Community Business, a not-for-profit organization focusing on corporate responsibility and a thought leader on Diversity & Inclusion, Wednesday announced the launch of its Hong Kong LGBT Workplace Inclusion Index, the first and only benchmark in Asia on corporate policies and practices for creating inclusive workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. Companies operating in Hong Kong are invited to make submission until end of February 2015 and the assessment covers the period from December 1, 2013 to December 1, 2014.
Designed to drive the adoption and promotion of best practice, the Index is based on recommendations made by Community Business in its Creating Inclusive Workplaces for LGBT Employees in Hong Kong – A Resource Guide for Employers, and is structured around the following categories which are drawn on international best practice with validation from a Hong Kong perspective:
- Equal Opportunity Policies
- Diversity Training
- Diversity Structure
- Corporate Culture
- Market Positioning
- Community and Advocacy
In addition to recognizing and acknowledging those companies that are leading the way, the Index, for the first time, provides companies with a credible and robust tool by which to assess and communicate their progress on LGBT workplace inclusion in Hong Kong.
According to Community Business’ research in the Hong Kong LGBT Climate Study 2011-12, non-inclusive workplaces are impacting LGBT employees’ well-being, productivity and engagement. Eighty-five percent of the respondents said there was a need for greater inclusiveness in the workplace on the subject of sexual orientation and gender identity in Hong Kong. The research also found that 71 percent of LGBT employees were not open in their workplace, while only 28 percent of LGBT employees were fully open with their parents about their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“With the call for changes in legislation and a more visible LGBT community, not just in Hong Kong but across Asia, attitudes are changing. Our research has highlighted the compelling business case for LGBT inclusion and in general a workplace environment that embraces diversity. Companies can no longer ignore the issue of LGBT inclusion in their workplaces, and they have a critical role to play in achieving greater acceptance and equality for LGBT individuals,” said Mrs Fern Ngai, CEO of Community Business. “It’s time for change and the growing number of LGBT related events and initiatives in Hong Kong [indicate] that this city can be the leader in Asia for LGBT inclusion.”
In recent years, the LGBT rights movement has been gaining ground in Hong Kong. Just last Saturday, thousands marched through Hong Kong for the city’s annual gay pride parade. In June this year, over ten thousand people attended Hong Kong’s first Pink Dot festival at Tamar Park. The Code of Practice Against Discrimination in Employment on the Ground of Sexual Orientation was issued by the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR Government to facilitate self-regulation on the part of employers and employees in eliminating discriminatory practices in employment. As of October 2014, 90 organizations in Hong Kong have pledged to adopt the Code. Formed earlier this year, the Hong Kong Gay and Lesbian Attorneys Network (HKGALA), brings together the LGBT and allies community to create a more inclusive environment within the legal profession and explore ways to impact the wider society. These are just some of the initiatives this year amongst a long list of LGBT related events in Hong Kong.
In addition to making submissions for the Index, companies are also invited to make nominations for three awards recognizing LGBT Network of the Year, LGBT Inclusion Champion of the Year, and LGBT Executive Sponsor of the Year.
The results of the Hong Kong LGBT Workplace Inclusion Index, including award winners and Top 10 ranking companies, will be announced in May 2015. The Index is intended to be run every two years, giving companies time to address existing challenges and take steps to drive real progress in their organizations in Hong Kong.
For details about the Hong Kong LGBT Workplace Inclusion Index and the submission process, please visit: communitybusiness.org/hklgbtindex.