Richard Branson Knows Gay Is Good Business

AUSTRALIA-MALAYSIA-BRITAIN-AIRASIA-AUTO-PRIX-BRANSONYou can count Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group and billionaire four or five times over, on our side.

In a recent piece for Entrepreneur, the business magnate discusses the value of workplace diversity — specifically LGBT diversity — from economic and moral standpoints. And it’s not just Branson who thinks this way. It’s very encouraging to see this mindset becoming the norm in the business world, not the exception.

Here are some highlights:

On good business:

“Research shows that companies that have a diverse workforce have a distinct advantage…Discriminating against potential customers just makes no sense from an economic, or any, viewpoint.”

On workplace statistics:

“LGBT people working in unfriendly environments reported feeling depressed (34 percent), distracted (27 percent) and exhausted (23 percent), while those who reported feeling isolated at work were 73 percent more likely to say they were planning to leave their companies within three years. A company’s best assets are its people, and if a significant portion of them are getting ready to leave, that’s an emergency that needs your attention.”

On Russia:

“One country I have watched with increasing concern is Russia. In the years following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia liberalized some of its laws targeting gays – it decriminalized homosexual relationships in 1993 – and the country appeared to be on the road to equality. But now new laws have been introduced to intimidate and persecute gay people. Russian authorities have been denying permits for gay pride parades, and violence and crimes against LGBT Russians are on the rise. Activists have been arrested, and many are leaving the country. Russia is now ranked 49th on a list of 49 countries for LGBT protections.

Such backward changes are not only morally wrong, but will ultimately hurt even those who put them in place. When people work toward a common goal, they are driven, passionate and purposeful. This translates into harder work and more innovation. Fostering divisions in any group, no matter what the size, is never a productive policy.”