Many companies around the world have been incorporating diversity and inclusion into their vision and growth strategies in the past couple of years. Business leaders have now been able to recognise that a diverse and inclusive employee base is an asset that would help them compete in a volatile and unpredictable time.
When competing in a fast-moving globalised economy, with regulatory pressure, media scrutiny, and diverse approaches in managing a business, it is essential to make sustainable progress in matters of D&I. However, one of the challenging areas is inclusion programs for the LGBTQ+ community.
The Australian Workplace Equality Index provides the national benchmark on LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion. It helps to drive best practices for employers across all sectors. It conducts the only nationwide survey of employees across companies to gauge the overall impact of inclusion initiatives on organisational culture.
Keeping with the pace, there are many organisations that have begun to celebrate diversity. Here are some interesting programs launched by companies to celebrate:
For KPMG, diversity and inclusion are both a business and moral imperative. Pride is KPMG Australia’s longest-standing employee inclusion network that proudly supports the redress of remaining inequalities that the LGBTQ+ community faces. Passionately building on the inclusion commitment, KPMG enables people to bring their authentic selves to work.
The company also conducts regular events including IDAHOBIT, Wear it Purple and Mardi Gras. The Pride for Women initiative is also committed to raising the visibility of LGBTQ+ women. The Trans and Gender Diverse Network helps to create better workplace support for trans and gender diverse people. The company also participates in the Australian Workplace Equality Index. This year KPMG was awarded with Gold Employer tier in the AWEI. In fact, the Pride@KPMG initiative was a winner of ‘Network of the Year’ award.
PostPride network of LGBTI+ employees at Australia Post
In their journey of supporting and welcoming people of any sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status, Australia Post’s network of LGBTQ+ employees and allies has grown over the past few years to hundreds of people. Through the program of PostPride, they support events such as:
Midsumma Festival in Victoria – Queer artists from across the country showcase their personal and political perspectives of the world through visual arts.
International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) - LGBTIAQ+ communities and their allies celebrate International Day Against IDAHOBIT on 17 May each year.
Wear It Purple Day – The annual LGBTQIA+ awareness day is celebrated especially for young people.
Gender Affirmation Policy @ Woolworths Group
This year, Woolworths Group was awarded Gold Tier status for LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion in the Australian LGBTQ Inclusion Awards for the fourth consecutive year. Achieving Gold Tier status for four consecutive years means they are now a Platinum Qualifier employer and are set to embark on an AWEI Platinum Project. This project is expected to run for two years and the goal is to be awarded Platinum Tier employer status upon its completion.
In 2018, Woolworths Group introduced the Gender Affirmation Policy to improve support for transitioning members. The company also announced the incorporation of a paid leave component into their existing policy. Team members will receive up to two weeks’ paid, and two weeks’ unpaid leave to support them as they take necessary steps to affirm their gender, a first for Australian and New Zealand retailers.
Reckitt’s LGBTQI+ Employee Resource Group
Reckitt understands that each individual has their own unique story and perspective shaped by their own experiences. With the aim to provide a work environment that is inclusive and supportive of all employees across the spectrum of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status, Reckitt is making efforts to eradicate discrimination of any form towards LGBTQ+ colleagues. To empower their LGBTQ+ workforce, they have the LGBTQI+ Employee Resource Group in place. This helps to mobilise a strong network of allies from around the globe.
Reckitt holds forums for people to come together and discuss key topics, including what needs to change in society and at work to empower the community. In fact, Reckitt also celebrates LGBTQI+ History Month with members of the transgender community to educate others on inclusive language and behaviours.
Progressive companies are going beyond the traditional approach to D&I. But it’s time for others to also enable equality, promote openness, foster belonging and celebrate diversity in all forms.