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Out Leadership releases first-of-its-kind research on LGBTQ+ allyship in the workplace and the impact of remote work

NEW YORK, June 24, 2020 -- Out Leadership, the premier global network for LGBTQ+ business leaders and companies, today launches AllyUp: Ally is a Verb. This first-of-its-kind research study was completed over the past 18 months in collaboration with Out Leadership member firm FCB with support from Ernst & Young LLP (EY). The launch is a core component of Out Leadership's groundbreaking month of pride events, "Proudly Resilient."

Historically, allyship has referred to the ways that non-marginalized communities stood up for and supported the needs and voices of those at the margins. The learnings this research illuminated is true across all of the conversations around racism, nationalism, xenophobia and more: Allyship is authentic when it is centered on education, action and amplifying the needs and voices of the community it seeks to support. Today, allyship is more important and relevant than ever.

Out Leadership Founder and CEO Todd Sears said, "Allyship must be a verb. Our research shows us that the gap exists between intention and action, and at Out Leadership we hope that by measuring the gap, we can collectively work to address it."

"I hope the findings of AllyUp motivate companies to actively engage their LGBTQ+ allies," said Rich Jeanneret, Vice Chair, East Region Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP and Out Leadership Global Advisory Board member. "At EY, we believe diversity and inclusiveness are everyone's responsibility. Allyship should create environments where people feel not just supported, but like they truly belong and can flourish with pride."

View the full report here.

"I am incredibly proud of the first-of-its-kind research we've conducted in partnership with Out Leadership," said Vita Harris, FCB Chief Strategy Officer. "Now, more than ever, it is important to not only call attention to inconsistencies in allyship, but also to pay it forward by giving allies what they need to support marginalized communities and actively engage them in the fight for equality. AllyUp will be this tool."

AllyUp uncovers the impact of allyship on the experience of LGBTQ+ individuals in the workplace and unpacks the inconsistency between identification and action. Drawing on the responses of more than 5,000 survey participants, AllyUp reveals a profound gap between stated allyship and resulting action.

Key findings include:

  • While 83% of employees support workplace and state protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, only 56% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents identify as allies.
  • Further, only 45% of self-identified allies actively protect their LGBTQ+ colleagues from harassment in the workplace.
  • 47% have experienced microaggressions at work and as a result 70% engage in covering behaviors.
  • Though a majority of those surveyed identified as allies, 66% of LGBTQ+ employees say that they cover their identity at least some of the time or in front of some coworkers or clients.
  • Allies are an important and influential component and our previous research finds that
  • 78% of LGBTQ+ people and their friends, family, and relatives would switch to brands that are known to be LGBTQ+ friendly.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Out Leadership and FCB Global conducted additional surveys and analysis to understand the impact of work from home on both allyship and the LGBTQ+ population.

Key post-COVID-19 findings include:

  • 93% of those surveyed believe their companies will return to work as committed or more committed to equality in the workplace.
  • However, allies' perception of their companies' inclusiveness differs from that of their LGBTQ+ colleagues: straight allies view their companies as more inclusive by over 10% compared to their LGBTQ+ identified counterparts.
  • This suggests that LGBTQ+ colleagues are not experiencing the safety and inclusion that their straight ally colleagues perceive.

On June 25 at 12 pm EST, Out Leadership Founder & CEO Todd Sears will formally launch the research in a live webcast with guest speakers from FCB Global and EY.  The speakers will explore the key findings and discuss the collective call to action for LGBTQ+ allies in the workplace. Click here to register.

About Out Leadership

Out Leadership is the oldest and largest global LGBTQ+ business advisory that partners with the world's most influential companies to build business opportunities, cultivate talent, and drive LGBTQ+ equality forward. We believe that LGBTQ+ inclusion positively impacts business results, and that including LGBTQ+ people at the most senior level of executive leadership builds business. We call this idea Return on Equality™.

Comprised of 84 global member firms and dedicated to cross-industry collaboration, Out Leadership is a certified B Corporation. Out Leadership convenes CEOs, business leaders and allies at exclusive invitation-only events across 4 continents. Out Leadership also operates three talent initiatives: Quorum, which aims to increase LGBTQ+ representation on corporate boards; OutNEXT, the first global talent development program for emerging LGBTQ+ leaders; and OutWOMEN, connecting senior-level LGBTQ+ women in business.

About FCB

FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding) is a global, award-winning and fully integrated marketing communications company with a heritage of creativity and success dating from 1873. Named Cannes Lions 2019 North American Creative Agency of the Year and a 2019 & 2020 Ad Age A-List global top 10, FCB focuses on creating "Never Finished" campaign ideas that have the power to transform brands, businesses and communities. With more than 8,000 people in 109 operations in 80 countries, the company is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies. Visit or follow @FCBglobal on Instagram and Twitter and FCB Global on Facebook.

SOURCE Out Leadership