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Your Logo Here Allies Mean Business W H Y T H E Y M AT T E R A N D H O W T O B E O N E

Ally, n. A person who believes that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people should experience full equality at work. Allies recognise that LGBT people can perform better if they can be themselves. Allies use their role within an organisation to create a culture where this can happen.

Definition adapted from “Straight Allies� (Stonewall 2011).

Your forward here Why is diversity and inclusion important to your firm? How does it align to your organisational culture and values?

Align this section to your strategy.

“Executive Sponsor Quote …… ”

Name Surname

Allies mean business Beyond being the best environment for people, there is strong evidence that LGBT inclusive workplaces create better outcomes for their organisations.

Confident relationships People who can be themselves at work are more likely to enjoy going to work, feel able to be themselves and can form honest relationships with their colleagues. Allies recognise that these confident relationships make good business sense.

Peak performance Stonewall, an LGBT equality organisation in the UK, has produced research which shows that people who are comfortably “out” in the workplace are 30% more productive than those who are not.

Ongoing endeavour Great progress has been made in LGBT inclusion in recent years, but LGBT inclusion should not be seen as a passing trend - it's part of the broader movement of Diversity and Inclusion that is being embedded in business.

“Straight Allies” (Stonewall 2009); “The power of many” (Longitude Research/EY 2013)

in diverse workforces…

Talent Inclusive teams support new recruits by offering role models, support and understanding. They are consistent with higher staff retention and it has been shown that in a competitive market prospective employees favour more diverse teams.

Innovation More diverse teams can be more innovative. According to a 2014 Scientific American article, individuals in homogenous teams tend to assume they have the same information and share the same perspective. They do not work as hard to anticipate dissent and search for novel solutions. On the other hand, being part of a diverse team “jolts” people in to action and can ultimately result in better decision making.

Connection LGBT diversity matters to colleagues, clients, investors and regulators. Inclusive teams that better reflect the diverse and international insurance market are better placed to reach out to new and existing connections.

The Centre for Talent Innovation; “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter” (Scientific American 2014)

Allies like you An inclusive workplace is built on powerful allies. Top leaders recognise that harnessing the performance benefits that come from encouraging people to be their authentic selves are the product of inclusive leadership. Broad influence Statistically, allies reach a wider audience than the LGBT community could by itself - there will typically be meetings and conversations without LGBT colleagues where your voice can have an influence.

Up to you Being an ally does not need to involve grand gestures, a massive amount of time or resources. It’s the small differences that can matter most, asking questions and challenging or reframing misperceptions. “I have always thought of myself as an ally. Throughout my life I have worked with and been friends with people of different backgrounds and sexualities, and I have sometimes witnessed them being treated in ways that I found to be unacceptable. I think it is extremely important that we embrace diversity of all forms. One of the most important parts of being an ally is to be the person who speaks up in the face of intolerance.”

Shirine Khoury-Haq Director of Operations Lloyd’s

Worried about the implications of being an Ally? Are the concerns very different for LGBT colleagues?

Barriers to being an Ally

Barriers to coming out as LGBT

I don’t know enough, it’s easier to keep quiet

I don’t want to be a target, it’s easier to not say anything

Are people going to start thinking I’m gay/lesbian/bisexual/trans?

Will people treat me differently if they know?

Do I really want this to become part of my personal brand?

Do I really want this to become part of my personal brand? I don’t want to be ‘the gay one’

It never comes up in conversation, and it is too awkward to bring it up on my own

It never comes up in conversation, and it is too awkward to bring it up on my own

This is too political for me

This is too personal to discuss at work

How will this influence my relationship with the people I work with?

How will this influence my relationship with the people I work with?


Be interested


Be yourself


Be visible


Be active


Be involved

Get to know your LGBT colleagues, friends and family and talk to them about their experiences.

Think about how you would like to treated. Think about a time when you or someone you know was treated badly for being different.

Speak about and demonstrate your support for LGBT equality.

Share your learnings with colleagues, friends and family and be confident to call out when you see LGBT inequality, bias or bullying.

Come along to networking events, bring your colleagues with you and network with people from across your company and the wider insurance industry.

Start the conversation When discussing LGBT issues at work, knowing the words to use is a great place to start. People will have their own individual issues and language preferences, so don’t be afraid to ask if you are unsure. Bisexual A person who is attracted to both people of their own gender and another gender. Also called “bi”.

Coming out The process of acknowledging one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity to other people. For most LGBT people this is a life-long process.

Gay/lesbian A person who is attracted primarily to members of the same sex. Although it can be used for any sex (e.g. gay man, gay woman, gay person), “lesbian” is sometimes the preferred term for women who are attracted to women. Avoid using homosexual, which is a clinical term for people who are attracted to members of the same sex, as some people find this term offensive.

LGBT Or LGBTA, LGBTQ, LGBTQA: These acronyms refer to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Asexual or Ally. Although all of the different identities within LGBT are often lumped together, there are specific needs and concerns related to each individual identity.

Marriage There is no need to draw a distinction between marriage and gay marriage.

Sexual orientation The type of sexual, romantic, and/or physical attraction someone feels toward others. Often labelled based on the gender identity/expression of the person and who they are attracted to. Common labels: lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, etc. Sexual orientation is preferred to “sexual preference” or “lifestyle”, which carry the disputed implication that sexuality is a matter of choice.

Transgender This term has many definitions. It is frequently used as an umbrella term to refer to all people who do not identify with their assigned gender at birth or the binary gender system. You should use the name and pronouns (he, his, she, her, hers) preferred by the transgender person.

For more LGBT terms and definitions, visit:

in diverse companies…

The Corporate Leadership Council

Internal Resources Signpost your colleagues to your firm’s internal resources. Resource 1 Examples include internal business resource group(s) or other diversity initiatives. Include leader names and contact details.

Resource 2 Include any intranet pages, HR pages

Resource 3 Any enterprise social networking, blogs or chat

Resource 4 Employee Assistance Programme

External Resources Link Link, the LGBT Insurance Network, is a network of LGBT insurance professionals and allies who are working to improve diversity and inclusion in the insurance industry.

Stonewall Stonewall campaigns for the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people across Britain.

OUTstanding The professional network for LGBT and Ally senior executives.

Trans*formation Mission: To undertake activities to end discrimination and promote the welfare of Trans* and non-binary people in the UK.

Inclusion@Lloyd’s A joint initiative between the Corporation of Lloyd’s and the Lloyd’s Market Association. Inclusion@Lloyd’s are the driving force behind the Dive In Festival. Inclusion_at_Lloyds/Home.aspx

Allies mean business Good allies recognise that LGBT people can perform better if they can be themselves. Allies use their role within an organisation to create a culture where this can happen. Link is a professional network for members of the LGBT community and their allies who work in the insurance sector. It has over 600 members who work in claims, underwriting, actuarial, broking, public relations, IT, sustainability, law and accountancy - representing over 200 firms from insurers/reinsurers, brokers, market bodies to service providers. All are welcome to come along to our monthly networking events, with registration required for some of our larger and more formal events.

This guide is provided in an open ‘white label’ format, allowing you to adapt for your company’s messaging.. Feel free to adapt. We ask in return that you please retain this Link information page. Contact

© 2016 Link LGBT Insurance Network.

Allies Mean Business (white label)  

A variant of the Link Allies Guide that is available in Powerpoint format to allow easy modification and customisation for your organisation...

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