ING launches LGBT employee network in Italy
November 18, 2015
Earlier this month, ING Italy celebrated the start of its own LGBT employee network, GALA Italy. The launch was organized with support from GALA in the Netherlands, management, HR and Communications at ING Italy and Corporate HR. The launch is a great best practice for globalizing LGBT inclusion in a multinational organization.
LGBT inclusion at ING
ING’s GALA LGBT employee network was launched in 2004 at the Amsterdam head office. ING is a founding member of Workplace Pride and has communicated its LGBT inclusion message both internally and externally since 2006. A great example of the latter is the pink ATM, designed for Amsterdam Gay Pride.
It started with the initiative from ING’s Head of Risk in Italy to organize an LGBT event at ING Italy. There was a strong support from management, and within 3 weeks, Gala Italy was born.
Gala Italy co-founder Alessandro Milanese: “Italy’s lack of legal recognition does not incentivize LGBT people to be out at work. Having a local LGBT network at ING Italy sends a strong message to ING employees that diversity has added value for our business”.
At the LGBT unconscious bias workshop held to launch GALA Italy, LGBT employees and allies shared their stories and experiences. According to ING GALA global chair Martha McDevitt-Pugh, “something special happens when LGBT people share their experiences about coming out at work. It creates intimacy and opportunities to connect and know each other a little better.”
The event was supported by the communications department, who made a video of the event with an interview of ING’s Global Head of HR, Hein Knaapen, recently included in the Financial Times OUTstanding Top 100 LGBT Executives list.
A big challenge for the new network is where to start. Luckily, they can share best practices with GALA Netherlands. Milanese: “Our aim as GALA Italy is to support our company in creating an even more inclusive environment and to ensure our employees are empowered in their performance and careers.”
In expanding to Italy, GALA expects ING will gain positive exposure internally and externally as a leader in LGBT inclusion. McDevitt-Pugh: “LGBT inclusion impacts our work culture and makes our people – LGBT and straight – proud to work at ING.”