How we reached a milestone on equality and inclusion

What does it take to achieve a 100 rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index? According to the HRC itself, companies named to the organization’s “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” have advanced vital and rigorous policies to protect LGBTQ employees and have become vocal advocates for equality.

Jan 21, 2020
Jennifer Hulett 

Vice President of People, Ericsson North America

It’s a testament to a strong company culture. Ericsson is proud to have achieved this rating, which is a demonstration of the respect and support we provide to our people who are part of the LGBTQ community.

What matters the most

We reached one of our key LGBTQ milestones in January 2019 when we expanded our medical benefits for transgender employees to cover gender affirming procedures, counseling and support.

Awards aren’t our goal, and our commitment isn’t something that happened overnight. It’s the result of hard work and a deliberate approach to creating a more diverse and inclusive company, where our people feel a sense of belonging. We’re the kind of company that stands up with our people and supports them in the moments of life that matter the most.

Building an inclusive culture is a marathon, not a sprint

Our path to this point hasn’t always been a straight line. It’s been a long, winding journey. We’ve learned along the way by listening to our people, hearing what we can do to drive real change and taking action.

We knew that for our workplace culture to evolve and grow, it couldn’t be an edict handed down from leadership. Our culture journey had to come from our people, who felt empowered to make change in an organic, grassroots-driven way.

Many companies today talk about giving their employees the ability to bring their “whole selves” to work. We believe in building culture by using empathy more deliberately and consistently. We’ve created experiences where our people truly celebrate each other’s differences while working toward our common goal - empowering an intelligent, sustainable and connected world.

We looked to our customers for best practices in supporting our LGBTQ people. One of those best practices was investing in employee resource groups, or ERGs, to help us reach our overall diversity and inclusion goals. The Ericsson North America LGBTQ+A (“A” stands for allies) ERG was formed in 2017. That group helped break down barriers and showed our people that they could create a safe space to talk about the issues that really matter to them without judgement.

Support from the top-down and bottom-up

We wouldn’t have gotten to where we are today without backing from leadership. We knew it was important to take a “top-down, bottom-up” approach to secure support at all levels of our team, from the C-suite to the front lines. One of my proudest memories in our company’s LGBTQ journey happened just a few years ago when I joined hands with my fellow Ericsson North America leadership team members during an All Employee Meeting and each of us personally declared our commitment to the LGBTQ community. Our people embraced that action and used it to fuel their own diversity and equality journey.

Empowering our people to “chart our path” when it comes to diversity and inclusion has been critical not only to our people strategy, but to Ericsson’s overall transformation, as well. As a result of this approach, we’ve seen our attrition rates (employees voluntarily leaving the company) drop 3 to 4 percent lower than the industry average and our culture scores have improved 14 points in internal surveys in the last two years alone.

We know our job isn’t done. Creating an empathetic work environment where people feel empowered, respected and secure is a long-term commitment, and there’s still more to come.

Learn more about the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index report

Learn more about Ericsson’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts.

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