For years, business leaders have argued over the need for a business case to invest capital, human and financial, towards DEI initiatives. While the term initiative evolved to become a strategy and subsequently domain in itself, DEI continues to be a battleground in many other aspects. One such battleground is that of including and empowering queer talent at the workplace.
From social equity to justice to the right thing to do to driving innovation and higher revenue and now a business imperative, inclusion of LGBT+ talent has had its own journey, one that continues to evolve. As organisations attempt to stay on track and accelerate efforts in establishing equity and equality at the workplace for this diversity segment, a crucial element remains measuring and mapping progress so far.
In other words, from a mere feel good and engagement-driven agenda, authentic inclusion of queer talent in the corporate landscape has grown to be a full-fledged business priority with its own share of metrics to map the journey. One such metric that provides a deeper insight into where the industry stands with respect to LGBT+ inclusion is the India Workplace Equality Index (IWEI).
Founded by the Keshav Suri Foundation, Pride Circle and StoneWall, IWEI is India's first comprehensive benchmarking tool that enables organisations to measure and redefine their ongoing efforts on LGBT+ Inclusion. The benchmarking study was first launched in 2020 and since then has a come a long way in establishing metrics and recognising best practices that foster an inclusive ecosystem for queer talent.
Let’s zoom in on what the study has discovered in the past two years and what’s next in benchmarking LGBT+ inclusion in the Indian workplace.
The what and how of IWEI
While it's crucial to take action for inclusion, it’s equally important to assess the impact of the various actions taken. Measuring inclusion can be arduous.
IWEI fills that gap to measuring a plethora of parameters across the organisations’ function, through its holistic framework for internal planning, data backed decision making, benchmarking with organisations in the country, and celebrating the journey.
IWEI enables internal teams to come together to look at the collective impact of the past 2 years, fosters collaboration, and its evidence based scoring makes it a genuine metric, one that all stakeholders can rely on to understand a company’s work towards LGBT+ inclusion.
Open to all employers irrespective of size, location, and their progress on LGBT+ inclusion, with absolutely no cost of registration, IWEI allows organisations to opt between open or anonymous participation.
In addition to learning about industry trends and best practices, IWEI equips employers aspiring to elevate their inclusive and equitable offerings, with the tools to design a long term roadmap & strategy. The study has identified 9 key parameters to assess inclusion efforts on the ground :
- Policies and benefits
- Employee lifecycle
- Employee network group
- Allies and role models
- Senior leadership
- Community engagement
- Additional work
IWEI also offers customised report feedback which helps organisations to understand the areas where they are doing well, the areas that need more focus or attention, along with the strategy for the future.
For those already on the progressive ladder, there is an opportunity to get recognised for your efforts and get featured in the annual IWEI under the Gold, Silver & Bronze Top Employers band.
IWEI: The history and impact
Driven to change the narrative and make an impact, 65 organisations participated in the maiden IWEI in 2020, and these organisations have since then grown by 10%.
In the past two years, more than 100 top inclusive employers, representing over 15 sectors, participated in the study, with the IWEI average score witnessing an increase of 7 points.
Within a year of its launch, IWEI established a credibility that encouraged globally renowned brands, IBM & HSBC, known for their robust DEI strategies, to sponsor IWEI 2021.
Diversity, equity and inclusion of LGBT+ talent at the workplace remains a relatively new territory for a majority of organisations, despite years of intermittent efforts and progress. While organisations attempt to replicate and then customise their inclusion strategy, IWEI lays down a transparent and holistic foundation to shape DEI efforts.
IWEI 2022: What’s new?
Having made a lasting impact on LGBT+ inclusion at the workplace, IWEI is back with its 3rd edition in 2022 and has expanded its offerings.
This year, the study will also provide insights on the employee feedback about their experience of the workplace and awareness on the LGBT+ inclusive programs and practices.
The employee feedback encourages participation from both LGBT+ and non-LGBT+ employees to highlight how the transformation has taken place on ground and what gaps continue to exist.
There is undoubtedly an urgent need to course correct as organisations architect the future of work. Talent today demands a lot more than a competitive paycheck. With greater awareness and expectation of an equitable, diverse and inclusive workplaces, employers must at all times be equipped to cater to the unique needs of varying employee segments. But that’s not the sole driver for being inclusive.
Be it a business imperative or people imperative, the emerging working ecosystem has declared a certainty surrounding the existence of diversity, equity and inclusion at the workplace, not just for the workforce, but also in business offerings. Be it consumers or employees, the need for an inclusive lens is undeniable and amid such a dynamic climate, it remains crucial to stay ahead of the curve through innovative and authentic practices that make inclusion sustainable.
As 2022 unfolds, IWEI brings you an opportunity to map your progress, identify areas of growth and onboard the learning journey that ensures collective movement towards inclusion of queer talent at the workplace.
Nominations for IWEI 2022 are open, with 3 exclusive awards categories including LGBT+ & Ally Trailblazer and ERG of the year. For more information, click here.