Public enterprises must become the lighthouse for authentic social change


Public enterprises must become the lighthouse for authentic social change

imagen Public enterprises must become the lighthouse for authentic social change

REDI, the Business Network for LGBTI Diversity and Inclusion, held a meeting today with the participation of the Secretary of State for Public Function, Lidia Sánchez Milán, and the Vice Mayor of Madrid, Begoña Villacís. It has discussed the inclusion of the LGBTI community in the field of public companies; companies that, despite having pioneering legislation that places Spain at the forefront of the world in terms of defending the rights of LGBTI people, still present opportunities in the implementation of diversity policies. This is demonstrated by the fact that, of the 117 large companies adhering to REDI, only six are public. Ízaro Assa de Amilibia, president of REDI and global head of Diversity at BBVA, stated that “we have to be responsible and participate in the change that society demands, and public companies are capable of contributing to generating those solutions that people need. LGBTI diversity represents an opportunity.” In 2020 REDI, a non-profit organization, signed a pioneering collaboration protocol with MITMA to help some of the public companies attached to it such as ENAIRE, Adif, Puertos del Estado and Ineco reinforce their commitment to LGBTI diversity. And they have been doing it ever since.

But it is not enough to comply with the law. Today, situations of inequality continue to exist for people in this group and there is still a long way to go in eradicating prejudices and stereotypes that are perpetuated in language and in certain behaviors within the workplace, and that prevent women from LGBTI people make themselves openly visible and develop their full potential. That is why it is so important that companies share good practices that help understand their situation and encourage other companies to be more inclusive. “We have the responsibility to make collective intelligence available to the great challenges we face as a society. For this, the collaboration of public and private institutions in a transversal message for human rights is essential,” added Assa de Amilibia.

Representatives of Adif, COFIDES, Correos and ENAIRE, companies that are members of REDI, agree on the role of public companies in the implementation of inclusive practices, as well as the need to assume leadership roles in terms of diversity. “When policies and protocols that guarantee equality are drawn up, people feel freer and more protected when it comes to sharing the day-to-day of their affective relationships in a natural way” they affirm, and they ensure that the work environment improves considerably. And it is that public companies, due to their special condition, cannot be oblivious to the social and cultural changes that take place, and even less taking into account the importance, relevance and impact that they cause both at the local, regional and state level.

Adif is working in the field of internal communication and dissemination of all kinds of information on the activities of public and private organizations and entities in favor of the inclusion of the LGTBI collective. “At Adif we work on awareness campaigns with the aim of normalizing diversity, publicizing the value and talent it brings and providing a place without labor discrimination where one can develop professionally”, says Martín Navarro i Vicent, director of Human Resources at this company. company that takes SDG 5 into account in its 2030 Strategic Plan. Navarro i Vicent considers that LGBTI people are very proactive in defending the interests of the group and are willing to contribute valuable ideas to continue advancing on the path of full inclusion.

COFIDES, for its part, has a Gender Policy applicable to financed operations that includes non-discrimination in hiring and working conditions. In 2020 it signed the commitment to respect the United Nations Principles of Conduct for companies against LGTBI discrimination, and in 2022 it created the Equality Commission. “COFIDES’ commitment has been total in all areas of the company and it has been noticed, for example, when it comes to normalizing daily situations and conversations about the personal lives of LGTBI people,” says Álvaro Padial, a member of the Area of Talent and Company Technologies.

Correos is working on diversity and inclusion through training, communication, social responsibility, talent, corporate culture, a healthy company and promotion. “In a company like Correos, with more than 48,000 employees, the plurality of society is reflected in our workforce, and our human resources policies are based on values such as equality, respect, diversity and freedom”, assures Eva M.ª Trillo, director of Diversity and Inclusion, and adds: “We have to be aware that the business fabric of SMEs does not have our resources to undertake certain actions, which is why we must assume this responsibility while being aware of the impact we have on health and the well-being of the people. This historic company launched its work in favor of LGBTI diversity in 2019 and since then there have been many actions: the issuance of the first LGTBI stamp, with the rainbow flag, its #NoSoloAmarillo campaign and the creation of the LGTBI Glossary available of its staff, among others.

The ENAIRE company expressly includes diversity and inclusion in its strategic line called CONFÍA, and also has a complaints channel. In 2021, it created the PROUD ENAIRE network aimed at staff belonging to the group and its allies, whose main objective is to contribute to raising awareness through actions aimed at respect and learning about LGTBI diversity. It is the first provider of air navigation services at a European level to create a group like this. Jose Luis Meler, the company’s People Director, indicates that “the fact that PROUD is articulated as a network of employees provides the advantage that they are the ones who drive and lead it, with the support and support of the company. It is a very active network because its members are displaying enormous enthusiasm for sharing experiences, informing the rest of the workforce on the most diverse issues and organizing activities to share and disseminate their reality”.

In the event held today, David García Núñez, president of MWCC-Madrid Capital Mundial, and Gonzalo Ortiz, Senior Manager of Health & Public Services at Accenture and member of the REDI Board of Directors, also participated in an interesting conversation. Both professionals have worked in both public and private companies and have been able to verify the differences in the matter.

David García Núñez has highlighted the need for public companies to become the great drivers of equality and inclusion and the beacon for authentic social change because, according to him, “the actions carried out by public institutions mark the path that will follow the Spanish business ecosystem. In addition, inclusion helps to offer a more diverse image of Madrid as a city, and of Spain as a country”. Gonzalo Ortiz added: “Diversity has to be part of the DNA of the Civil Service as the backbone of society. In recent years there has been significant progress, but we must continue working to favor and promote inclusive and diverse spaces that increase the positive impact on the relationship between public employees and citizens, but also their effectiveness as large employers that they are”.

All the companies and professionals participating in this meeting have agreed to encourage other public companies to join these initiatives and recommend carrying out a diagnosis of their starting situation, as well as having the support of external experts, such as REDI, to implement the measures of LGTBI inclusion successfully. The changes, they assure, will be palpable from the outset, both in the work environment and in worker productivity, as well as in corporate reputation and in attracting talent. It is a matter of ethics and social justice, they conclude.

The event closed with a welcome to the companies that have joined REDI over the last six months: large companies such as Alcon, Aqualia, Banco Sabadell, Brico Depôt, Cushman & Wakefield, Dominion Global, Exolum, EY, Gi Group Holding, Haleon, IBM, Meisa and Redeia; other medium-sized companies such as Ashurst and Freshfields, and small companies Galde, Hibooboo, King’s Training, Leon Hunter, Magenta People, Maricoin, Patrizia, PrideCom, Talentum Evolution, Vervo Legal and WeEQUAL. The non-profit organization Ashoka Foundation has also joined.