BY BARBARA FRANKEL
We are canvassing for global LGBT (lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender) networks in order to
launch our first global LGBT group in a European
country. Can you help us?
The criteria on exclusion varies, but
50 percent exclude types of workers from
participation—contractors, in most cases.
Forty-five percent have different policies for
hourly and salaried workers on participation. Most of those that allow hourly-work-er participation often require supervisor
permission if during work hours, will not
pay overtime for time spent on ERGs, or
will only allow those who take on leadership positions at ERGs to participate during
work hours. Many of these companies
also work to educate the managers of the
hourly/union workers on the importance of
allowing them the flexibility to participate.
A handful of companies have been
participation and engagement and are
publicizing the results internally and on
DiversityIncBestPractices.com. This has
an energizing effect on employees and
enhances their involvement, especially in
leadership roles. Case studies and contact information for these companies are
available to DiversityInc Benchmarking
customers. For more information, contact
Our global research indicates that only a handful of companies actually have global LGBT employee- resource groups. Sixty-eight percent of The 2011 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity report
having global employee-resource groups, but in 90 percent of
the cases, these groups are aimed at women, the most common denominator for a traditionally underrepresented group.
Companies that have started LGBT outreach through employee
groups include Merck & Co. (No. 15 in the DiversityInc Top 50)
and IBM (No. 7), which is being awarded DiversityInc’s Top
Company for Global Cultural Competence at our event Nov. 9–10
in Washington, D.C.
We are in the process of analyzing global research from our
recent survey, which had more than 100 participants from 17 countries. The results will be published later this year. Initial analysis
of LGBT awareness, education and efforts to create gay-friendly
workplaces indicates most Asian countries are ahead of European
countries in establishing equitable benefits and training/awareness
as well as in creating an inclusive workplace where LGBT people
can be comfortable being out. But the issue varies dramatically from
country to country and, in some countries, diversity and inclusion
efforts ignore the reality of LGBT people.
What some companies, such as Merck, have done is create
global employee groups by topic (LGBT, religion, women) that
cross over many countries. They address the same issues but are
not bound by the laws and/or social constraints that still exist in
certain places in the world.
The bigger global question we’ve heard is whether
companies should do business in countries that
oppress LGBT people, countries like Saudi
Arabia, for example. I don’t have an answer
for you on that but I know some companies, such as IBM, have taken strong
stands on values, while others believe
they can better change a system by
working within its constraints and
creating “safe havens” for people
within their own doors. DI