Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Official Google Blog: Transgender Remembrance Day

Official Google Blog: Transgender Remembrance Day

I have had the good fortune through my diversity work as a consultant to become an advocate and advisor for LGBT equality in the workplace, so was happy to see Google weigh in on behalf of Transgender Rememberance Day, which is 11/20.

There are incredible stories of courage, which I am privy to, by Transgender employees and leaders out there, specific to transitioning in the workplace, and equally inspiring has been company responses and support for transgender employees. To see support from HR and senior management for enabling seamless "transitions", in companies much less progressive than Google, to me highlights the business case for ensuring each and every employee is critical in the ever-hotter war for talent. Some of the major financial services institutions in the news today, for example, offer transgender health benefits, in addition to the LGBT workplace protections they already provide, like domestic partner benefits.

Lately, I get the question: "What will happen to our company's diversity initiatives while the economy is suffering and jobs are disappearing? Doesn't it become irrelevant?" I shudder at the thought of this becoming irrelevant, when every company's talent pool (especially the incoming talent) and customer base is rapidly becoming more multi-cultural than ever before. Notwithstanding the messages of the last 8 years coming from the government about diversity, our country's diversity is its key differentiator, and that will only become even more critical as a source for innovation and cultural health as we continue to outsource to the rest of the world. What will we keep here in the US, and what will be unique about our work product? Isn't it the diversity of our workforce? People are the product.

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