India Inc is looking to hire LGBTQ+ talent with the aim of building a more diverse workforce. Companies such as Capgemini, GE, Flipkart, , , Accenture and Goldman Sachs are rolling out initiatives to attract and retain LGBTQ+ employees, their executives told ET.
Many of these companies already have robust inclusive policies that are being further strengthened. Apart from fostering diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), this also gives companies a wider talent pool for hiring.
“Organisations need to tap into every talent pool to address talent and skill gaps. After the Indian courts abolished the law that criminalised same-sex relations there is more acceptance toward LGBTQ+ employees,” said Sarika Naik, CMO and chairperson of diversity, India, Capgemini, which is proactively hiring from the LGBTQ+ community.
Tata Steel started recruiting from the transgender community in 2021, with 14 joining the company, the number has now grown to 79. “We are also currently in the process of recruiting 30 transgender persons for our Shared Services Division in Jamshedpur,” said Jaya Singh Panda, chief diversity officer, Tata Steel.
Flipkart started hiring people from the transgender community in its supply chain operations last year. “Today we have 30 individuals who identify themselves from the transgender community, performing various roles, under our project Indradhanush,” said Krishna Raghavan, chief people officer. Flipkart, like many other companies, is also celebrating June as Pride Month.
In 2021, GE hired people from the LGBTQ+ community for jobs at its technology centre and for corporate functions. “The number of employees who identify with this community is steadily increasing every year. At this time, we have over 250 active allies (GE employees) in India,” said its spokesperson in an emailed response.
Companies including Capgemini, Accenture and Wipro have taken several measures to embed LGBTQ+ inclusion in their policies.
Capgemini provides partner medical insurance coverage for employees in same-sex relationships since 2019 and has all-gender washrooms at its offices.
Plus, it covers gender affirmation surgery under medical insurance for trans people alongside month-long paid leave to support transition.
Starting April, Accenture extended its medical insurance benefits to include facial reconstruction surgery for transgender employees and made enhancements to ensure that partners of LGBTIQ+ staff and their families are included, said Lakshmi C, lead, human resources, Accenture in India.
The company leverages strategic external partnerships, pride employment fairs and employee referrals to attract the right LGBTQI+ talent. Where there are skill gaps, it invests through a six-month, inclusive internship programme to help them bridge these.
EY Global Delivery Services has equitable policies and benefits for all staff. Additionally, it provides medical cover for gender affirmation surgery and a mental health benefits package.
“The pandemic provided us with an opportunity to create a solid support system for our LGBTQ+ employees via our safe space conversation platform, and we now include family as significant allies on the collective journey to inclusion, belonging, and psychological safety for our LGBTQ+ employees,” said Jaya Virwani, DEI and ethics leader, EY.
Wipro has also revised group mediclaim insurance and the medical assistance scheme to include same-sex partners of employees, its spokesperson said.
At Goldman Sachs, managing directors learn from LGBTQ+ employees about their experiences through a reverse mentoring programme that helps nuance leadership approaches and builds advocacy.
“Our culture of LGBTQ+ inclusion is a result of active engagements with members of the community,” said Deepika Banerjee, head of human capital management, Goldman Sachs Services India, which is hosting a Pride Carnival this month.