DE&I

How Sephora achieved 14% LGBTQ+ representation

The company credits its ERG and partnerships with LGBTQ+ organizations for its success.
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Illustration: Anna Kim, Photo: Getty Images

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Sephora is, for many consumers, synonymous with beauty—and for feeding into our their desires to keep up with the latest trends, from red blush to bronzing drops.

It has also become a go-to for workers in the LGBTQ+ community. Sephora’s VP of DE&I George-Axelle Broussillon Matschinga recently told HR Brew how the company’s benefits and culture have helped it achieve LGBTQ+ representation that’s nearly twice the national rate.

Barriers to employment. While the majority of Fortune 500 companies have policies that protect against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, 41% of US workers who identify as LGBTQ+ still face discrimination at work, according to a recent Randstad report. They’re also more likely to be unemployed or underemployed and earn less than non-LGBTQ+ workers.

A fall survey from Out and Equal, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ inclusion at work, found that roughly one-quarter of LGBTQ+ workers said they’ve heard jokes about their community at work. This may be part of why just one-half are comfortable disclosing their sexuality or gender identity to colleagues, Randstad found.

However, employers that make a concerted effort to improve LGBTQ+ inclusion may have more success recruiting and retaining talent from the community, according to EY’s 2024 LGBTQ+ workplace barometer.

Sephora’s approach. Of Sephora’s 22,000 workers across 500 US stores, 14% identify as LGBTQ+, as compared to 7.8% of US adults overall. The company prides itself on the way in which it has woven inclusion into all aspects of its business, from the messaging on its website to the diversity depicted on its social media. It was named a leader in LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation this year.

Broussillon Matschinga told HR Brew that while her team of DE&I practitioners sits within the HR function, the company inclusion is a business-wide effort.

“We are an employer of choice; we strive to be an employer of choice for all,” Broussillon Matschinga said. “We [give] specific attention to different underrepresented or historically marginalized groups.”

Sephora offers inclusive health benefits, like transition care, and has an LGBTQ+-focused ERG called Sephora Prism, which hosts a speaker series and helps with professional development. “It creates safe spaces…it’s both supporting from a social [and] emotional standpoint.”

Outside the office, Sephora partners and encourages employees to volunteer with organizations such as the Trevor Project, which works to reduce suicides within the LGBTQ+ community. Its employees have also provided beauty services to people at the San Francisco Trans March, and its stores have served as designated “safe spaces” to promote self-expression during Pride Month.

Broussillon Matschinga said that these efforts have helped to create a culture of belonging and to make employees feel comfortable disclosing their identity. “Our employees feel comfortable self-disclosing, which is a very good testament…[that Sephora ise] an inclusive employer creating these safe spaces, so that everyone can bring their whole self to work.”

Correction 06/28/24: This piece has been updated to reflect that Sephora has 22,000 employees in the US.

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.