When we talk of ‘Pride’, our conversation usually revolves around greater inclusion and belonging for members of the LGBTQ+ community. But, have we ever considered that inclusion actually results in ‘more’ for everyone?

I see this time of the year as an opportunity to reaffirm our solidarity with the community, and as a reminder to initiate robust, open conversations about the changes we want to realize as members and allies - changes that will help us build better workplaces for everyone.

Today, more people are actively seeking ways to be meaningful allies to their LGBTQ+ peers and colleagues. While bias is still a force to reckon with, progressive individuals and organizations across the world have evolved to embrace and practice diversity, equity and inclusion with diligence. Many people are leveraging art, cinema and other powerful ways to share the community’s stories of courage, love and pride. For example, we now have mainstream Indian movies that are changing the narratives by bringing in the insider’s perspective and initiating open conversations about the LGBTQ+ community.

On the forefront of this movement, at Accenture, we pursue active efforts towards realizing equality for all. We do our best to make LGBTQ+ employees feel valued and engaged at workplaces, across roles and levels. What is so rewarding about our LGBTQ+, inclusive approaches and policies is that they have the scope to create better standards of work, life and stability for everyone.

Our inclusive hiring practices are only the first steps to ensure this. We’ve found that when our recruiters and trainers undergo bespoke sensitization programs that use tools such as storytelling, they become more mindful of intersectional identities, and the need to be inclusive of people in all their diversity. It doesn’t end there – Accenture is all about enabling safe spaces and initiatives such as the PRIDE community. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) enable people to come together and help each other on their journeys at work and beyond.

I appreciate how Accenture’s steps in this direction precede hiring itself. Our Inclusive Internship Program does more than just bring in transgender people, people with disabilities, and women from economically weaker sections into the workforce. Even as our employees embrace the interns as peers, the interns are actively encouraged to develop the skills and acumen they need to access opportunities and grow their careers, within and beyond Accenture.

When Accenture embraced meaningful gender-neutral policies in 2021, our organization became among the first in India to shift from gender binaries. Our life insurance benefits policy allow LGBTQ+ employees to nominate their partners, and our parental leave policies are an excellent instance where the focus has widened to include primary and secondary caregivers, regardless of the gender-identity. This applies to surrogacy and adoption leaves as well.

Such inclusive approaches open up a plethora of possibilities: an increased sense of belonging as well as better mental wellness for our LGBTQ+ peers and other underrepresented communities in the workspace. The deeper I understand the dynamics of such policies, the more I see and appreciate how it is making the workplace an inclusive as well as innovative space; when people can be their authentic selves, teams become more collaborative and creative in solving big business problems.

The mindset shift that comes with acknowledging the lived experiences of persons who identify as LGBTQ+ helps us imagine a workplace where empathy and acceptance become increasingly pervasive. We become less judgmental and more accepting of single women, divorced employees, people with disabilities and beyond. This, I believe, is the magic of Pride - it pushes the boundaries to make us perceive people beyond stereotypes.

Even as we look at bringing in a more diverse workforce with the skills and perspectives that we need to succeed as an organization, we are also looking at inherent evolution to be more inclusive of and allies to the LGBTQ+ community, women and persons with disability. From fresh recruits to boardrooms, we are working on inclusive structures that are diverse in themselves. Surely, Pride means more to and for all of us!

Manisha Dubey

Global Business Transformation lead for Procurement, Supply Chain & Talent /HR, Accenture

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