BY Alex Davidson
September 15 2009 9:00 AM ET
Adopt a family-minded mentality.
The era of hiding a family portrait in one’s office desk drawer—rather than proudly displaying it on a desktop—is quickly fading. As gay workers with spouses and children become more willing to talk about their families to colleagues, companies have an added responsibility to ensure a supportive atmosphere.
In 1992, Levi Strauss became the first Fortune 500 company to extend partner benefits to its LGBT employees, and it has since kept pace with progressive policies in the apparel world and beyond. Levi’s offers each of its 10,000 employees a $3,000 credit per child toward eligible adoption expenses as well as a backup child care program that employees can use if they have difficulties making their own arrangements. “While we can’t put a number on it, we hear from recruiters that this commitment makes a huge difference for potential employees,” a company spokeswoman says.
Credit Suisse offers two programs for new mothers and fathers—gay or straight—in which participants discuss issues like family leave time, parenting, adoption, and child care options. Credit Suisse’s goal is to have all employees go through LGBT-focused trainings by the end of next year, says Todd Sears, Credit Suisse’s director of diversity and inclusion. “I think that’s one of the best ways I’ve seen to make sure that the corporate policies translate directly into corporate actions and an inclusive culture.”