Stonewall’s Employer of the Year 2010 was awarded to IBM UK & Ireland. They are the first employer to win this title twice, having previously topped the Stonewall Top 100 Employers in 2007. IBM recognized the economic downturn as an opportunity to invest in diversity—both to attract the best LGBT talent in the marketplace and to ensure they are the number one supplier for the LGBT community.
Brendon Riley, Chief Executive Officer, IBM UK & Ireland states, “IBM is extremely proud to accept this important accolade. This is the second time that IBM has been named as the UK’s top employer for LGBT people in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers 2010.”
Stonewall, through its Workplace Equality Index and other programs, has increased the sense of urgency for organizations across Britain and Ireland to implement effective diversity strategies. 2009 marked the 25th anniversary of IBM’s global LGBT non-discrimination policy, although the company ranked eleventh on the index for the year.
Riley states, “Since last year’s award, we have done much to re-evaluate and strengthen our LGBT strategy as part of our overall commitment to diversity. We’ve looked more closely at the LGBT network group—its value proposition and its life-cycle—to ensure that it continues to deliver value, both to the corporation and to its members.”
Silvy Vluggen, IBM’s Global Program Manager, LGBT Constituency & Cultural Intelligence tells SFGN that the company, “is proud to offer 49 LGBT Diversity Network Groups worldwide.”
In addition, “IBM offers extensive Domestic Partner Benefits, which includes coverage of sexual reassignment surgery,” Vluggen states. “Furthermore, our ‘Out Executives’ program keeps track of LGBT executives worldwide and engages them actively in our activities and programs.”
IBM’s Global Corporate Policy on Workforce Diversity states: “The employees of IBM represent a talented and diverse workforce. Achieving the full potential of this diversity is a business priority that is fundamental to our competitive success.”
Furthermore, IBM developed the LGBT Executive Forum, which enables organizations to share best practice and support others in their efforts to establish effective and pervasive equality agendas.
Stonewall’s sixth Workplace Equality Index, the basis for the Stonewall Top 100 Employers 2010, is the definitive national benchmarking exercise showcasing Britain’s top employers for LGBT staff.
2010 is the second year of revised and updated index criteria, challenging employers to demonstrate how their efforts to support LGBT staff have a lasting impact on their workplace. Employers have responded to this challenge in greater numbers and to higher standards than ever before. Participation in the Index has more than doubled since 2006 and this year the minimum score needed to win a place in the Top 100 is 10 per cent higher than in 2009.
Every employer mentioned in the index has an employee network group to provide support, advice, networking and development for LGBT staff. The companies understand that LGBT equality benefits both individuals and organizations.