Aligning EAPs & Corporate Inclusion Strategies.

Author:Messer, Kimberley
Position:Cover story
 
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Corporate diversity and inclusion programs are well established and tightly integrated into the business strategy of large multinational organizations. These same multinational companies invest significantly in EAP. Despite sharing similar goals and objectives, EAPs and inclusion strategies tend to operate independently from one another. Approaching employees' needs more holistically can offer significant business opportunities for EAPs and benefits providers to offer new services that support corporate inclusion goals. Stronger collaboration with corporate inclusion programs will drive wellness and belonging outcomes for every employee with greater significance and lasting impact.

Background

For IBM, it is critical to our business success and fundamental to our values as a company to be forward leaning on issues impacting the well-being of our employees. We hired our first person with a disability in 1914, introduced equal pay for equal work in 1935, promoted our first female VP in 1943, and in 1953 we introduced the first non-discrimination policy of its kind. Our longstanding commitment to our values and our progressive inclusion practices have positioned IBM as a thought leader on global inclusion programs, policies, and advocacy.

One of the strongest examples of our leadership is our ongoing commitment to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender + community, which we have supported for over 30 years. IBM provides domestic partner benefits in 50 countries, offers employees the opportunity to confidentially self-identify as LGBT+ in 42 countries, creates targeted leadership development programs, sponsors over 40 LGBT+ organizations around the world, and advocates for equality outside the company walls. For instance, IBM helped defeat the Texas bathroom bills in 2017, and has issued a business statement in support of transgender equality. (Additional examples are provided in the accompanying article.)

This article will highlight the many opportunities for collaboration between EAPs, benefit providers, and committed employers to improve support for the LGBT+ employees and their families.

Education and Awareness

Creating a culture of belonging requires education to promote greater awareness. In 2017, IBM released an LGBT+ inclusion learning and education framework, a global resource for online learning accessible to all IBM employees. The courses on LGBT+ inclusion include:

* Becoming an LGBT+ Ally: This course includes a set of modules to educate LGBT+ Allies on issues affecting the LGBT+ community, as well as specific behaviors they can adopt to help create more welcoming and inclusive spaces--at work, at home, and in the community.

* LGBT+: Leading Inclusively: This course educates managers and employees on the LGBT+...

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