In November, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) earned a 100 percent perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index. IHG has been given this honor four years in a row, and this year, IHG was named the best place to work for LGBTQ equality. The survey rated more than 900 businesses and evaluated company practices relating to the LGBTQ community. LODGING spoke with Carole Angel, director of government affairs at IHG, about what it means to receive a perfect score.
Why is it important to IHG to create an inclusive environment?
Hospitality is the core of who we are as a global company. We are committed to providing true hospitality to everyone, meaning we make everyone feel welcomed and cared for, recognized and respected, whoever and wherever they are. We want to have a positive impact on the lives of everyone who interacts with IHG–guests and colleagues alike.
What are some specific IHG initiatives aimed at helping LGBTQ workers?
As part of the Human Rights Campaign’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act, IHG is one of 107 major companies that have officially endorsed the bipartisan Equality Act, which would provide protection to LGBT individuals that are provided to other protected groups under federal law. We’ve taken a leadership stance in working with legislatures at the state level to encourage an environment that’s business friendly and welcomes all.
We’ve also been committed to the advancement of the LGBT community on a local level. The IHG Out & Open Employee Resource Group leads initiatives around the company’s sponsorship of the annual Atlanta Pride Festival, which gathered support from more than 200 LGBT and ally colleagues across the country. In addition, IHG is a gold sponsor of the Georgia Diversity Council and a member of the National Diversity Council, the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and Georgia Prospers, a business leaders’ partnership that helps Georgia welcome all people.
Why is it important for hotels to be engaged in advocacy? What is their responsibility?
Advocacy is especially important for us given that the vast majority of IHG hotels in the Americas are independently owned and operated in almost every congressional district in the United States. We work together with our owners and industry partners to create a fair and supportive business environment for our hotels, many of which are operated by small business owners. Our success and the wellbeing of those who work in and around our hotels are closely linked. Our aim is to maximize the positive contribution we make by created shared value in our communities.