HRC -- the largest U.S. civil-rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees -- selected BCG because of the success of its "People Development Initiative," a program of training, development support, and mentorship for LGBT employees. The initiative seeks to advance two key business goals for the firm:
- Enhance employees' capabilities within an environment that allows every individual to be his or her true self
- Ensure that BCG retains top talent who bring diverse perspectives to complex business problems
"What makes BCG's initiative so innovative and unique is the degree to which it takes a holistic approach to career development and affiliation," said Daryl Herrschaft, director of the HRC's Workplace Project, which administers the award. "We applaud BCG for developing such a forward-thinking program that enhances LGBT workplace inclusion."
As part of the People Development Initiative, BCG's LGBT Network holds regular workshops led by senior management to address the development needs of its members. Network leaders are assigned mentees to facilitate regularly scheduled and tailored discussions and performance reviews. Peer-to-peer learning is encouraged through the use of a detailed "experience database" that identifies LGBT employees with relevant expertise. All of this support supplements the firm's standard career-development activities and aims to increase the likelihood of promotion among LGBT employees.
In addition, the network ensures affiliation by hosting formal and informal local, regional, and global meetings; by providing recognition of accomplishments; by keeping the group connected (for example, through an intranet and online newsletters), and by creating a role for all of its members to help build and strengthen the network.
The program's impact to date has been impressive: The LGBT Network grew at a double- digit rate in 2009 and 2010 and retained more than 90 percent of its members. Well over one-quarter of its members have received a promotion since 2009, including strong gains made in middle-management roles last year. Members report that the network is a highly valued asset because of the affiliation and career development it provides.
"While other firms leverage LGBT groups to provide mentorship, the People Development Initiative is about much more than that," said Tom Wurster, a San Francisco-based senior partner who coleads BCG's LGBT Network. "It's about helping our LGBT employees thrive personally and professionally through holistic support. We think it can offer valuable lessons for other companies."
Indeed, BCG recently worked with a consumer goods company to help launch a similar initiative. "The company reported that the most valuable resources we provided were our guiding principles, activity list, and timeline of interactions," said Wurster. "These enabled the company to customize our original approach to accommodate its organizational needs."
BCG is the first consulting firm to receive the Workplace Equality Innovation Award since the honor was first presented in 2009. An external panel of judges selects two recipients each year. This year's winners, BCG and Goldman Sachs, will be honored at an awards ceremony March 23 at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.
Rich Lesser, BCG's Chairman of North and South America, said, "We are thrilled to receive this honor. We believe strongly that diversity in all its forms creates stronger, more dynamic teams and provides unique perspectives and opportunities for both clients and staff."
The Workplace Equality Award is the latest in a series of recognitions that BCG has received for its progressive programs and policies. Last year, the firm earned a perfect score on the HRC Foundation's Corporate Equality Index for the fourth year in a row. And this year, BCG ranked second on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list, making the firm one of only two companies to place within the top dozen for six consecutive years.
In January, BCG became one of the first consultancies to offer LGBT employees reimbursement for federal taxes levied on health benefits for same-sex domestic partners. The policy took effect January 1, 2011.
About The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients in all sectors and regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their businesses. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 71 offices in 41 countries. For more information, visit www.bcg.com.