“Nowadays, these issues have been long since been outgrown.” “What does who you sleep with have to do with your job?” “Everyone can do what they want at home, but there is no reason to spend all day talking about the same thing.” These are just some of the comments from social network users to publications in favour of equality for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation and identity, from the profiles of Telefónica and Movistar.
While other comments received are insults or derogatory remarks, these are valid reflections, to be taken into account. But is it really true that discrimination has been eradicated in the workplace? Although sometimes we are not aware of it, there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve effective equality. This is demonstrated by data from the study “LGBT diversity in the workplace in Spain”, in which Telefónica participated and which revealed that only 38% of Spanish LGBT+ employees feel comfortable talking about their personal lives at work. And it is to be expected that, in other countries within Telefónica’s footprint, the situation could be even worse.
At Telefónica we want to ensure that all our employees work in a safe environment, where they feel comfortable to be themselves.
LGBT+ professionals who, for fear of rumours, derogatory remarks or penalisation of their professional future, devote their energy to avoiding any personal conversation with their colleagues in a meeting, a coffee break or a teambuilding meeting, demonstrate a lower level of well-being, engagement and productivity. Therefore, our goal in managing LGBT+ diversity is to ensure a safe, trusting space where all employees feel free to decide what they want to share and what they don’t want to share without fear of any hypothetical consequences.
Although the company is using these dates to give greater visibility to its commitment and thus raise awareness among its internal and external audiences, this commitment is in fact in force every day of the year, without exception. In line with our Responsible Business Principles and our Diversity and Inclusion Policy, approved by the Board of Directors, any discriminatory conduct that contravenes the company’s position on this matter is liable to lead to disciplinary proceedings which could result in corrective actions. To ensure that Telefónica’s commitment to equality is respected, the company has provided its employees with internal whistleblowing channels to report any harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity.
Inclusive work environment
Along the same lines, and in order to foster an egalitarian and inclusive work environment in which all employees feel free to express themselves as they truly are, we develop workshops, conferences and courses for all Group employees in the countries where we are present. A recent example was the “LGBT+ Inclusion at work” session, with a special focus on the visibility of LGBT+ women in the company, which was held in Spain on 24 June and disseminated among the group’s employees through our internal networks.
Being well aware of the special difficulties faced by transgender people in the labour market, we have developed specific initiatives to promote the attraction of this type of talent, as well as ensuring their ongoing development and well-being. Thus, in Brazil, we accelerated the recruitment of transgender people, approaching 50 employees by the end of the year, while in Spain we joined the YesWeTrans project of FELGTB and published internally a new Gender Transition Guide that helps both the employee and his/her/their manager to manage the challenges associated with a transition process in our company.
The awareness-raising and sensitisation actions carried out at global level, together with the commitments set out in our Equality Plans and internal policies, as well as the programmes to promote talent, allow us to advance little by little towards the effective inclusion of the LGBT+ community. However, we know that much still remains to be done to eradicate prejudice and discrimination. That is why we are continuing to look for ways to promote an inclusive work culture in which talent flourishes and is able to make us better as a company and as a society.