Perspectives: Patsy Doerr

Patsy Doerr

Global Head of Corporate Responsibility & Inclusion

 

 

We need to be out there taking a clear position on this issue.

 

One of the things which struck me when I joined Thomson Reuters is that, by the nature of what we do, we are diverse. With a presence in one hundred countries, we’re so global in our reach. We’re providing information and news daily to so many different types of industries, corporations, governments. So the very nature of what we do involves bringing diversity of experience, skills and thought to the table.

 

In Thomson Reuters our diversity strategy is broad; it includes gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation and in the past few years there’s been a strong focus on the LGBT community. For us, it’s about creating an environment that allows everybody to be open – speak openly – about who they are and what they represent: we want to provide access to everyone.

 

At the same time, we need to be out there taking a clear position on this issue. As an organization, we have been bold in this space; we have played a very active role. In the US we supported the marriage equality act a year and a half ago and now it’s come through into legislation. On a global basis, we continue to have conversations with our partners around the globe about how to handle risks for the LGBT community.

 

A few years ago we began to explore the business case of diversity and inclusion. We know from research that we’ve done over the past few years that when people feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work – who they are and as they are – their engagement with the organization increases. We know that diversity positively impacts employee engagement and we have seen that when you have employee engagement, retention goes up as a result and similar results come up in recruitment: people want to work with companies that care about diversity and inclusion.

 

Then there’s the question of customer loyalty and the buying power of certain communities. We have done a lot of research on the buying power – and the decision making around buying power – of women on a global basis has increased and will continue to increase dramatically over the coming years. Now we are seeing the same thing with the LGBT community: the economic power of LGBT people is considerable and should not be ignored. This is a community of people who have the means to contribute to economic growth and the growth of cities, which are places which support a properly diverse and inclusive environment.

 

For any company, this issue leads to the question of how a management team can help to provide that diverse and inclusive environment in the workplace that allows people to be successful in their career. There is a real passion and commitment in Thomson Reuters to get this right. We want to be part of the dialog about the connection between diversity and the bottom line. That is what Open For Business is aiming to achieve, and why are involved: it is a way of bringing organizations together to make progress on inclusion around the world.