Pride and belonging – priorities for workplace inclusion
Fujitsu / June 16, 2022
Fujitsu is hosting our 3rd Pride Week - our annual global celebration of LGBTI+ diversity, inclusion, and belonging, which runs from Monday 27th June until Friday 1st July. Pride Week coincides with many Pride Parade events around the world, many of which are returning for the first time in 2 years due to the pandemic. This year's theme is Belonging - in recognition of the inclusion of "belonging" to our global diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy and to celebrate our return to the communities where we feel we belong, after being separated from family and friends for so long.
In this article, I will share how our Global Steering Committee for LGBTI+ inclusion contributes to creating this sense of belonging.
How can we create a sense of belonging?
93% of organizations see that a sense of belonging drives organizational performance.1 Through Deloitte’s research, they see 3 key attributes to creating a sense of belonging:
1) Comfort, meaning to be treated fairly and respectfully by colleagues
2) Connection to the people we work with
3) Contribution to meaningful work outcomes
But each of these attributes is faced with new challenges, rising from, or exacerbated by the pandemic and its side effects.
• How can an organization ensure ‘comfort’ in an increasingly polarized world?
• How do we establish a connection with continuing trends towards remote work?
• How do we ensure contribution when so many people are still “too busy to be strategic”?
Our Global Steering Committee for LGBTI+ Inclusion strives to build that sense of belonging for LGBTI+ colleagues and their families through the work we do.
Creating comfort through an LGBTI+ inclusive workplace
Supporting employees to feel comfortable at work is our highest priority. This is about getting the basics in place to provide an LGBTI+ inclusive workplace. This includes ensuring there are processes and practices in place to protect and adequately respond to incidents of harm in the workplace. It’s also about sharing messages of support for LGBTI+ communities and promoting a culture of understanding and acceptance.
We are often asked about the challenge of improving LGBTI+ inclusion in places with hostile legislation or cultures. When we do promote initiatives – even in a place where there is relative LGBTI+ acceptance - we often receive feedback that we are pushing views onto people or that LGBTI+ inclusion receives a disproportionate amount of airtime. These are issues that are rarely experienced by other diversity enablement groups.
Our approach is to reinforce the fact that, as an employer, we have a responsibility to create a workplace where everyone feels safe and respected at work. When external factors impact the wellbeing of employees and their families’, organizations cannot shy away from the opportunity to improve conditions within their sphere of influence. And we can do more than we often think. We created our Fujitsu Workplace Equality Index (FWEI) to set standards on the workplace we want to create and challenge ourselves to really understand the actual barriers and be creative in the way we address them. For example, we can protect LGBTI+ people and their families by removing the requirement to state the nature of their relationship with the benefactor.
Connecting employees through a global community
Providing opportunities for Connection is a key challenge for many organizations since the switch to remote working. And, although many employees who can work remotely would like to keep the option,2 one dominant concern is the sense of isolation it can cause. For these employees, most of their working lives are now experienced digitally. Their device is no longer just used to perform their tasks - it is also their gateway to collaborate and connect with colleagues and with the wider organization.
Creating a global community that provides opportunities for connection is why we celebrate Global Pride Week. During this week we run a series of initiatives that bring people together such as our virtual Pride parties, webinars, and Pride Coffee, which connects people from across our global community to learn more about each other. This event is particularly meaningful to those who may struggle to find an LGBTI+ community within their home country.
Contributing to LGBTI+ inclusion
Finally, we use our FWEI criteria to help everyone understand how they can contribute to LGBTI+ inclusion and demonstrate action on our commitment to the UN standards for LGBTI+ Inclusion. We provide steps and guidance on how to drive LGBTI+ inclusion across different business areas: from inclusive workplace policies to supplier vetting, and leadership messages.
With these criteria, we have been careful to acknowledge that every country in which we operate has different legal and cultural challenges, but the focus remains the same – to take those steps in whatever way we can. The result has been that, rather than treating LGBTI+ inclusion as something that’s “too hard” to achieve, we have been able to have much richer conversations with a focus on what we can do.
Global Pride Week is another one of those contributions we can all make to creating that environment where people can be completely themselves and building that sense of trust and belonging.
We will be talking more about belonging through comfort, connection and contribution during our upcoming Pride Week.
For more information on Fujitsu’s Diversity & Inclusion initiatives globally visit our website.
1 Global Human Capital Trends, Deloitte, 2020
2 Future of Work Reinvented Resource Center Primer for 2021, Gartner, May 2021