It has been a year since section 377 was scrapped by the Supreme Court of India. But changes had already started at Capgemini a year earlier. This French multinational company has now taken a big step forward to rejuvenate its diversity agenda, specially by focusing on including the Indian LGBTQ community in its workforce. The objective is to give them an equal opportunity to make a start and climb the ladder of success in India Inc.
Capgemini understood the importance of giving equal opportunity to this section of the society, which is unfortunately still an untapped talent segment, often overlooked by the corporate world.
Gayathri Ramamurthy, head of diversity and inclusion at Capgemini, discusses how the Company has shaped the policies around hiring and including the LGBTQ community.
“We do not believe in achieving targets in terms of numbers. In my opinion, that is not diversity. We believe that any talent possessing the ability and potential to work with us should be given an opportunity,” says Ramamurthy.
The Company has a robust and a well-branded programme to encourage LGBTQ hiring and inclusion.
“The talks and dialogues around inclusion of LGBTQ started a year back, before section 377 was slashed. We tied up with NGOs and SMEs to understand the problems of the LGBTQ community,” shares Ramamurthy.
Capgemini initiated a programme called ‘Outfront’, which focussed on regular hiring from the LGBTQ community, and at the same time, sensitising its own employees, stakeholders and staff about the community.
Merely hiring from LGBTQ is not enough to fulfil the agenda of diversity. Inclusion also has to happen, and that is precisely what Capgemini did.
Through various means, from podcasts to panel- sensitisation activities, it made its employees understand the problems that the LGBTQ community faces in everyday life.
There was an instance, when about 30 to 40 employees approached the management and expressed their desire to make a positive impact in the lives of the LGBTQ community. They wanted to know and learn how to go about it.
An external coach, who was a professor, was called to train these 40 employees on ‘inclusion’ and ways of ensuring the same for the LGBTQ. The incident ignited the fire of spreading this knowledge to a larger number of employees. So much so, that Capgemini had to introduce a lot of initiatives to make this happen.
“There is a stigma attached to the hiring of the LGTBQ community. We aim to remove that stigma and bias”
An internal podcast was launched to allow the LGBTQ to express their pain and convey what they actually expect from the world.
“The objective of starting this podcast was to make our employees understand the pain and hardships these people go through in their professional and personal lives,” elaborates Ramamurthy.
In addition, on a regular basis, internal training sessions for employees and sensitise them towards the LGBTQ community is done. Also an e-module has also been prepared to facilitate this, supported by panel discussions and dialogue sessions.
“There is a stigma attached to the hiring of the LGTBQ community. We aim to remove that stigma and bias,” asserts Ramamurthy.
For Capgemini, it wasn’t enough to just sensitise their regular employees. It realised that canteen staff as well as the organisation’s security personnel will also be interacting with members of the Community if they are made part of the workforce. So, the Company decided to take its efforts a step ahead.
“We believe in the mantra of adaptation. It is not about just sensitising the employees and the stakeholders. We need to make sure that everybody inside the office campus treats the community well, ” explains Ramamurthy.
The Company failed to reach out to the supplier community in 2018, because they came from a very different background. However, the organisation is planning to make up for that shortcoming now.
Ramamurthy explains that the result of pressing upon this agenda has given them positive results. “We have been able to establish ourselves as a potential employer of choice within the talent that we see in the LGBTQ community and the employees are also coming out to bring their whole self to work and to wholeheartedly participate in bringing about a desired change,” reveals Ramamurthy.
Though it is too early to claim success, companies, such as Capgemini, are giving this agenda the much-required fillip, while inspiring other corporates to follow suit.