The work has just begun: Creating an inclusive environment for LGBTQ employees

The LGBTQ rights movement in Asia has made great strides in the past two years. But, we’re only at the beginning when it comes to creating inclusive workplaces. Without guidelines being put forth by many governments – despite decriminalization of homosexuality and legal recognition of same-sex marriages –businesses are on their own in navigating benefits and policies that design an inclusive working culture.  

But, there’s some good news. Recently there have been some very public examples of companies paving the way toward expanding LGBTQ benefits to local staff in varying degrees. RBS and L’Oréal are two such companies that have been in the news and serve as examples of how policies and practices can be adopted irrespective of gender of its employees or their partners.

Rethink your insurance benefits

Start with tangible outcomes and examine the fine print of your insurance policy. Does it offer the same or similar coverage for same-sex couples as it would for heterosexual ones? Insurance companies may be slow to include these types of inclusions. Do self-funding plans make sense for your company? Are there other providers that offer more comprehensive coverage at a comparable price?


Bake inclusion into your culture

The sad fact is that many LGBTQ employees don’t feel comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation due to fear of retribution in the form of stagnated career growth. Employers need to do more than just have policies in place that are committed to inclusion. Invest in leadership training to focus on creating a safe workspace, create working and support groups that encourage conversation and adopt policies around a zero-tolerance policy to negativity or harassment.

Don’t know where to begin- Ask the experts

It can be difficult to take a holistic and neutral view of where the pitfalls within your company can be. By bringing in experts and having the buy-in from senior leadership to commit to a safe, diverse and inclusive work environment, employers can determine the best plan of action driving forward.

As employers begin to tackle this important subject, it’s important to remember that it’s a journey and not a destination. Committing to a complete overhaul can be costly and overwhelming. We can help determine the most significant priorities and execute a roll-out plan to minimize costs while underscoring your commitment to employees.

Naviti Mardia
by Naviti Mardia

Asia Zone Senior Analyst, Mercer Marsh Benefits