Inclusion – the magical nine letter trait, has the power within to transform individuals and organizations. In a month that celebrates one of the most excluded strands of diversity- LGBTQ+, the pride month, it is important that we discuss, deliberate and affirm our resolve to include, to being an ally!
It was in 2018, with the decriminalization of homosexuality, that the community received legal validation. Individuals and organizations were vested with the power to channelize their intent to include and expression of gender identity, became every citizen’s prerogative. This was historic and progressive, pushing India into the league of countries that accepted all expressions of gender identity. Two years down the lane, as we tide over unprecedented times, it is important that we take stock on how we have progressed on this front.
While the government did its part, Indian Inc. took the baton ahead initiating practices to create a sense of belongingness amongst members of the LGBTQ community – with practices ranging from anti-discrimination policies to gender-inclusive restrooms. India’s most expansive diversity analytics study called the ‘Most Inclusive Companies Index’ that is undertaken by Avtar and Working Mother traverses the length and breadth of such diversity initiatives, acknowledging and applauding the champions and exemplars.
Amongst the best practices at these frontrunners of inclusion, is Accenture’s medical insurance policies that have exclusive provisions for LGBTQ+ employees. Towards ensuring career advancement of these employees, this Champion of Inclusion provides customized mentoring and training sessions. The intent to include manifests in infrastructural inclusion through all-gender restrooms across facilities. LGBT Leaders Learner Training provides participants access to tools and resources designed to help them succeed as authentic leaders both in their career and as role models in the LGBT and Ally global community. Transgender inclusion with Gender Reassignment Surgery coverage under Accenture medical insurance coverage and in person team sensitization workshops to ensure smooth gender transitions at the workplace.
ANZ Support Services India Pvt. Ltd., another Champion of Inclusion, has also been a role model in becoming an inclusive workspace for members of the community. Beginning with LGBTQ+ hiring and the PRIDE Network that is the voice, contact point and support mechanism for LGBTIQ+ community, the company’s policies are progressively inclusive. ADP, another inclusion leader is also amongst the few organizations in India to extend Mediclaim Insurance benefit to the dependent partners of its LGBTQ associates. At Thoughtworks, an Exemplar of Inclusion, culture is synonymous with an inclusive & equitable workplace. Open mindedness, transparency and shared values encourages ThoughtWorkers to bring their whole selves to work. Their affinity group Mitra Collective – for LGBTQA+ inclusion, drives change by creating greater awareness and encouraging sensitive, inclusive employee behaviour. Target Corporation India’s (an Exemplar of Inclusion) LGBT+ initiatives aims to spur open dialogue and storytelling as a first step towards inclusion – other practices include Sexual Reassignment Surgery Policy, Same Sex Partner Insurance, and so on.
As we tide over this period of VUCA, there is apprehension over inclusion taking a backstage in the post COVID era. But as organizations chalk out the path for inclusive recovery and growth, it is important that they take pride in the contributions made by their employees who identify with the LGBTQ community, it is important that they take pride in declaring their allyship and committing to inclusive progress!