30. 05. 2018 Corporate responsibility

Just Be Yourself. Even at Work

30 May is a celebration of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. New signatories have joined the Slovak Diversity Charter.

Do you know how companies usually respond when asked if they have implemented special programs or measures to support their LGBT employees? “No, we don’t need to dedicate any special attention to employees with a different sexual orientation or gender identity. So far, we haven’t received any complaints from our employees.”

But LGBT employees feel differently about the matter. According to the Out Now survey conducted in 2015, only 9% of them have shared their sexual orientation with co-workers and almost 40% of them think that coming out at work could jeopardize their career.

But ignoring this topic is not worth it for companies. “Compared with employees who feel free to come out in the workplace, those who need to hide their sexual orientation are 73% more likely to quit within the next three years,” points out Ivana Vagaská, Senior Program Manager of the Pontis Foundation.

There Are Different Family Scenarios

The environment in companies and other workplaces is a reflection of how society as a whole views the topic of LGBT.  Even companies and the environment they create for their employees can have a positive impact on how the topic of LGBT is viewed by society. Slovakia is one of the last countries in the European Union that offer no legal protection for same-sex couples.

Accenture is a company that goes beyond what is expected by Slovak laws, giving its employees access to family benefits regardless of their orientation or identity. The only thing the company needs is an affidavit of birth or adoption. “This enables our employees to receive childbirth benefits and take a day off. The conditions are similar for the wedding bonus, which employees receive if they present a document proving that they have entered into a registered partnership abroad,” explains Lucia Skraková, the company’s HR Manager.

Do you want to know how to promote LGBT inclusion in your workplace? Download the recommendations created by Business Leaders Forum.


Celebrating Diversity Together

The recommendations are being published as we mark Diversity Day, which is a celebration of respect towards the distinctiveness and uniqueness of every employee. It brings an opportunity to realize that while each and every one of us has stereotypes that lead to prejudice and discrimination, it is possible to change them. Why is the Slovak Diversity Day celebrated on 30 May? “On this day in 2017, the Slovak Diversity Chapter was officially launched and the first signatories joined this voluntary initiative supported by the European Commission,” explains Ivana Vagaská.

At today’s signing ceremony, several new signatories from the private sector joined the Charter, including, for the first time ever, two media outlets – SME and The Slovak Spectator. This brings the Slovak Diversity Charter to a total of 41 signatories who publicly promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Several companies have organized Diversity Day activities for their employees. For instance, ING Business Shared Services prepared a lecture on stereotypes and handicaps, a demonstration of guide dogs, and discussions on the topic of Women in Business with the company’s female employees. Foreign employees shared their stories about life in Slovakia while others handed out badges with a rainbow version of the ING lion as a sign of support for the LGBT community.

The third week of May at T-Systems Slovakia included a series of events for female employees under the title “Lady T”. SwissRe, on the other hand, focused on the topic of mental health. IBM ISC’s Diversity Days, which took place on 23 and 24 May, consisted of workshops that presented various cultures as well as the stories of people with disabilities and LGBT people. The program also included “speed mentoring” sessions led by people at senior positions. PwC Slovakia celebrated diversity in a similar way – with topics like generational differences, gender diversity, and unconscious bias.

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Pontis Foundation
Zelinarska 2821 08

Phone: (+421 2) 5710 8111
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Phone: (+421 2) 5710 8113