ASB first bank to seek 'Rainbow Tick'

RICHARD MEADOWS
Last updated 11:36 16/05/2014
ASB Rainbow Tick
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RAINBOW TICK: NZ Falcons player Todd Martin (right) alongside Rainbow Tick programme director Michael Stevens and ASB boss Barbara Chapman.

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ASB is the first New Zealand bank to seek out the "Rainbow Tick" - a programme that champions the inclusion of all genders and sexualities in the workplace.

The new certification is only three months old, with notable early adopters including Coca-Cola Amatil, SkyCity, AUT University and Simpson Grierson.

ASB chief executive Barbara Chapman said there was an enormous body of evidence pointing to the benefits of diversity of thought, perspectives and experiences.

"We truly want people from all groups to bring their whole selves to work," she said.

Rainbow Tick programme director Michael Stevens said it wasn't a feel-good label dished out to all and sundry.

"There's some rigour here," he said.

"They have to meet the audit standards, which are based on international best practice."

The audit will evaluate ASB's level of inclusion across a number of areas, including policy, training and staff engagement.

If necessary, recommendations will be made and support provided in order to achieve the best-practice standards.

Once completed, ASB will have the right to use the Rainbow Tick in job advertisements and promotional material.

The bank has also recently launched an internal lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) community network called Unity.

It aims to promote awareness and discussion, and ensure the workplace is free from bullying and discrimination.

ASB also sponsors the New Zealand Falcons gay rugby club, who are going to Sydney in August to compete in the Bingham Cup.

The world's biggest gay rugby event will see teams from 15 countries celebrate diversity in sport.

NZ Falcons flanker Mauricio Bonito said ASB's support for the LGBTI community was empowering, and something all companies should try to emulate.

"But then again, employees should be hired based on their merits and what they can offer the company, not because they are gay or a member of a minority group," he said.

A recent United States-based report from the Human Rights Campaign found half of all LGBTI workers hid their identities at work, one-third felt compelled to lie about themselves, and nearly 10 per cent left a position because they felt unwelcome.

Gender and sexuality politics are becomingly increasingly relevant to the business world.

Last month, new Mozilla chief executive Brendan Eich was pressured into resigning over his support for an anti-same-sex marriage group in California.

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