As a proud recipient of the Swiss LGBTI Label, Julius Baer is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We speak to three employees and LGBT+ community members about why this topic concerns us all and how, together, we can inspire further change.
This June honours the 52nd anniversary of the first Pride parade, which took place in New York in 1970 following the Stonewall Uprising of June 1969. Today, Pride Month is celebrated throughout June across the world in the form of parades, protests, memorials, and more – in recognition and in support of LGBT+ voices, culture, and rights.
This year also marks Julius Baer’s reception of the Swiss LGBTI Label. It is the first pure wealth manager to receive this recognition, which is a testament to the Bank’s ongoing commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. This includes uplifting voices of the LGBT+ community to learn from one another and inspire betterment together.
An open dialogue – from all directions
“Society has come a long way in the past few years in terms of LGBT+ rights,” says Urs, Strategic Brand Planner. “There is, however, more work to be done. The day this is no longer a discussion topic is the day we’ve succeeded as a society,” he smiles. “Even then, keeping the dialogue alive is how we can spread knowledge and promote understanding,” he adds.
And while an open discussion can encourage diversity and inclusion (D&I) on a broader level, it is only one aspect of initiating it, including in the workplace. “One way to achieve cultural change is through a top-down approach,” explains Léo, Program Manager. “This requires senior management to act as role models by going beyond words and truly embedding D&I principles in the culture of the organisation through concrete engagement.”
Be the difference, be connected
Equally as powerful is employee-driven change. Aung, Receptionist, shares: “I strongly encourage employees to attend D&I events such as charitable efforts that support LGBT+ organisations, and to be open about such topics. People are more likely to share their story in an inclusive and safe environment, which can be facilitated by online platforms, team events, and workshops – much like the Awareness Sessions on LGBT+ issues that Julius Baer hosts for its employees.”
The resulting benefits are wide-reaching. By respecting employees’ unique circumstances and perspectives, equitable employers see a higher level of commitment and earn a deeper level of trust from their employees.
D&I: a multifaceted universe
Indeed, both equity – and equality – are crucial starting points. And while Pride Month is dedicated to celebrating LGBT+ communities around the world, it is ultimately just one facet of D&I. “D&I at the workplace is about embracing others for their individual qualities like their competences and skills. One’s sexual orientation, gender, cultural origins and race, age, or living with a disability, for example, has nothing to do with what they deliver,” explains Léo.
A catalyst for change
Receiving the Swiss LGTBI Label is cause for celebration as much as an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has yet to be made. “As a global company, we need to be aware of opportunities for improvement and take one step at a time,” says Aung. “LGBT+ acceptance varies across the world. Unlike much of the Western world, some regions attach a certain stigma to being LGBT+.” Urs continues: “We need to be more open, accepting, and encourage important discussions. And always with respect – if we all jump onboard, we’ll have already made considerable strides forward.”