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Xerox Canada’s 2016 Workplace LGBT+ and Allies Diversity Conference

Xerox Canada reinforced its commitment to diversity during national pride month with a special event hosted by the Xerox GALAXe Pride at Work employee group. The 2016 Workplace LGBT+ & Allies Diversity Conference brought together Xerox senior leadership, employees, partners and clients to discuss LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace.

Al Varney, President and CEO of Xerox Canada, kicked off the event with a talk about how diversity has long been a source of competitive advantage for the company and a core value that is deeply ingrained in our Corporate culture and championed by our people. “Creating equal opportunities makes us richer and stronger, and has been a key element of why our company has endured so long,” Varney said.

Despite a wealth of research that supports Xerox Canada’s view of diversity as a business advantage, research from the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index indicates this isn’t always reflected in the workplace experiences of many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) employees. More than 47% of LGBT+ employees surveyed across many industries indicated that they had experienced discrimination in the workplace. The stats paint a similar picture for LGBT+ people across society, with almost 82% of LGBT+ students being bullied, verbally harassed, and threatened at school and more than 50% of LGBT+ employees hiding their identity at work.

So, how do we deal with this divergent issue and encourage more organizations to foster more inclusive work environments?

Michael Bach, Founder and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Diversity & Inclusion (CCDI) and Lisa Jensen and John Curtis, Co-Presidents of the Xerox GALAXe Pride at Work employee group, shared a few suggestions:

  • Understand the issues, and the language of the LGBT+ community. Small changes like having gender neutral pronouns and language in official policy documents help promote a culture of inclusion.
  • Find leaders and champions to support LGBT+ groups within organizations to build momentum and continue the dialogue about inclusion.
  • Make a LGBT+ 365 commitment to diversity. LGBT+ people want the opportunity to be themselves each day of the year and need an organization’s full-time commitment to equal opportunities and inclusion.
  • Address the complex landscape of global policy changes for LGBT+ inclusion, based on EY’s whitepaper on LGBT+ inclusion, by setting global policies and calibrating them locally, understanding that culture can lag behind policy and understanding that companies can be both respectful of local cultures and be inclusive at the same time.

Closing the event, Dee-Ann Lama, Vice President, Central Market Centre and GALAXe Canada Champion, issued a call to action to the audience: “Imagine what kind of world we could live in if everyone felt accepted,” Lama said. “Now ask yourself: ‘What more can I do? What more can we do to make that happen.”

What more can your organization do to build a truly inclusive workplace? Share your ideas below.

GALAXe Pride at Work is a Xerox sanctioned independent employee group that exists to aid in achieving company diversity & inclusion objectives. GALAXe has served Xerox LGBT employees and their allies, in 40+ locations around the world for more than 25 years.

Source:: xerox news