Photo credit: Fundacion Iguales
Since 2018, the HRC Foundation has been working with corporations and local businesses to promote LGBT-inclusive workplaces across Chile through HRC Equidad CL: Global Workplace Equality Program— the Foundation’s first in-country program in South America. In partnership with Fundación Iguales, Chile’s largest LGBT advocacy group, HRC has established a pioneering initiative to assess and promote the
best LGBT-inclusive policies and practices in Chilean workplaces.
In less than three years, HRC Equidad CL has become the premier benchmarking tool on LGBT workplace inclusion in Chile and South America. The annual survey showcases businesses and multinationals committed to advancing LGBT equality and inclusion for employees across the country. In its second year, HRC Equidad CL recognized 20 businesses with the HRC Foundation’s recognition of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” for earning top scores in the annual survey, which doubled the amount of participating companies to 63 compared to its first year.
As the third launch of the Chilean-based survey approaches, HRC sat down with Emilio Maldonado, Implementing Partner of HRC Equidad CL and representative of Fundación Iguales, to talk about the success, progress and the future of the program.
How did you manage to go from zero to 63 participating companies in less than two years?
The success of Equidad CL is linked to the growth of Pride Connection Chile, which in five years has grown from five to 80 large corporations, thus becoming one of the largest business networks in Latin America. This has changed the way businesses are working on LGBT workplace inclusion and their drive to develop inclusive programs for LGBT talent and to get a certification for that job.
What are some of the challenges that Chilean companies face when trying to implement this program into their diversity and inclusion framework?
First, multinationals sometimes have difficulties implementing international policies that do not always adjust to the cultural and social context of new markets. The second challenge is the fear to publicly support the LGBT community in Chile, in some cases due to resistance from organizational leaders or public opinion. Oftentimes, the lack of public support prevents businesses from earning the HRC Foundation’s designation of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”
What kind of impact has the program had on the everyday lives of LGBT workers in Chile?
Sixty eight percent of LGBT workers are afraid to show their identity in their workspace in Chile which means that most of them feel isolated from their teams and their workplaces. Organizations need to become inclusive with this segment -- when more businesses are under the spotlight, other companies tend to join the trend. A program like HRC Equidad CL has helped to give visibility to those companies that are doing great workplace inclusion work.
What do you expect in the third edition of the program?
Thanks to the Pride Connection platform, which already reaches 80 businesses, we hope that the third edition of Equidad CL will exceed the number from 2019. It has not been an easy year, especially for diversity and inclusion programs, but we still believe this edition will be more successful than the prior years.
What are some of the additional challenges or advantages posed by a new virtual work era and the engagement of companies?
Remote work has allowed companies to go deeper into their inclusion initiatives focusing on training activities for their workers. Spatial barriers fell down and more workers have been learned about non-discrimination policies regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. These times are a big opportunity to reach greater audiences and raise awareness to eradicate all kinds of biases or discrimination against LGBT talent.
Learn more about the program and how to participate, please visit hrc.im/EquidadCL and equidadlatam.cl.