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How Thai businesses lead the change to become better trans allyship?

TransTalents Consulting Group in collaboration with Sasin School of Management hosted a seminar on March 31, 2023 in conjunction with Trans Visibility Day on the topic "Inclusivity in action: Insights from Trans-inclusive ERG (Employee Resource Group)"

The objective was to provide quantitative and qualitative data, insights from lived experience on challenges in the workplace as transgender employees in Thailand from Seagate Technology, ExxonMobil, LMG Insurance PCL, CED DD & Friend SCK, business cases for trans-inclusive workplaces as well as actionable recommendations on policy and practices to empower trans and diverse employees while helps develop sustainably the purpose-driven inclusive branding. The seminar was witnessed by 66 business leaders, HR and sustainability professionals across ASEAN who exchanged this learning session through interactive dialogue.

Through this initiative program, Transtalents Consulting Group and partners aims to drive impactful and meaningful socio-economic change by providing research-backed guidelines for businesses to succeed in advancement of inclusive organizations. Here are some key takeaways from the program for proactive business solutions;

Challenge in the workplace as a transgender

1. Discrimination and harassment: Transgender individuals are often subjected to discrimination in the workplace, ranging from verbal harassment to outright exclusion from job opportunities. This can lead to low self-esteem, decreased job satisfaction, reduced productivity and may leave the company.

2. Lack of supports and allyship: Transgender individuals often lack access to supportive policies and practices in the workplace. This can include a lack of gender-neutral language, bathrooms, insurance coverage for gender-affirming care, and protections against discrimination based on gender identity, leaders and colleague allyship including empowering programs to leadership roles.

3. Microaggressions and bias: Transgender individuals may also face microaggressions in the workplace, which are subtle forms of discrimination that can be difficult to identify. These can include misgendering, insensitive jokes, and questioning a transgender person's identity.

Actionable recommendations on policy and practices to be a better trans-inclusive workplace

1. Develop trans-inclusive policies and create safe and inclusive culture: Review your workplace policies and procedures to ensure that they are inclusive of transgender employees. This may involve making changes to things like gender-neutral language, dress code, bathroom usage or gender-neutral bathroom, and pronouns used in company communications such as email, job application form, survey, etc.

2. Offer trans-affirming benefits and healthcare options: Make sure that your workplace health insurance plan includes coverage for transgender-related medical treatments and surgeries. Also provide resources and support for transitioning employees

3. Provide training and education on transgender issues: Educate yourself and your staff on transgender issues including microaggression and unconscious bias. Work with LGBTQ+ or trans-led consulting organization to guide and support the empowering program for better knowledge and practices. This will help create a more understanding and supportive environment for transgender employees.

4. Increase diversity in hiring and promoting to leadership role: Ensure representation in sourcing pool, train talents acquisition team to hire with sensitivity while providing equitable access to resource and network that can help empower transgender talents to become future leaders.

5. Foster a culture of inclusion and internal & external allyship: Engage internal employees to be a better ally while collaborating with other industry leaders and experts to scale your impacts externally by working with external trans community to understand needs and deepen knowledge and connection with relevant stakeholders

Benefits for business that creates trans-inclusive workplaces

1. Increased diversity: A trans-inclusive workplace can attract a wider range of talent, which can help businesses to better understand and cater to the needs of diverse customers. Whilst also benefiting from the clear business case for diversity and inclusion.

2. Improved morale and productivity: When employees feel supported, included and empowered, they are more likely to be motivated, engaged and productive at work. This can lead to increased productivity and higher job satisfaction.

3. Enhanced reputation: A business that is known for being truly inclusive and supportive of its employees and relevant communities is likely to have a positive reputation among customers and potential employees.

4. Attracting top talents: In today's competitive job market, many job seekers are looking for companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion. By supporting trans employees, businesses can attract top talent and improve their recruitment efforts.

5. Meeting legal obligations: In many countries, including Thailand, discrimination based on gender identity is illegal. By supporting trans employees, businesses can ensure they are complying with legal obligations and avoid potential legal issues.

Inclusivity in the workplace is an important step in creating an environment of acceptance, respect, understanding and empowerment for all genders. Thai businesses have a unique opportunity to take the lead on this issue by implementing trans-inclusive policies and practices. By investing in training, awareness campaigns and offering greater access to resources, businesses can create a work culture that respects gender diversity and celebrates transgender employees. With these steps, employers can ensure their workplaces are welcoming places where everyone feels safe, accepted and empowered regardless of their identity or gender expression.

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