Case Studies: Our Examples Of Corporate LGBT Champions

Within corporate LGBT Diversity globally, the Managers of the LGBT Diversity Fund have found that certain companies show clear and convincing thought-leadership.  Such corporate ‘role model’ behaviour is manifested in a variety of ways, but common for all such companies is a clearly demonstrated commitment to effective internal policy implementation and external communication.

Sodexo   |    Barclays   |    IBM


Sodexo is a multi-national food services and facilities management company. It is one of the largest companies in the world within its specific sector, with headquarters on the outskirts of metropolitan Paris, France, its shares are traded on Euronext. Operating in approximately 80 countries, at over 33,000 individual sites, Sodexo serves some 75 million consumers each day. It is credited with its statements to acknowledge the extent to which its performance crucially depends on its ability to continuously develop and engage with its roughly 428,000 employees.1

Sodexo’s business and revenues enjoy a truly global spread.

Sodexo – Revenue by Region

Sodexo Revenue By Region

Source: Sodexo Fiscal 2013 Key Figures

Sodexo has repeatedly scored 100% in the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index rating and is widely regarded as one of the World’s genuine thought-leaders within Corporate LGBT Diversity. Supported by the Diversity Inc. Top 50, Sodexo Inc. was awarded 1st place in April 2013 due to “its on-going commitment to diversity, the engagement of its leadership and ability to implement, measure, and assess strong internal initiatives”. This echoed Sodexo’s own stated view of its “diverse workforce as a competitive advantage which has allowed it to retain clients and secure new business by sharing Diversity & Inclusion best practices as an added value to its clients and prospective customers”.

Sodexo’s public statements also include:

  • “By making the Company stronger, more innovative and closer to its consumers, diversity becomes a driver of competitiveness and economic performance”
  • “Sodexo promotes an inclusive environment for LGBT employees and strives to create a safe environment in which all employees can bring their whole self to work”

Among other key factors, the Manager credits Sodexo with its stated aim and ability to tie metrics to its Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) efforts and linking D&I to the Company’s goals and bottom line. We deem this vital factor to be a key deliverable in securing bottom line and equity value from D&I efforts.


Barclays is a significant multinational banking and financial services company, covering retail, wholesale and investment banking, as well as wealth management, mortgage lending and credit card services on a global scale. Barclays operates in over 50 territories and employs approximately 140,000 people, with headquarters in London, UK. Barclays’ shares are traded on the London and New York stock exchanges.

In the UK, Barclays ranks strongly in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index (WEI) and has been the only significant financial services organisation to be among the top 25 employers in the Stonewall WEI every year since its launch in 2005.[2]

2015 saw Barclays become one of eight winners of Stonewall’s 2015 STAR Award. This was the first year of the newly introduced STAR Award recognising the most LGBT-friendly corporate workplaces.

Barclays – Previous Stonewall Ranking

Source:  Stonewall

In 2011, Barclay’s Spectrum Employee Networks received a Stonewall ‘Network of the Year’ award in recognition of its positive impact across the company. In the US, its operations there were the first banking operations to equalise employee medical benefits for same-sex couples and Barclays is scoring 100% in the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index rating.

Barclays has stated the aim for its Spectrum Employee Networks “to partner with the business to generate ideas for continual improvement as well as facilitating the connection of LGBT employees and other colleagues”. This aim complements Barclays’ objective of securing “the best person for the job and its commitment to continuing to understand the changing needs of talent globally and creating an inclusive environment where that talent can thrive”.

Among other factors, the Manager credits Barclays with its visible efforts to furthering LGBT Diversity globally, e.g. through its sponsorship of Hong Kong’s Community Business’ “Hong Kong LGBT Climate Study 2011-12” and support of other Asia-based LGBT related efforts.  Similarly, the Manager views Barclays’ focus on Private Banking B2C business development through employing bankers dedicated to LGBT clients, as an indicator of the Company’s senior level recognition of the business potential offered by the LGBT client segment.


The International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is a multi-national technology services corporation ranking 20th in the Fortune 500 2013 listing.[3]  With headquarters based in New York, USA; IBM’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It is widely regarded as one of the World’s premier thought-leaders and educators within Corporate LGBT Diversity, as witnessed by its impressive number of LGBT awards and consistently high LGBT screen rankings:

  • Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index 2015 rating – 100% for the 13th consecutive year
  • Top ranking and one of eight Stonewall “STAR Award” recipients for 2015
  • Winner of the Stonewall Global Employer of the Year awards for both 2014 and 2013
  • Diversity Inc:
    • 2014: 23rd in the Top 50 (and 9th in the LGBT-specific Top 10)
    • 2013: 24th in the Top 50 (and 4th in the LGBT-specific Top 10)
    • 2012: 17th in the Top 50 (and 2nd in the LGBT-specific Top 10)
  • Australian Workplace Equality Index – joint 6th (2014)
  • Workplace Pride names IBM “the World’s most gay-friendly company” in October 2014

IBM has consistently supported LGBT Diversity in the workplace with LGBT Diversity promotion rhetoric and educational efforts, e.g. by sponsoring research, corporate conferences and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) globally (including in emerging markets) and through its external LGBT related partnerships which include Out & Equal, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Stonewall, Workplace Pride Platform and many others.

The Managers credit IBM for its sophisticated and globally-deployed internal approach to LGBT related Human Resource Management, including:

  •     Business (LGBT) Resource Groups and their Out Executives Community
  •     Straight Ally Certification
  •     LGBT Leadership Development Activities and LGBT Pipeline Identification
  •     Domestic Partner Benefits
  •     Monitoring Sexual Orientation (Voluntary Self-Identification)

Furthermore, the managers credit IBM with deploying influential thought-leadership within the Business Case for Corporate LGBT Diversity as a B2B business development tool (IBM was the first major corporation to set up a B2B LGBT business development team, in 2001), as well as for its annual Internal LGBT Leadership Development Conferences and external LGBT Leadership developments efforts. This includes the annual ‘Out & Equal Workplace Summit’ and sponsorship of UCLA Williams Institute’s LGBT related research.  Within Supplier Diversity, IBM has also been an influential thought-leader (a full time procurement director was appointed already in 1999 to focus on LGBT owned businesses).


* These case studies are examples produced by the Manager and the information provided by the Manager is based on its research from publicly available information.

[1] source: Sodexo Fiscal 2013 Key Figures

[2] Source: Barclays Bank PLC Annual Report 2012

[3] Source: CNN Money