I recently completed Vanguard’s annual submission to The Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index survey. Published annually, the survey evaluates a company’s corporate policies, practices, and benefits with respect to LGBTQ+ employees. HRC awards points for workplace achievements in the following areas:
- Nondiscrimination and inclusion policies,
- Parity in employee and partner benefits,
- Corporate competency and diversity programs, and
- Positive community engagement.
Companies that attain the maximum 100 total points earn the coveted title, “Best Place To Work For LGBTQ Equality”.
The survey criteria is both robust and challenging, and HRC has continued to raise the bar for companies striving to attain the “Best Place…” accolade. Vanguard has participated in the survey for 5 consecutive years, and will continue to engage because it is the global standard for LGBTQ+ awareness and inclusion in the workplace. The survey is just one of the avenues Vanguard uses to benchmark our practices for continued improvement. We also participate in the survey because of you! When any potential crew member (Vanguard employee) learns about our score, they get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a crew member.
Recognition of workplace achievements always feels great, however the awards don’t provide insight into how we are personally impacted. So as I prepared to write this blog, I decided to pulse a few of my LGBTQ+ friends to share what was most relevant to each of them. I am humbled to admit that I did not foresee the large number of examples in their responses! So much so, that my blog evolved into blogs…with a Part I and a Part II. Here are a few of their thoughts:
“Part of the reason I joined Vanguard back in 1998 is that Vanguard had explicit protections for LGBT crew spelled out in their diversity statement even way back then. I was only out to few people at the bank I worked at previously, and there was no mention of LGBTQ+ in their diversity statement. That made me nervous about prospects for advancement if I came out, and that explicit statement was one of the reasons I chose to leave the bank and join Vanguard. Even so, coming out at work was a slow and deliberate process. But, once I got to know Vanguard and saw firsthand how “out” leaders were just as respected and successful, I became more comfortable being my true self.” – Mark O.
“There is so much that has made an impact on me regarding LGBTQ+ inclusion at Vanguard. For example, as an OPEN (Out Professional Engagement Network) Ally Workshop facilitator, I get to share my personal experience as an LGBT crew member with supportive allies. After each session I’m newly energized by the caliber of people that we call crew members. I always make several new connections through these workshops that have proven to be lasting and valuable! Speakers such as Ash Beckham, Amita Gupta, and JoDee Winterhoff have made a lasting impact by bringing LGBTQ+ issues outside the walls of Vanguard to life, and help crew members connect and relate to each other. Finally, the support from Senior Leadership – seeing our former CEO sign a letter voicing opposition to exclusive legislation and “walking the talk” when it comes to inclusion and support was comforting in a challenging time for the community.” – Laura T.
“Two events that I found particularly inspiring (albeit for different reasons) at Vanguard over the past couple of years were when Matthew Shepard’s mother was brought in for OPEN’s guest speaker event, and a Vanguard Day Of Caring community volunteer event that I attended in Philadelphia. I was impressed that Vanguard took the time to bring in such an impactful speaker and by the level of participation at the event – both by LGBT and ally crew. I found her presentation to be moving and inspiring. As a Philly resident, I had never been to the William Way Center, the LGBT community organization that provides service, recreational, educational, and cultural programming. The Day Of Caring event allowed me to understand their mission and feel as though I was making a contribution to the community. As with other volunteer events, I was really impressed by the numbers of both LGBT and ally crew that donated their time.” – Chris D.
As for me, one thing I think is really impressive is our Transgender Guide, which serves as an internal resource for open dialogue and further understanding of transgender issues in the workplace. The intended audience is a broad range of crew, including transgender crew members, their leaders and peers, Human Resources specialists, and client-facing crew. Topics include common terminology, overviews of gender identity and sexual orientation, guidance and tips for managers and allies, and thoughtful considerations for transgender crew members. How cool is that?