We want to hire the best talent, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or religious belief – that’s what I tell anyone who asks me how Standard Chartered feels about lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion.
When I joined the Bank it was quite clear that being LGBT+ inclusive was already well embedded in our organisation. There are LGBT+ networks for staff, we celebrate when our colleagues make the FT’s OUTstanding list of leading LGBT executives and future leaders, and we have open forums to talk about the importance of tolerance and inclusion.
I recently spoke to staff in Hong Kong about the importance of identifying and celebrating the positives that LGBT+ individuals have to offer. I believe it is incumbent upon all of us to utilise the very real value that lies in openness and inclusivity – it’s one of the reasons we sponsor the Hong Kong Pride Parade. LGBT+ people may have experienced a lot of challenges in their lives, and can bring different solutions as a result, which is highly valuable and enriches our organisation. Recognising this helps us to attract and retain the best talent.
"It’s about working continuously to deliver an open and respectful working environment for all our staff"
At the end of the session in Hong Kong, I thought back to a time when someone who worked for me resigned when our employer, JP Morgan, sponsored Stonewall, an organisation which supports LGBT+ people. That was in 1994. While times have moved on a lot since then, we must not lose sight of how easy it is to slip backwards.
The LGBT inclusion fight is not a quick one to win. It’s about communicating and utilising the positives and working continuously to deliver an open and respectful working environment for all our staff.