. From a program perspective, our founder Ryan Smith is adamant about making sure everyone is included in the Qualtrics family. We give Pride t-shirts out to all employees in the company and provide various awareness training to all employees.

The main purpose of our Pride ERG is to attract, retain and ensure that our LGBTQIA+ talent feels safe and heard in the office.”


How do you work with LGBTQIA+ employees to ensure they feel supported in the workplace? 

I lead our Qualtrics Pride employee resource group globally. Our main purpose is to attract, retain and ensure that our LGBTQIA+ talent feels safe and heard in the office. There is an executive sponsor in each global region as well as office leads in our main offices. I have a direct line into our DE&I Council and senior executives to bubble up any issues we are seeing globally.

 

Externally, how does your company support the LGBTQIA+ community?

Our company is a large sponsor of Encircle and the Loveloud Foundation. Both of these charities focus on decreasing the teen suicide rate. Every year, our founder buys 1,000 tickets to the Loveloud concert series for Qualtrics employees to bring awareness to teen suicide and raise money to support therapy and safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community.

 

cloud guru
Cloud Guru

A Cloud Guru

Lorraine Vargas Townsend

CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER

With a mission to “teach the world to cloud,” A Cloud Guru offers hands-on courses for consumers and companies to teach people the skills they need to work with AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and more.

 

Internally, what does A Cloud Guru do to support LGBTQIA+ employees? 

The main thing we offer is an environment that focuses on inclusion and belonging from the executive level all the way down to the associate level. As a queer executive and ACG’s chief people officer, I’m committed to working tirelessly until just practices are widespread. My team is set up to review all of our internal practices for equality and inclusion and rally on areas where we can do better. We’re focusing on diversity but also focusing on what happens after you work here: Do you feel invited? Do you have fair pay? And do all people get promoted without bias? 

Additionally, we offer benefits like $10,000 for eligible adoption expenses and similar to our gender-neutral parental leave policy, adopters can take 12 weeks off to spend time with their new family.

 

How do you work with LGBTQIA+ employees to ensure they feel supported in the workplace?

Representation matters. I hope that our employees see me out and proud as an advocate for them. I know that I would have loved to see that in my career.  

Our employees self-organized to create an amazing resource group called A Proud Guru. LGBTQIA+ employees and allies joined forces to raise money, educate each other on wins in their community and genuinely celebrate each other. It’s interesting being a part of a global community, because each country is facing its own unique challenges.

Representation matters. I hope that our employees see me out and proud, and as an advocate for them.”

 

In June, we celebrated World Pride Month by throwing our own virtual Pride week. We had a Pride virtual overhaul by adding our pronouns to Slack, launching awesome Zoom backgrounds, and even asked the families to join in by coloring pieces of art to share their love and show support. Later on in the year, to celebrate our value “keep it fun,” we hosted Sangria-making with drag queens in Portugal. We danced, cheered, made delicious drinks and had a genuinely fun time.

I truly believe A Cloud Guru can be the most diverse and inclusive tech company on the planet. I’m proud to have a part in writing that story.

 

whiteops
WHITEOPS

White Ops

Megan Baker

SVP, CUSTOMER SUCCESS OPERATIONS

To help LGBTQIA+ employees feel supported in the workplace, security software company White Ops launched Pride Ops, an ERG focused on LGBTQIA+ employees and allies. SVP of Customer Success Operations Megan Baker said that the group has a dedicated group chat to plan events and share resources. Pride Ops has also hosted a handful events in conjunction with National Coming Out Day.

 

Internally, what does your company do to support LGBTQIA+ employees?

While we do not have benefits carved out specifically for our LGBTQIA+ population, all employees have access to health coverage through Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, dental and vision coverage through Guardian, refinancing options through SoFi, gym reimbursement, pet insurance, travel assistance, discount program through SmartSpend, a company-sponsored Talkspace account, unlimited PTO and an employee COVID-19 reimbursement for internet and weekly lunch.   

We offer quarterly all-company training on topics of diversity and inclusion, ranging from recognizing unconscious bias to building ally skills.”

 

How do you work with LGBTQIA+ employees to ensure they feel supported in the workplace?

Two years ago we launched our Pride Ops group here at White Ops, an ERG focused on our LGBTQIA+ population and allies.   

Since inception, the group has hosted a handful of events including an internal conversation of personal stories in conjunction with National Coming Out Day as well as a talk with external guests about the transgender experience in the workplace. The group has a dedicated chat group within our inter-office communications tool which is used for planning of group events, sharing access to resources, articles or to simply vent in a safe place. White Ops also offers quarterly all company training on topics of diversity and inclusion, ranging from recognizing unconscious bias to building ally skills.

 

Externally, how does your company support the LGBTQIA+ community?

Pride Ops has participated in the NYC Pride Parade and looks forward to finding additional ways to support the LGBTQIA+ community in the future.

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Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images were provided by featured companies.

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