Hundreds of senior business leaders gathered at the fifth annual Out Leadership: Asia 2017 LBGT+ Senior Summit, hosted by for the first time in partnership by KPMG, HSBC, and Thomson Reuters.
KPMG, HSBC, and Thomson Reuters also committed to co-sponsor the Out Leadership Summit in Asia for 3 years, working together to build an enduring alliance to drive change in the region. Summit participants enjoyed increased opportunities to learn and participate in a regional dialogue about corporates’ investment in LGBT+ inclusion across the three business-focused Summit sessions, including a conversation between the three CEO Summit hosts, a discussion of the way LGBT+ inclusion impacts risk assessments in the financial services industry, and the launch in Hong Kong of the United Nations business standards for LGBT+ inclusion.
Ivy Au-Yeung, CEO Hong Kong, ANZ, observed that business and risk considerations are just part of the reason why ANZ engages on the issue. “At ANZ we’re clear that we need LGBT+ inclusion to attract the best talent. And we’re also aware of the research telling us that, if you don’t need to hide who you are, you’re much more productive. So we’re clear on the business reasons for supporting LGBT+. But there’s more to our support. Our CEO has set an agenda, that our purpose is to shape the world and help our people and our communities thrive. And that’s why we’re an inclusive organization.”
The conversation engaged deeply on the question of how companies can best measure and track their performance on LGBT+ inclusion. Fern Ngai, CEO, Community Business, noted that when her organization last administered its index, “The average score improved from 42.8 to 48 out of 100. And a lot of these companies were companies that achieved 100% on HRC’s index in the U.S. So we see that even though companies might be receiving a perfect score in other markets, when it comes to Hong Kong, sometimes the policies and what they’re doing here fails to mirror what they’re doing back home. Or maybe their policies are not implemented consistently across their footprint. So this is an area for companies to really look at.”
Ngai continued: “Companies can do more in articulating the business case and strategy especially as it pertains to Hong Kong. They need to, on a regular basis, scrutinize and improve their employee benefits. They need more in terms of promoting their brand as LGBT friendly. Potential employees, candidates, stake-holders, managers, partners, and so on. This is an area that not too many people were good at. Making the case for collecting data about their LGBT employees for employee engagement and talent management purposes.”
Hikaru Ogata, CEO Asia-Pacific, Societe General, noted that in the absence of ideal data for tracking LGBT+ inclusion, anecdotal evidence was a strong predictor of performance: “We do observe that aside from indices like Community Business’, LGBT+ inclusion can be hard to measure. My view is, other than making sure that we are conforming to the highest standards and best practices relative to our peers in terms of our policies, success will often be measured one person at a time. By which I mean, when we recruit people who let us know that one of the reason why they came to us is because they love what we’re doing in terms of inclusion.”