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Changing the Narrative-Review of Best Practices on LGBTQ+ Inclusion at India’s Most Inclusive Companies

Wednesday August 25, 2021, By Athira Premarajan

Futuristic organizations prefer to have a robust team that embraces diverse mindsets and identities, including that of gender, sexual orientation, and physical capabilities. Corporate leaders and HR professionals in these organizations, are on a mission to make their work culture inclusive of diversity talent, the inclusion of LGBTQ+ being a key priority. India Inc. had onboarded this strategy, interestingly in line with the developments of the global corporate world, committing to the employment and development of this diverse talent group. Thanks to the corporate strategies and government initiatives that further supported the inclusion of the community, today there are several organizations in India keenly engaging in initiatives supporting the inclusion of LGBTQ+ members.

A seismic shift in the narrative in the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ talent pool was seen after the historical amendment of Section 377, the landmark judgment that validated their identity by decriminalizing homosexuality, most importantly impacting their employment rights. Since then, Corporate India’s intent of inclusion has expanded to this diversity strand. As Avtar, India’s pioneer DEI solutions firm hosts the third consecutive run of the Working Mother & Avtar Most Inclusive Companies Index (MICI), the country’s first inclusion index, we highlight the best practices of India’s most inclusive companies and their roadmap to becoming champions.

Covering three broad categories of segments namely, diversity representation, Recruitment, Retention and Advancement, and Company Culture, MICI identifies the winning companies – the champions and the exemplars based on their DEI efforts across the diversity strands of gender, generation, sexual orientation, physical capabilities, and culture. Reviewing the best practices of companies, we compiled a compendium of initiatives that stands inspirational and innovative for aspiring companies to adapt. Listed here are the selected few in alphabetical order of company names.

Best Practices

  • Accenture Solutions Private Ltd. embraced the idea of an equal workforce, the initiatives curated focused more on the inclusion factor, delivering through policies like gender reassignment surgery, mental health consultation for gender dysphoria, medical insurance coverage to the partners of LGBTQ+ employees, etc.
  • ANZ Bengaluru Service Centre committed itself to building the PRIDE Network, a support mechanism for the community.
  • Barclays in India celebrated and supported the LGBTQ+ inclusion agenda through its Employee Resource Group (ERG), Spectrum.
  • The decade-long DEI journey of EY is a noteworthy highlight here, with inclusive policies extending to spousal benefits to partners of LGBTQ+ employees, and safe-space conversations for their out LGBTQ+ employees, allies, and their families, further solidifying EY’s commitment to workplace equality.
  • IBM India Private Limited’s pride is its inclusive leadership and sensitization sessions.
  • Infosys Limited is one of the frontrunners fostering learning and awareness, personal storytelling through ‘Human Libraries’ along with ERGs comprising community members and allies.


Assessing the inclusion intent of companies aspirational of becoming the market best in the implementation of a DEI-driven workplace, we identified robust inclusion initiatives that helped them achieve the MICI title. Here are a few highlights from 2020 MICI winners, that would sprout the seeds of inclusion intent in aspiring companies.

  • 91% of companies employ LGBTQ+ employees.
  • 66% of companies have LGBTQ+ networks for their employees (up 10% from 2019).
  • 36% of companies engage social media to reach out to the LGBTQ+ talent pool.
  • 69% of companies host events to foster a culture of allyship for the community.
  • 54% of companies provide specific mentoring opportunities for LGBTQ+ employees.
  • 29% of companies run specific programs to identify hi-pot employees from the community.

To view the comprehensive report, please follow: https://www.avtarinc.com/bcw/best-companies-for-women-yearbook-2020.pdf

Identifying and recognizing successful best practices, Avtar’s DEI analytics exercises have been impacting a large pool of corporates intentional of building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce. And for the winners, these practices have been extremely helpful in managing the crisis-impacted business flow, especially during the pandemic. As Avtar is set to welcome the next set of winners for the year 2021 in identifying the Top 10 and Top 100 Best Companies for Woman and Most Inclusive Companies of India, we wish all organizations the very best in their pursuit of inclusion!

Author Profile

Athira Premarajan
Athira Premarajan
A Research and Content Development Associate. She is a Mass-Comm graduate from Pondicherry University, Athira Premarajan has multi-domain experience in TV, print, online, ed-tech, & consultancy firms. A strong believer in the phrase 'pen is mightier than the sword', Athira is a part of Avtar'sCoE (Centre of Excellence) Research Team.

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