Our strides in LGBT + inclusion

Being your full self in the workplace

We want all our people, regardless of who they are, to be able to reach their full potential. With research from Stonewall finding that 35% of LGBT+ employees have hidden their gender identity or sexual orientation at work (Stonewall, 2018), it’s clear that organisations have a role to play to empower LGBT+ people to live better lives. We’ve made LGBT+ inclusion a key part of our global diversity and inclusion strategy and here in the UK, set an ambition to become a Stonewall top 100 employer by 2021.

When it comes to diversity and inclusion, we believe action is stronger than words. That’s why in 2019 we entered the UK Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, the most renowned indicators of workplace inclusion, for the first time. We came in at 325th, but it provided us with a good indication of what we’re doing well and what we needed to improve on. In a year we jumped 160 spaces to 165th, 2nd out of the fourteen entrants within the Insurance sector.

We believe a happy and engaged workforce enables us to be the very best we can be for all our customers.

Over the past twelve months, we’ve:

  • Launched our Trans Equality and Transitioning at work Guide
  • Held workshops on LGBT+ inclusion both digitally and at some of our offices across the UK
  • Provided development opportunities for our LGBT+ people and allies through Out Leadership and the Stonewall Workplace Conference
  • Marched proudly at Brighton, Bristol, Glasgow and Suffolk Pride 2019

In a recent survey of our people, 89% agreed that they can bring their full selves to work – its progress but clear we still have more work to do.

Last December, the annual global AXA Inclusion Conference was focused on LGBT+ inclusion, with a theme of ‘all out for inclusion’. 100 leaders from across AXA’s global entities gathered to discuss the importance of LGBT+ inclusion and how we can all generate positive change in society.

Thomas Buberl, AXA CEO, hosted a CEO dinner organised by Out Leadership, an organisation offering executive events and talent initiatives that inspire leaders and multinational companies to grow business through inclusion.

Always improving

We’re not an organisation to sit still. We want to constantly better understand the lived experiences of our LGBT+ employees by encouraging them to share, in confidence, their gender identity and sexual orientation. Different people working together make us more dynamic and stronger.

Our Pride employee resource group representing gender identity and sexual orientation and provides a voice to our LGBT+ employees and their allies across the country. They’re supported globally by Allies@AXA Pride, which aims to strengthen AXA’s presence as an LGBT+ inclusive place to work and is sponsored by senior executives across the Group.

And finally, later this year we’ll launch our Inclusion Allies initiative to further enrich our colleagues understanding of the experience of diverse talent, and in having a better representation of our customers.

“I joined AXA in May 2007 and initially kept my private life exactly that, private as I had never been out at work. After my Civil Partnership in October 2007, the cat was out the bag and I was overwhelmed by the support and acceptance shown to me by my AXA colleagues – my fears of coming out at work disappeared and for the first time I could be me and bring 100% of myself to work. A few years down the line I joined AXA Pride UK ERG, becoming the Chair in May 2018. Being part of this great group, coupled with AXA’s Diversity & Inclusion strategy has helped me to be so much happier in life.”

Arlene Stewart, Chair of AXA Pride UK, Service & Retention Operations Manager, AXA Insurance

“I completely understand why a large proportion of people still find it difficult to bring all aspects of their identity to work. What I can assure people is that, as cliché as it sounds, there’s nothing more liberating than bringing your whole self to work and for every person that makes this decision, the more we can support and encourage other role models to do the same.

“Through my role as Chair of Allies@AXA Pride, I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to provide a voice to our LGBT+ people and allies from across the AXA Group and unlock their potential to make a positive difference to the lives and experiences of others ”

James Taylor, Chair of Allies@AXA Pride, UK Inclusion Manager, AXA UK