Although around one in four people on an international level view coming out at work as an advantage, less than one in ten people share this view in France (source: Boston Consulting Group, BSC, 2021). Over a third (36%) of LGBTQ+ people in France think that this could even hamper their career progression. As the World Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is marked on 17 May, it is important to recall that companies have an essential role to play to foster the inclusion of LGBT+ people, and everyone in general.
LGBT+ inclusion: big disparities between countries
As a reminder, LGBT+ is used to represent those whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual: it includes Lesbians (L), Gays (L), Bisexuals (B) and Trans (T), with the + representing new identities
As we have also learnt from the BSC study, the perception of the LGBTQ+ community varies widely between different countries, due to vastly different cultures and histories. In answer to the question “Could coming out at work lead to professional inequality?” only 9% of those surveyed in the USA answered yes, compared to 31% in China and 40% in Mexico. Although it’s difficult to provide a global response to this problem due to socio-cultural disparities between different countries, it is, however, possible to take action, in particular by companies.
“We are focussed on decentralising our actions, adapting our purpose and ambitions to local circumstances. This is important, since demands differ from one side of the world to the other. But we receive active support from Group and local HR.”
Alicia Gallard, a member of the “Friends by ENGIE” community
At ENGIE - concrete measures to foster inclusion
One fundamental principle drives the Group’s actions: no employee can be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or religion, etc. This approach was even etched in stone when the Group’s new international social agreement was signed at the start of 2022: it sets out an active fight against all forms of discrimination, in all countries in which ENGIE operates.
This principle can be seen though the different initiatives undertaken to create an inclusive working environment, especially towards LGBT+ people, among others. For example, since 2017, ENGIE has been a signatory to the LGBT+ Engagement Charter from the key association, L’Autre Cercle, and has been a partner since 2020 of the Têtu Connect think tank. Things are also taking place internally thanks to the action of the Diversity network and Friends by ENGIE LGBT+ collective, led by employees to drive inclusion and quality of life at work for all. The Group also implemented a whistle-blowing system to report any behaviour that undermines the dignity of individuals and offers a legal advice service, Allodiscrim. This enables us to change mentalities and ensure fulfilling working conditions for all employees.