According to a 2015 report by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and Biz Divas, a diversity and inclusion consulting firm, as many as 98% of companies surveyed said that they have not taken any concrete steps to make their workplace lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)-friendly—or hire people from the community.
The report called “Inclusion in India Inc.” surveyed 21 companies—15 multinationals and six Indian companies with or without a presence abroad—from eight different sectors, including IT consulting and services, engineering and pharmaceuticals, real estate, telecom, among others, which employed between 260 and 56,000 people.
Now the Focus is shifting…
LGBTQ inclusion in workplaces is gradually gaining traction, but with less than 100 out and proud transgender people employed in India Inc, organizations are waking up to the need of trans-specific policies given the distinct challenges they face at the workplace.
- Indian companies, especially MNCs have gone from being tacit supporters of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) rights to openly allying with the cause after the Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality.
- Coverage for same-sex partners under medical insurance and LGBT employee networks by Tata Steel and TCS have been reported recently. Companies are now encouraging employees to speak openly about their identity.
- LGBT employees at Accenture can share their journeys on a virtual platform, and even answer questions from ‘allies’ – non-LGBT people who support the cause.
- IBM’s LGBT employees have put up video blogs on YouTube about their experiences. The company has hosted a pride walk at its Gurugram campus in 2019, where its employees and the LGBT community at large participated.
- SAP Labs also hosted a pride march on its campus in 2017. SAP employees and volunteers across the globe came together to celebrate LGBT Pride Month with various colorful events.
- L’Oreal put out a new insurance policy that replaced the word “spouse” with “partner”, allowing LGBTQ employees to claim medical benefits for their partners.
- Godrej and IBM India are among the other corporate entities that offer medical cover to partners of LGBTQ employees, apart from inclusive child adoption and leave policies.
There so many examples that support the focus is shifting and India Inc looks at wider LGBTQ inclusion.
As per economic times report, and data, having a diverse workforce makes a company more innovative. According to a 2016 study by Hewlett and Yoshino, 72% of allies say they are more likely to accept a job at a company that’s supportive of LGBTQ employees.
Young India is very attracted to diverse and inclusive organizations. India’s values are rapidly changing and corporate India should understand this because these millennials are their consumers, employees, and CEOs of tomorrow.
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