LGBT workplace inclusion guide for China launched

Asian workplace diversity non-profit Community Business has launched a guide to help businesses in China better understand the needs of their LGBT employees so that they can get the most out of their skills

LGBT workplace inclusion guide for China launched
26 September 2013

A new guide to LGBT inclusion in the workplace was launched yesterday in Beijing with the help of IBM and Goldman Sachs – two recognized global leaders when it comes to supporting their LGBT employees.

The ‘Creating Inclusive Workplaces for LGBT Employees in China’ resource guide was created by Asian workplace diversity non-profit group Community Business and highlights the business case for addressing the needs of LGBT employees and provides the cultural and legal context of LGBT issues in China.

The guide also provides a set of recommendations on how companies can create inclusive workplaces for LGBT employees and includes a number of examples of good practice.

Community Business see diversity and inclusion in the workplace as a new frontier in China but says the search for harmony among differences is not.

‘Leading companies in China are beginning to understand the benefits that an inclusive environment can bring to productivity, employee engagement, attraction and retention of the best talent and ultimately, business performance,’ Community Business said in a statement.

‘However, the subject of sexual orientation and gender identity has largely been overlooked. Faced with immense pressure caused by traditional family values and notions of filial piety, very few LGBT individuals are open about their sexual orientation or gender identity, whilst most people consider this topic too sensitive and private to discuss openly. For most companies in China, LGBT is simply not on their agenda.’

But the group says the potential for improvement in China is immense.

‘As companies in China continue to operate and compete in a globalized and interconnected world, the need for companies to distinguish themselves as industry leaders means that there is an increasing need for driving innovation, diversity of thought, and better corporate governance,’ Community Business CEO Fern Ngai said.

‘Creating a workplace that is free from bias, stigma, and where all employees, including LGBT employees, can bring their full selves to work, is good for creativity, innovation, and ultimately a company’s bottom line.’

In preparing the guide, Community Business set up a group of experts on LGBT issues in China and enlisted the support of groups including the Aibai Culture and Education Center, the Beijing Gender Health Education Institute, the Beijing LGBT Center, the British Council, Common Language, the Health Governance Initiative, Nvai, PFLAG China and UNAIDS.

Community Business also engaged with corporate stakeholders to gain insights into some of the issues for LGBT employees in China – particularly around workplace challenges and what actions can be taken by employers to create more inclusive workplaces.

‘Through working with a vibrant group of local LGBT organizations and the enthusiasm shown by the corporate participants in our stakeholder engagement sessions in Beijing and Shanghai, we see the enormous potential for China to treat LGBT individuals with respect, openness and equality,’ Community Business senior program manager and co-author of the guide Amanda Yik said.

‘In this process of change, companies have a critical role to play by creating an inclusive workplace for LGBT employees. This resource guide is designed to both educate companies about the Chinese context but also gives some clear recommendations on how they can go about doing that.’

Chief Financial Officer, and LGBT Ambassador in the IBM Greater China Group Lily Low said the benefits of LGBT inclusion in the workplace for businesses had been well proven.

‘Creating a culture where LGBT employees are valued, empowered to think freely and encouraged to express themselves fully, frees our colleagues to think creatively, producing dramatic and innovative outcomes for our clients,’ Low said.

‘By working together to produce this LGBT Resource Guide for Employers, we hope to encourage more companies to review their workplace policies and practices and drive positive change for the LGBT community in China.’

Goldman Sachs’ Director of Greater China Research and Diversity Champion for China Kelvin Koh said it was vital that Chinese businesses make the most of LGBT employees by giving them the best environment to perform in.

‘There is a clear business case to be made for companies to be more inclusive and LGBT-friendly. Studies have shown that LGBT employees are more productive and more committed to their work in an inclusive environment,’ Koh said, ‘We hope this guide will help companies learn from some of the best practices already in place.’

‘It is crucial for China as a growing and emerging economy to fully explore the potential of its LGBT population and for companies to have inclusive policies that enable their employees to bring their whole selves to work. We firmly believe that creating an inclusive environment for people in all aspects of society is critical to the success of China.’

The guide will also be launched in Shanghai on 14 October at an event hosted by sponsors Goldman Sachs and IBM.

The Resource Guide is available bilingually in English and Simplified Chinese.

It can be downloaded free of charge until 31 December 2013 on Community Business’ website.
 

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Man wanted for murdered gay Scot 'has nothing to fear'

Nephew of 62-year-old Michael Polding, who was found killed in his Brighton home, says uncle's death has 'devastated' his family
No thumbnail available

Same-sex family denied family pass for swimming pool

A lesbian couple in Ohio are hopeful that their city council will re-write its definition of ‘family’ in order to allow them and their children reduced-price access to a local swimming pool
Free Starbucks for best dressed at Pride London

Free Starbucks for best dressed at Pride London

The global coffee chain joins the likes of ASDA, the TUC and Prudential as a gold sponsor
No thumbnail available

My marathon run and 26 people testing for HIV for the first time

Jeremy Joseph’s London Marathon won’t just raise money, but also awareness of the importance of HIV testing with a unique challenge
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

In a historic first, US appeals court to hear gay marriage ban cases from four states on same day

Court to hear six challenges to laws banning marriage equality in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee next week
No thumbnail available

Iran bans 'gay' spiky hairstyles

Men are also prohibited from plucking their eyebrows
Thousands march at gay pride parade in Seoul amid protests by anti-gay Christian protesters

Thousands march at gay pride parade in Seoul amid protests by anti-gay Christian protesters

Protesters tried to disrupt the parade by lying on the street, some 5,000 police officers mobilized
No thumbnail available

Clergy says gay marriage is 'nothing to fear'

Anglican Church leaders write a letter to show support for gay marriage
No thumbnail available

Kellogg's told they 'will pay' for pro-gay Tony the Tiger ad

Some are not happy that the family friendly brand is supporting Pride