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HRC Designates WE a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality

WE Communications Blog: Corporate Citizenship

3/28/2019
— Kate Richmond, Chief Talent Officer 

This week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) designated WE Communications a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality in their 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The HRC evaluation looks at how companies support LGBTQ employees at work and in the community. We’re proud to have achieved a 100 out of 100-point score rating, thanks to our agency-wide prioritization of equity, inclusion and justice.

The HRC evaluates employers, looking at concrete steps they’ve taken to ensure greater equity for LGBTQ workers and their families in the form of comprehensive policies, benefits and practices. The CEI rating criteria have four key pillars:

  1. Non-discrimination policies across business entities
  2. Equitable benefits for LGBTQ workers and their families
  3. Internal education and accountability metrics to promote LGBTQ inclusion competency, and
  4. Public commitment to LGBTQ equality.

If you’d like to dig a little deeper into how the HRC scores companies, details about the criteria are here.

 

STRIVING TO BE BETTER 

A significant part of our 100-point score comes from programs and policies we’ve improved over several years in order to better reflect the kind of organization we strive to be, such as expanding our healthcare benefits to transgender employees and revamping our fertility benefits to fit the needs of both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. And it’s also about how we interact in the world — for example, we ensure that the many non-profit organizations we support are in line with our own respectful workplace, anti-harassment and anti-discrimination principles.

The HRC assessment is one way we measure if the work we’re doing is moving us in the right direction, toward a more equitable workplace and world. We’re proud of our perfect score, but it doesn’t mean we’re “there” when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Rather, it represents our ongoing efforts to support a culture where every individual can thrive. 

 

NURTURING INCLUSION STARTS WITH ADDRESSING UNCONSCIOUS BIAS

Culture, collaboration and connection are defining cornerstones of WE’s path to an inclusive workforce, industry and community. However, making this a reality is a complex and ongoing process. The HRC assessment is just one initiative in this undertaking.

Accidental or unintended biases create a systemic challenge for every organization and for our society. They influence interactions, teamwork, career paths and opportunities. Over the past 18 months, we have focused on unconscious bias training and workshops in our North America offices. Three-quarters of WE’s American employees have completed the core training modules.

Facilitating dialogue and connection among individuals is critical in supporting an inclusive community. Our goal is to develop well-rounded leaders and citizens who are advocates for empathy, understanding and curiosity. WE PRIDE, a 75+ person employee resource group, whose mission is to provide a safe space and foster a community among LGBTQ and ally employees of WE, has been instrumental in galvanizing our momentum, providing strategic input and insights on the most important, impactful ways WE can be an ally to all employees. 

WE also seeks to ensure that organizations we work with share our values and commitment to equality. March is WE’s Global Month of Giving, an annual initiative to mobilize employees and help build stronger communities through volunteering. This year, we collaborated with more than twenty organizations. Dedication to inclusion was a major factor in choosing who we worked with. For example, in North America, we partnered with the Boys and Girls Club — an organization dedicated to building inclusive environments. Many of our German employees donated time and resources to the Münchner Tafel, an organization dedicated to feeding and helping individuals in underserved communities. In the communications industry,, we partner with the LAGRANT FoundationColorComm and universities to extend opportunities in education. 

  

REALIZING THE POWER OF ONE AND THE POWER OF 3 MILLION

Striving for inclusion guides us to seek and build community, to stand up, speak out and make room at the table. At the recent 2019 Watermark Conference for Women in San Jose, research professor and author Dr. Brené Brown reminded attendees that we are more courageous than we think, more powerful than we believe and that "Courageous leaders are never silent around hard things.”

As employees, parents, leaders, colleagues and community members, we must reflect on our role to uncover the unsaid, seek understanding and constantly school ourselves into discovering our blind spots. Rather than a single program or outcome, diversity and inclusion must be part of the fabric of our organizations and our society.

Today WE Communications joins the community that represents a force of more than 3 million HRC members and supporters nationwide. We’re in good company, and we’re mindful that we still have a ways to go. Striving for equality is a journey we’re committed to over the long term.