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Name of Organization/Company: IBM, Armonk, NY USA
Category: Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion

Entry Title: LGBT+ : - From Invisible to Invincible!


IBM is committed to provide a safe and welcoming environment to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and non-binary individuals. Our success in creating an open and welcoming environment—regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression—has allowed us to attract and retain valuable talent.

We were one of the first companies to include sexual orientation as part of our equal opportunity and non-discrimination in 1984 and subsequently included gender identity and expression. We launched the iconic 8 bar rainbow logo to depict our commitment to LGBT+ inclusion, changed our terminology to use LGBT+, acknowledging that the + indicates a lot of more gender and sexual identities such as (not limited to): Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Non-binary, gender queer, pansexual, etc.

Our focus is to create more visible and vocal allies who are proactive advocates for the community, who understand the impact LGBT+ inclusion has and who eventually help others to be more aware and inclusive.

With, diversity & inclusion seen as a business imperative at IBM for 100+ years, we have inclusive policies, programs and benefits to deepen our vision.

Through various activities, we have not only demonstrated our support & commitment towards LGBT+ inclusion but have also encouraged employees to be allies and inspired people from the community to bring their whole selves to work. The events, sessions & activities planned under this initiative have received an overwhelming response from the participants & the community members, leading to a visible impact:

• 30% increase in LGBT+ allies in 2020 (as compared to 25% in 2019).
• 150% increase in active participation in various inclusion sessions
• Ally Championship Badge (Certification) uptake increased by 128%.
• 235% increase in number of volunteers who offer their voluntary services to actively work with D&I team & BRG in this space.
• Community members are sharing their stories, feeling safe and are proud to be themselves.
• Substantial number of people hired from the transgender & LGBT+ community in the given duration.
• A visible increase in vocal support from executives, leaders & managers in hiring, implementing ways for LGBT+ inclusion in teams and business units.
• More IBMers /allies representing and participating in external forums thus not only demonstrating inclusion practices followed at IBM, but also keenly participating to learn more, to bring back more to implement.
• Greater acknowledgement and acceptance for community members amongst IBMers. This has been captured/ received from LGBT+ members in various surveys, inclusion dimensions and feedback in connects.
• More active and visible initiatives and interventions at Business units level to create awareness.

As we coexist with COVID, we worked with a diverse approach to realize our vision to engage, embrace and enable the LGBT+ community members. Some of the accomplishments include:

• Increase in the number of active, visible & bold allies,
• Positive influence on hiring, growth & retention of LGBT+ community members (while providing them equal opportunity basis potential and skills),
• Increase in senior leaders’ involvement and contribution to LGBT+ discussion/inclusion in management chains and their respective teams,
• Engagement survey results on inclusion dimension.
• Increased number of nominations for IBM Inclusive Manager Award 2020

The significance of these accomplishments manifest in:

1. Energized Ecosystem - For us allyship at the workplace is the cornerstone of an inclusive culture. We focus on percolating inclusion through all levels in the organization through various inclusion events curated to suit the remote work environment.

2. Engaged and Enabled LGBT+ Community – There is no other better way of enabling and engaging LGBT+ community members than creating a safe space and allowing them to be themselves and explore their potential to the fullest.

3. Impact outside IBM - Mentored organizations on their journey for LGBT+ inclusion through forums like FICCI, CII, Community Business and various other organizations.

IBM India’s LGBT+ inclusion journey began almost 18 years ago leveraging many of IBM’s best practices from IBM Global. At IBM India, we have seen so many milestones and industry firsts in this space. However, we are not yet done, we believe that Inclusion requires conscious & continuous efforts!

Here is a glimpse of all the small, medium and big steps we take to make IBM and the world beyond more inclusive and equal for the LGBT+ community: https://ibm.box.com/s/icb9y7f9o5v18iilq0lic5z0g7dgotrt

IBM’s leadership focus and commitment can be gauged by their involvement & support in this space.

Sharing some of the links to leadership’s messages, available on social media on LGBT+ inclusion:

IBM Website Page on LGBT+ inclusion - https://www.ibm.com/thought-leadership/lgbt-plus-pride/?mhsrc=ibmsearch_a&mhq=Inclusion

Message from Sandip Patel, RGM, India South Asia

Message from Chinni Sreenivas, VP HR, & HR Head, India South Asia

Employees’ video:

Webpage Links: