International News

IBM named world’s most ‘gay-friendly’ company

Besi Besemar October 8, 2014

The computer giant IBM has been Workplace Pridenamed this year’s most Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)-inclusive employer in the world by Amsterdam-based Workplace Pride Foundation.

The announcement is the result of the Foundation’s Global Benchmark survey in which major international employers were scored for their LGBT workplace inclusion policies and practices around the world.

Nineteen major employers representing over 1.9 million employees in over 96 countries worldwide took part in the survey, which participants completed themselves. Participants scored reasonably well on creating LGBT-inclusive policies and communication.

However, actual support for implementation, the measuring of progress and the involvement with LGBT suppliers and clients leaves much to be desired.

Top 5 employers as scored against the 100% of the Global Benchmark include:

1. IBM (USA):86%, 2. Dow Chemical: (USA) 80%, 3. BNP Paribas: (France) 76%, 4. Shell: (Netherlands) 73%, 5. Cisco Systems (USA) 67%

The Global Benchmark has been developed over the past two years under the leadership of Workplace Pride and with the support of the University of Leiden and major employers from several different countries. The Benchmark represents the ideal of LGBT workplace inclusion on an international scale and was designed primarily for use by multinationals. Its purpose is to provide management data to measure, and thereby improve, LGBT workplace inclusion in their organisations, wherever they are.  However, employers active in only one country can also take part in the survey. With the data from the Benchmark survey, even change on a national scale becomes measurable.

The Global Benchmark survey was divided into 7 sections dealing with LGBT workplace inclusion. The results, below, are followed by the average score for all participants in each section.

• Policy and Communication 66%

• Employee Networks 53 %

• Inclusion and Engagement 50%

• Workplace Awareness 47%

• Support and Benefits 35%

• Expertise and Monitoring 30%

• Business and Supplier Engagement 26%

The Global Benchmark also included a sector breakdown. This shows that the IT and Technical Services, with 71%, and the Energy & Utilities sectors, with 64%, are the most LGBT inclusive sectors. Finance and the public sector were on the lower end with 51% and 34% respectively.

Best practices among survey participants include: 

• LGBT explanatory leaflets in employee paychecks

• Assigning a global LGBT program manager

• Covering transgenders in employee health plans

• Developing global straight ally programs and

• Requiring suppliers to have LGBT friendly policies

The Global Benchmark methodology takes into account: 

• Applicability of LGBT-friendly policies based upon national legal frameworks;

• Countries in which at least 5% of the participants’ employees were located, and;

• The size of the organisation by number of employees.

The Global Benchmark is designed as an annually recurring survey that allows participants to track their progress. Top-5 scoring organizations are given the Global Benchmark Endorsement.

Partners for the Global Benchmark include: COC (Netherlands), PrOut@work (Germany), L’Autre Cercle (France), PrideInDiversity (Australia) and EDGE (Italy).