BACKGROUND

Community Business first considered developing an index to assess workplace inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees in Hong Kong in 2008. At that time however, understanding and adoption of diversity and inclusion was at a very early stage, and few companies had LGBT on their agenda as a workplace issue. Sexual orientation and gender identity were seen as taboo subjects, poorly understood and rarely openly discussed in wider society – let alone in the workplace.

Raising awareness and understanding the issues

Community Business recognised that fundamental groundwork was needed to raise awareness and educate the corporate sector. As a result, we embarked on a ‘Creating Inclusive Workplaces for LGBT Employees Campaign’ with corporate sponsorship and strategic guidance from long-term partners Goldman Sachs and IBM. This campaign has seen the holding of numerous events, the publication of pioneering research and the facilitation of greater openness and discussion on this topic – not just in Hong Kong but across the Asia region. In 2009, we published the first in aseries of LGBT Resource Guides for Employers, Creating Inclusive Workplaces for LGBT Employees - A Resource Guide for Hong Kong. This provides the social, legal and cultural context for LGBT issues in Hong Kong – and crucially, as we knew that ultimately we were looking to produce an LGBT index – a set of robust recommendations for companies looking to address LGBT inclusion in their organisations, supported by local examples of best practice.

Demonstrating the compelling business case in Hong Kong

In 2012, seeking to further highlight the business case for addressing LGBT workplace inclusion in Hong Kong, and with sponsorship from Barclays, we conducted a Hong Kong LGBT Climate Study 2011-12. This examined both the working population’s attitudes towards LGBT issues as well as the first-hand experience of LGBT individuals working in Hong Kong. The survey results showed that discrimination against LGBT individuals exists both at work and in society in Hong Kong, and that lack of acceptance in the workplace is harming productivity and the ability of companies operating in Hong Kong to attract and retain the best talent.

Growing awareness and greater readiness

These combined and sustained efforts have done much to raise the profile of LGBT as an important business issue in Hong Kong and placed discussions around LGBT issues centre stage in Hong Kong. Increasingly, employers and employees alike have begun to understand the business case for LGBT inclusion and a growing number of companies have started to take steps to address LGBT issues in the workplace.

At a broader level, Hong Kong has seen the emergence of a thriving and visible LGBT community. With the growth year on year of the Hong Kong Pride Parade (first launched in 2008), the growing popularity of the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and the introduction of initiatives such as Pink Season and Pink Dot, the LGBT community has become increasingly active and visible in Hong Kong.

At the beginning of 2014, we believed that the dialogue on LGBT workplace inclusion had matured and that Hong Kong was ready for an Index that would engage and move organisations forward in their LGBT inclusion journey.

As a result, we launched the Hong Kong LGBT Workplace Inclusion Index at Community Business’ -flagship Diversity & Inclusion in Asia 2014 Conference in November 2014.

The Index

The Hong Kong LGBT Workplace Inclusion Index 2015 is the first and only benchmark on workplace inclusion practices and initiatives for LGBT employees in Asia. Launched by Community Business, it is a pioneering initiative that provides companies in Hong Kong with a credible and robust tool to assess, progress and promote their efforts towards LGBT inclusion. The Index combines learning from global indices to ensure an approach suitable for companies operating in Hong Kong.

 

 

   
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