Gender transitions and inclusivity in business: the first event of Andersen’s Equal Opportunities team

Andersen’s Equal Opportunities team organized a panel discussion dedicated to gender inclusion in professional contexts attended by Nicolò Bassetti (writer and director), Matteo Bassetti (researcher and business consultant on gender diversity issues), Chiara Buonvino (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion leader at IKEA) and Simona Aleo (People & Culture Manager at IKEA Brescia).

The event, titled Diversity, Inclusion and the Regulatory Context – Civil Rights and Administrative Barriers: respecting and valuing differences to support human capital in companies and moderated by journalist Federico Chiara, culture editor of Vogue Italia, was an opportunity to reflect on the administrative and cultural barriers that the LGBTQ+ community still faces in professional contexts.

Companies that implement ESG sustainability principles,” stressed Andrea De Vecchi, CEO of Andersen, welcoming guests, “are often at an advantage over their competitors, having more market opportunities, being positively recognized by stakeholders, and being more attractive to investors.

Real commitment to inclusiveness and combating gender washing

The meeting organized at Andersen’s Milan office takes its cue from the transition story of four boys, told in the documentary Nel Mio Nome, written and directed by Nicolò Bassetti. Made with fiscal advice from Andersen, the film looks at the difficulties of the transition journey and the satisfaction in being able to express oneself in respect of one’s identity beyond gender labels.

During the event, the director spoke about some of the difficulties he encountered during filming and the support of institutions such as the Emilia-Romagna Film Commission, which was able to appreciate the issues involved.

The Italian context, business advisor Matteo Bassetti pointed out, is still not very tolerant of diversity, as the gaps in the regulations also show, it is still not a smooth process to use e-mail accounts and alias badges so that transgender people are recognized by colleagues under their new name. At the same time, we witness daily gender washing by companies that do not translate into practice what they promote at the marketing level. There is often a lack of real attention to training and implementation of initiatives that can create a corporate culture that respects everyone’s uniqueness.

In the feature film, the difficulty of Leo, one of the protagonists, in finding funders for his podcast In My Name emerges: some of the companies interested in supporting the initiative withdrew when Leo posed the request to be able to carry out training on inclusivity to their staff.

IKEA Italy’s policy as told by Chiara Buonvino and Simona Aleo

Among the companies that show particular attention to inclusivity is IKEA, which has established the position of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion leader in every country where it is present, and is committed to representing minorities both in the way it communicates and through its hiring and personnel management policies.

Chiara Buonvino and Simona Aleo during the event recounted the implementation of the principles of inclusiveness and the results achieved, which are far more important than the difficulties encountered along the way. In fact, the Swedish company implements dedicated trainings, gathering employees’ views through periodic analyses of the company climate and monitoring of ad hoc KPIs.

Among the many activities for inclusion are zeroing the gender pay gap, a focus on multigeneration, combating covering down, periodic celebrations of company values with educational moments. These are processes mostly unknown to customers, as they are operations that are not about marketing, but implemented to allow employees and customers to recognize and be valued by the context created by the brand.

“Equality, diversity e inclusion sono alla base della visione strategica e dei valori IKEA – ha commentato Chiara Buonvino –. Quando riconosciamo le differenze e garantiamo l’uguaglianza, stiamo creando una cultura nella quale le persone possono sentirsi se stesse. Un impegno che ci vede in prima linea a partire dall’ambiente di lavoro per i nostri co-worker perché vogliamo fare in modo che ogni persona si senta accettata, rispettata, supportata e celebrata per la propria unicità, a casa, sul posto di lavoro, ovunque”.

Andersen’s Equal Opportunity Team

This meeting is among the initiatives of Andersen’s Equal Opportunities Team, created to address the need for inclusion and protection of diversity and to implement active policies aimed at enhancing the personal uniqueness of its co-workers. “As business consultants,” said Andrea De Vecchi, CEO of Andersen, “we believe it is our responsibility to spur clients to approach these issues as soon as possible, which are also of fundamental importance for attracting talent. In fact, according to ISTAT 2020-2021 data, 12.6 percent of people who say they are homosexual or bisexual did not show up for a job interview or did not apply because they thought the work environment would be hostile to their sexual orientation. Internally, we do not want personal choices, gender, race, and ethnicity to affect teamwork and development opportunities in our professional environment in any way.”