Our 2019 Top Global Employers are this year’s highest achieving multinational employers. Some examples of their best practice are showcased below.
Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy ensures its commitment to LGBT inclusion is reflected in its in-country policies and benefits.
In the USA, policies have been reviewed and revised to ensure they are trans inclusive by the A&Out LGBT network working group. This has included the introduction of a Transitioning at Work policy and the implementation of an all-gender bathroom policy in US offices. The term ‘all-gender’ was chosen to promote inclusivity and acknowledgement of all genders and the policy was written to demonstrate that support for gender equality.
Through its global policies, GSK ensures LGBT+ employees can work in an environment that feels inclusive and understanding, and where everyone can feel safe to be their true selves.
Under GSK’s Global Policy on Equal and Inclusive Treatment of Employees, staff are explicitly protected from discrimination, bullying, and harassment on the grounds of their sexual orientation and gender identity and/or expression. This policy is actively promoted within the organisation, ensuring that all employees are aware that there is a culture of acceptance without exception and that LGBT+ employees are respected and valued for the unique qualities they bring.
Barclays' offers ally training to all its staff to empower them to be effective allies and contribute towards an LGBT+ inclusive workplace. This workshop, which is offered both virtually and in person, raises awareness of how conscious and unconscious actions and behaviours can create barriers to inclusion for LGBT+ colleagues. The workshop discusses practical actions allies can take to be a better ally, know the correct language, be more inclusive in their actions and encourage other colleagues to be themselves.
BP.plc offers all-staff sexual orientation and gender identity training globally, which also includes trans-specific training. In Hungary, all BP.plc new starters attend diversity and inclusion training and a roundtable discussion, which is attended by a member of the Hungary BP Pride network. All employees in Hungary are also invited to ‘Safe Space’ training sessions dedicated to sexual orientation and gender identity topics, with content adapted to the national and regional context.
HSBC offers training to staff by learning through innovative and collaborative efforts.
For example, as a global training opportunity within its Retail Banking and Wealth Management business, HSBC curated a session with guest speaker Lord Browne. This was attended by 100 people and streamed to over 1,800 employees, as well as recorded for future use. This session discussed the importance of LGBT inclusion in organisations, as well as the need to consider different in-country contexts for LGBT staff. HSBC brought this concept to life through its in-country trainings, where it has frequently partnered with local NGOs when delivering training.
Pinsent Masons ensures its staff are fully engaged in the firm’s LGBT+ inclusion work through its global LGBT+ staff network and global Allies network. These networks are promoted internally through a range of methods, including communications from senior staff members.
The networks run events across Pinsent Masons’ international offices, including roundtables with external speakers, and they’ve also helped create a documentary platforming LGBT+ staff within the firm. Through Pinsent Masons’ intranet, members of the Allies network can access extensive resources to support their colleagues.
SAP engages with all staff to raise awareness on LGBT issues and advance equality in the workplace. SAP has in-country chapters of Pride@SAP, the company’s LGBT+ and allies employee network group, covering 79% of its workforce.
These chapters are supported with strong guidelines and policies, ensuring they are productive. They often collaborate with local actors and invite external speakers to events, in addition to having senior in-country representatives present and wearing visible signs of support for the LGBT community.
Accenture’s global LGBT employee network spans 45 countries and retains a high level of engagement and influence. Each of these 45 local chapters has its own senior leader.
The network proactively drives Accenture’s LGBT inclusion work forward. They have run events on a variety of platforms, from their intranet to Instagram. Additionally, they have advised on a framework for healthcare benefits for trans people, which has resulted in the roll out of benefits across a number of operational countries.
Vodafone’s global Allies programme was launched in 2018 and has already gained 2,000 allies on Workplace and 1,300 allies on the Digital Friends of LGBT+ portal across 20 countries. The programme signposts to many initiatives such as online learning modules, the LGBT+ buddy system, LGBT+ news and upcoming events, and personal stories.
The Allies programme also provides allies with visible signals to indicate their support. It works on an in-country level to follow a schedule of events designed around raising awareness for the marginalised members of the community.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s leadership team ensures that all staff understand that the firm’s commitment to LGBT inclusion is consistent at all levels across the firm. Senior leaders from different regions consistently communicate their commitment to LGBT equality with staff, advocate for legal equality in their regions, and regularly meet with LGBT staff network members.
Many leaders proactively develop partnerships with local LGBT organisations, and other multinational organisations, to support and participate in awareness-raising events.
To ensure it is safe and legal to monitor sexual orientation and gender identity in the locations it operates in, Baker McKenzie shared questions from its global people survey with local legal experts. The results of LGBT-inclusive employee experience monitoring were communicated to a range of stakeholders, including the global executive committee, the global LGBT network group and all office Managing Partners.
Simmons & Simmons
When awarding contracts, Simmons & Simmons expects suppliers and service providers to have a diversity and inclusion policy that is at least as comprehensive as their own and which explicitly bans discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Details of this must be provided to Simmons & Simmons, including evidence that policy compliance is actively and positively monitored.
The firm’s top 25 suppliers are invited to complete an annual corporate responsibility and diversity audit. This is then followed by an annual roundtable event with the top ten suppliers. LGBT inclusion is specifically addressed and best practice is shared between participants.
RBS has undertaken consultations and partnerships with a range of groups to understand the local context for its LGBT staff across the world.
For example, RBS is a member of the THUN group of banks, has initiated the setup of a foundation of corporate organisation to support its work in India, has engaged with the wider community by hosting the first ever Polish LGBT+ Business Awards, and has held events during Pride month in the USA. All of this work has enabled RBS to effectively implement its global diversity and inclusion strategy locally.
To better understand the local context for LGBT people, Herbert Smith Freehills consults local and regional LGBT and human rights groups, legal experts, and other employees in the countries it operates in.
To advance LGBT equality in the workplace and beyond, Herbert Smith Freehills maintains relationships with a range of global and local LGBT groups. One of the outcomes of these relationships was the development of a report examining legal gender recognition across the Asia Pacific region to inform policy change and advocacy.
Simmons & Simmons
Simmons & Simmons makes it clear that LGBT staff will not suffer detriment if they decline an overseas opportunity because of concerns around their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Relocation support and alternative options are offered to same-sex partners and their children, and LGBT-specific information on each country is provided.
Local HR teams, Corporate Responsibility and Diversity teams, and the Chair of the global LGBT staff network provide LGBT-specific support, with external legal advice and support available if needed. LGBT staff who relocate can utilise Simmons & Simmons’ formal reporting route should any issues arise.