MANILA, Philippines — The month of June sees the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning (LGBTQ+) community and allies coming together to call for greater equality in the Philippines and around the world. As we transition to virtual events this Pride Month to discuss LGBTQ+ inclusion through educational webinars, music and art, there’s a greater opportunity for more Filipinos to participate.
For businesses in the Philippines, this is also an important time to reflect on how and what we can do better to ensure greater diversity and inclusion (D&I) in our workplace. At Manulife, we are also on a journey to do more for the LGBTQ+ community, raise greater awareness of the challenges they face, strive hard to help resolve them, and explore the right opportunities where we can show support and be a stronger ally.
Promote D&I because it’s the right thing to do
Our D&I aspiration is to cultivate a diverse and inclusive workplace, in which all employees are inspired to bring their authentic and whole selves to work. This enables them to thrive personally and professionally to best serve our customers, business partners, and communities.
Companies that prioritize LGBTQ+ inclusion also tend to perform better than those that do not. It’s no surprise that almost all Fortune 500 companies have LGBTQ+ affirming and non-discrimination policies.
Ensuring greater workplace D&I is really about creating a collaborative, supportive, and respectful environment that increases participation and contribution of all employees – this reflects our corporate values: “Do the right thing” and “Share your humanity.” This moves us beyond the traditional economic argument for LGBTQ+ inclusion to taking principled actions simply because that’s the right thing to do.
Need for greater diversity, inclusion, learning
We have a mission to make lives better and that’s why we are focusing on three core pillars to promote greater inclusion and equity in our workplace, as well as support our communities in which we live, work, and raise our families.
Talent: Reflect the diversity of the communities we serve
In concrete terms, this means increasing the diversity of both interviewers and candidates for hiring and promotion to launching digital tools that minimizes biased language in job postings.
Culture: Build a supportive and diverse workplace
Manulife is present in the Philippines through Manulife Philippines, Manulife China Bank Life Assurance Co, Manulife Asset Management and Trust Co, Manulife Business Processing Services (MBPS), and Manulife IT Delivery Services. As a company, we promote D&I across all our businesses. We embed D&I accountability into our leaders’ performance goals, train employees to recognize and reduce unconscious bias, and make available employee-led groups, like MBPS’s PROUD (Professionals Reaching Out for Unity and Diversity) group for our Filipino LBGTQ+ staff and allies.
Community: Champion D&I in places we live, work, and serve
As a business community, collectively, we can be a major force for LGBTQ+ inclusion. Through MBPS, we support pro-LGBTQ+ coalitions, such as the Philippine Financial & Inter-Industry Pride (PFIP) and the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce. We aim to implement this further across our businesses and encourage more companies to do the same, ensuring that we have strength in numbers and are speaking in one voice.
We all have a responsibility to ensure everyone feels included, respected, and safe—no matter where we live, no matter the color of our skin, our gender, our sexual orientation, our religious beliefs, or any other differences we may have from each other.
So, let’s resolve to make diversity, inclusion, and learning a foundational aspect of our workplace cultures, and let’s continue our journey to create a meaningful impact in our offices and help fight discrimination in society as a whole.
Richard Bates is Manulife Philippines president and chief executive officer.