‘Coming Out’ at Aegon has never been easier

On National Coming Out Day, Aegon is showing its support for diversity with its rainbow colored logo. It is however its ongoing commitment that helped achieve its highest ever score in the 2017 Workplace Pride Global Benchmark.

Aegon employees support national coming out day with a group photo at their office in The Hague

The Workplace Pride Global Benchmark was initiated in 2014. It's primary purpose is to addresses LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender) workplace Inclusion by looking at the implementation and/or achievements linked to LGBT workplace policies and practices.

Global consideration

The Benchmark takes into account the challenges associated with implementing across multiple locations where legislation, culture and development vary dramatically. With operations in more than 20 countries, this is critical for Aegon. The results provide a baseline score against which Aegon looks to improve policies and practices to improve LGBT inclusion and equality in the workplace.

The survey covers a broad range of topics that impact inclusivity, ranging from employee networks and LGBT workplace awareness, to business and supplier engagement on LGBT equality and LGBT inclusive policies and communication. The maximum score in each category is 100%

Maximum scores

In the 2017 Benchmark, Aegon achieved an outstanding 100% for the employee networks category. The company has built up an active online LGBT and straight allies global community, for sharing ideas, support and best practice. At a local level, Aegon's larger locations have regular physical meet ups for LGBT colleagues and their straight allies.

An important role for these networks is to spread the word about the importance of diversity at Aegon. This is an area where the company saw its biggest year-on-year improvement, with an increase of 3.6 points. "As an organization with customer centricity at its hearts, it's vital that our workforce reflects our customer base, in order to truly understand their needs," says Mike Mansfield, who leads the company's LGBT network in the Netherlands.

Financial sector poor performer

"The Finance and Insurance sector has one of the lowest overall scores is the benchmark, but is improving steadily. At Aegon we're proud to have been able to contribute to this improvement for our sector."

Aegon's highest score this year, relative to all other participants in the benchmark, was for support and benefits. This category measures the ways organizations support LGBT employees on an individual basis and equal benefits for LGBT-employees (and their spouses and families). Aegon scored in the top tier, 75% above the median for this category.

Aegon's support and recognition of diversity is not only internally focused. This year, for the first time Aegon gathered LGBT-specific data during its Retirement Readiness survey. The survey – one of the largest of its kind in the worlds – has been conducted for the past six years. The LGBT-specific results will be released in the new year, and will shed light on retirement issues as experienced by LGBT people.

LGBT retirement research

Says Mike Mansfield, Manager Retirement Research at Aegon, "Changes in the laws in many countries protect lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgenders from discrimination both socially and in the work place. Indeed, as of October 2017, 24 countries around the world have legalized same-sex marriage. Yet, our desk research of available literature has shown that the LGBT community remains a vulnerable group when it comes to retirement preparations; being at greater risk of poverty in old age than the straight community.

"Much of the retirement research to date has been conducted on a national level. Our aim is to publish our report in January of 2018 and with responses from people in nine countries, we are looking forward to adding a new dimension to the body of research that is currently available."

Referring to Aegon's activities today, across its businesses in Brazil, the UK, the Netherlands and the US, Kata Herczorg, Head of Brand Management said, "We are proud to show that we celebrate diversity of any kind at Aegon. It's unusual for us to break from the 'rules' of our corporate identity. But we know that these small gestures can mean a lot."