Even though we see advancing LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer) rights and support over the past five decades, many challenges remain. A study by the World Bank reveals that despite Thailand’s progressive status regarding LGBTQ inclusion when compared with other middle-income countries, discrimination against LGBTQ people persists, especially in equal access to job opportunities, home ownership, and other various basic services.
dtac recently announced a set of policies and equal benefits for its LGBTQ employees, including marriage allowance and medical leave for gender reassignment surgery, to foster diversity and inclusion across the organization. On this occasion, dtacblog spoke to some of our LGBTQ members to share their views on diversity and inclusion at work.
Embracing Who You Are
“If there are three candidates – a straight man, a straight woman, and a transwoman, most employers would go for the first two choices,” Prasert Senchatturat said.
Nine years ago, Prasert landed her first job in finance and now works as an accountant at dtac. But the journey wasn’t always easy for her. During her first years in the workforce, she found embracing her true self at work a challenging journey.
“In one of my very first job interviews, a recruiter brought up straight away that employees were expected to dress according to their birth sex. As a transwoman, you would need to put on a shirt, a pants, a tie, and a men’s wig to be able to work there. It makes me feel demoralized,” she said. “Professionalism has to do with more than just dressing according to your birth sex. People should be judged based on their performance and be truly accepted for who they are.”
According to a survey from the global non-profit organization Catalyst, about 10 percent of LGBTQ employees left a job because the work environment was not inclusive. But many companies are working to improve the situation. The same research shows that in 2021 more Fortune 500 companies offer benefits to their LGBTQ employees, with 57 percent including domestic partner benefits and 71 percent including transgender-inclusive benefits.
At dtac, non-discriminatory practices have long been at the heart of its culture. And the new set of policies and equal benefits the company recently announced will help advance the cause and encourage LGBTQ employees to bring their whole self to work.
Diversity Equals Strength
Chanya Kungwanphanich recently started her new chapter at dtac as a member of the corporate strategy team, bringing into her new role a decade of experience in finance and marketing.
“To design a product that answers to customer needs, you need a team with a mix of people from various backgrounds, whether on gender, culture, or age. Diversity is clearly not limited to gender identity,” she said. “At dtac, everyone has their own unique qualities and strengths, but we can still come together as a team with shared goals and passion. And a diverse team will lead to better performance and customer experience.”
The same is true for Supachai Pasuk, a customer service officer at dtac Hall in Nakhon Sawan. Every day, he meets customers from different backgrounds. It’s his job to get closer to them to understand what they truly need and ensure the right products and services are delivered.
“A diverse team can bring in more creativity and value for dtac and help the company put customers at the heart of the business. For me, I use my easy-going personality as a strength to get closer to customers and to make them fall in love with dtac,” he said.
In recent years, we’ve seen stronger business cases for diversity, both in terms of gender and culture. A 2020 study from McKinsey revealed that the most gender-diverse organizations are 48 percent more likely to outperform their least diverse peers. Building and encouraging collaboration is also a key to advance diversity and inclusion in a workplace. And it is recognized by Deloitte’s Human Capital as one of the six signature traits of inclusive leadership.
“As a telco company, we do require a high level of cross-functional collaboration, combining IT, sales, and marketing. Every team needs to come together. Every voice and idea matters, regardless of your gender or age. It’s diversity and equality that make these collaborations and our agile way of work possible,” Kulawit Khumwansa, dtac’s head of corporate and branding, added. “Our policies and culture thrive on the conviction that everyone is equal. And we feel we belong here.”