On April 10, 2019, Out & Equal hosted the webinar, “LGBTQ Workplace Inclusion Initiatives in East and Southeast Asia” as part of our bimonthly global webinar series. The presenting panel featured Ivy Wong, Programme Manager with ShanghaiPRIDE (Mainland China), Rath Chien-Chi Wang, International Tax Manager & ERG Leader and Taiwan and GC Co-Chair with EY (Taiwan), and Mickey Gamboa, [email protected] Regional Lead for APJ & HR Service Senior Consultant with SAP (Philippines).
The webinar focused on best practices and inclusion strategies through the perspectives of one NGO and two corporate advocates from the region. Below are some of the questions that participants asked that we did not have time to address during out live webinar during the webinar. If you are interested in discussing these responses further with the panelists, please email Out & Equal’s Global Initiatives team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Would there be any risk talking about LGBTQ openly when your company just started to launch Diversity and Inclusion?
Rath: The largest risk would be around visibility, so it would be helpful to first make sure that your direct manager or those higher up in the chain of command are supportive. It would be difficult to read how many people in your organization would not be LGBT friendly/receptive, but from my own experience, there has been overwhelmingly more positive support (and colleagues coming to thank you for your efforts both publicly and privately) especially in the launch stages of LGBT inclusive activities. What I found helpful was, how the tone is set when these initiatives start to kick-off – if a positive light is place on your orientation/identity, through confidence and a welcoming to all demeanor that emphasizes the respect of all differences, it will create a positive vibe and support will tend to grow.
May I know how to join Taiwan InterCo Network?
Rath: Please feel free to email me at email@example.com and I would be more than happy to add you/your organization to the Taiwan InterCo Network mailing list.
Seeing all the events been hold in China, esp. in Sh successfully, just wondering how we made it without the interference from the authority?
Ivy: ShanghaiPRIDE has been in Shanghai promoting LGBTQ inclusion in China for over ten years. Authorities do come visit, the key is to be transparent, help them understand the cultural and social events we organised is about raising awareness, but NOT about challenging any legal boundaries. Some events are packaged as private events, corporate events, and health related events so as to avoid interference from the authority.
Would you have any best practices to share on how to get senior leaders (e.g. in Japan/Taiwan as mentioned just now) to express support on this topic?
- Storytelling is important, putting a relatable face to the topic and present business statistics if they do support (or don’t support) the topic.
- Leverage resources and videos like this one from the UN about the “Price of Exclusion”
- Start an executive awareness campaign to gauge leadership’s receptiveness to the topic
- Follow through with (if possible) with a SOGIE training for executives
- Talk about the power of the “Pink Money”
What are respectful practices companies might try to promote LGBTQ hiring, awareness, and a feeling of belonging?
- To avoid alienating target audience in your company, create/craft separate messaging for Allies and LGBT employees. Be mindful about how the communication is sent (Mass email versus individualize invitation/letter). Always adapt content based on topic sensitivity in your country.
- Contextualize your message and align it with your organization’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy.
- If topic is too sensitive, always start with a less controversial “topic title” as introduction, start with something like “Our Diverse and Inclusive Workplace”.
- For external awareness, be visible in activities (i.e Pride Marches, organize events or conferences with other companies with similar policy/goals for D&I)
- Besides doing awareness/communication campaign, check your company policy how to create an LGBT resource group within the company to support this topic.
- Important Note: Always review company policy and local laws before engaging in external activities.