Despite the global shift towards a more inclusive community embracing diversity, only over half of organisations tailored their policies to specifically accommodate lesbian gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees, says a recent study by Mercer.

“With all the uncertainty of the past year and the spotlight on human rights issues, it is more important than ever for organisations to reassess their position on LGBT-rights issues,” said Ilya Bonic, president of Mercer’s Career business.

In the study that covered 50 countries across the globe, researchers noted that about two-thirds of global corporations have a separate anti-discrimination policy that includes LGBT employees, and an additional 6% plan to adopt such a policy within the next year.

The findings revealed that one-third of firms that embrace diversity and inclusion policies do not have a designated programme for LGBT employees, while another fifth of organisations look to other corporate policies to cover LGBT staff.

Only a minority (28%) of organisations allow their employees to self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender for the purposes of workforce analytics.

About 8 in 10 companies worldwide extend the same life, medical, and retirement benefits to LGBT couples.

Mr Bonic believed that “in the global war for top talent, companies perceived as non-discriminatory and progressive enhance their attractiveness as a workplace by creating a welcoming, supportive, and productive environment”.

Firms who do not provide equal coverage to these employees felt they were limited by national laws, and half of firms in the study cited this as a reason while a third said that they faced cultural and societal constraints as well as the company’s inability to implement the inclusion policies.

“Adapting current policies or introducing LGBT-related policies is important to attract and retain employees as well as labels the brand a responsible corporate citizen. With many LGBT rights in parts of Asia still developing, when compared to the West, this can be a key differentiator to organisations as well as for employees looking for new roles in Asia as it allows employees to ‘be themselves’ and feel accepted into an organisation,” said Godelieve Van Dooren, regional benefits leader at Mercer.