Encouraging employees to bring their full selves to work

To celebrate LGBT+ History Month, DWS discusses its inclusion network and podcast on gender identity

February is celebrated as LGBT+ History Month in the UK by schools, museums and businesses including financial services. The aim is to “educate our prejudice” and make LGBT+ individuals in their rich diversity.

Here, European asset manager DWS shares its approach to ensuring LGBT+ inclusivity. (To share your or your firm’s story this February please contact esgeditors@bonhillplc.com).

How does DWS approach LGBT inclusivity as an employer?

We are committed to an inclusive culture that respects and embraces the diversity of our employees, clients, and communities.

Our continuous focus is to build talented and diverse teams to drive business results, create a respectful and inclusive environment where people can thrive and strengthen our relationship with clients, partners, regulators, communities, and potential employees.

We aim to attract, develop, and retain the best people from all cultures, countries, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, beliefs, backgrounds, and experiences.

Sounds good! In what practical ways do you do this?

We have found a number of ways to do this. To start with, DWS has established a DWS Pride Employee Inclusion Network which comprises regional groups in the US, UK, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and APAC. It now has over 250 members globally.

We also respect everyone’s gender identity. We encourage our employees to bring their full selves to work.

Each year on 17 May, we proudly support International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. All colleagues across the firm are encouraged to wear something purple for the day to show their support.

And during Pride month in June we show support by changing our DWS logo to rainbow colours across our internal, external and social media platforms as well as the signage in the reception of our Frankfurt headquarters.

Further steps we have been taking include celebrating International Pronouns Day and encouraging our colleagues to update their email signatures with the appropriate pronoun they determine for themselves. This is to further enhance our culture of equity and inclusion.

Finally, we regularly invite inspirational speakers to share their insights with our employees to break down stereotypes and act as an advocate, speaking up for LGBTIQ+ equality. This month Nicola Adams, who won the first female gold boxing medal at the London 2012 Olympic games, is hosting an event with us.

This is an evolving area for the corporate world. What have you done more recently to enable LGBT inclusivity at DWS?

A good example of things we have done more recently is launch a diversity hiring referral programme in the US in 2020. We’ve also started a global allyship campaign and an internal awareness campaign on intersectionality.

And working with our industry colleagues, DWS Pride Network partnered with BlackRock’s Out & Allies Network to host a Pride Education Discussion on the US Equality Act. The event was called PED Talk: Equality Act NOW — A Pride Education Discussion.

Another more recent project was the DWS Insights Podcast: Beyond the Binary – which is a DWS Pride Network & DWS Black Leadership Alliance initiative on gender identity and exploring related themes.

It sounds like you’ve been busy. What can we expect to see in the future in terms of DWS and LGBT inclusivity?

Right now we’re tailoring our policies to be even more inclusive – developing transition guidelines for managers, as well as an inclusion manager handbook and terminology guide.

We’re excited to say our executive board has just launched our first diversity, equity and inclusion global survey which asks our employees to voluntarily disclose their LGBT status where legally possible. We plan to use the results of this survey to determine action plans across all of our regions to help further drive the LGBT agenda both in DWS and across the industry.