The purple day was certainly a day of pride. It marked the official launch of our new diversity programme. Staff were asked to wear purple to support the diversity focus and, specifically, their LGBT colleagues. The initiative was hugely supported.
We know that people perform better if they are themselves at work. It is therefore important that we create an environment where everyone feels able to be themselves. Half of the LGBT community never come out at work. That means they are not truly being themselves. Given the age profile of our staff, a lot of them are in their late twenties and early thirties, it is more than likely that they will have six or seven jobs over the course of their career. That potentially means coming out six or seven times.
At Allianz Worldwide Care, here in Dublin, we have 60 nationalities: every creed and every race. The LGBT network marks the first of our diversity networks. We call it DIVA which stands for Diversity at Allianz Worldwide Care. For me it’s critical that the network is built authentically and sends a message to our LGBT community that this is a safe place to work and they can be themselves at work.
As HR Director I’m the executive sponsor of the diversity initiative. So far we have established a committee, delegated roles and responsibilities, conducted a lot of research and reviewed our policies to promote inclusivity.
We have also aligned with an organisation called GLEN – the Gay Lesbian Equality Network in Dublin. Through GLEN we’ve signed up as diversity champions, branding ourselves as a diversity champion for the LGBT community in terms of recruitment. Since the announcement, we have received emails from staff saying they’re proud to be working at Allianz Worldwide Care. We’ve also had great representation at both the Dublin pride run and the pride parade.
I think that the fact we are being even more open as a company (not that we weren’t before) and putting a stamp on it, means we’ve become more inclusive.
The next step for the LGBT DIVA network is launching a straight ally programme for LGBT employees. We are also building a training piece, inviting staff to participate and be supportive.
If just one person benefits from it, it’s a success.