A Perfect Score: Human Rights Campaign Foundation - 2022 Corporate Equality Index

 A word from Sheila Milton, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 

Sheila Milton, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Seen wearing dark purple blazer and glasses.

For the past 20 years, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation has issued its annual Corporate Equality Index, designating the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” This year, a record-breaking 842 businesses earned 100 percent, a perfect score. I’m honored to share that UW Credit Union is one of those companies.

The rating is based on an in-depth analysis of workplace policies and practices for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) employees. To receive this rating, companies must have fully inclusive equal employment opportunity policies, provide equal employment benefits, demonstrate their commitment to equality publicly and exercise responsible citizenship.

While the achievement is still sinking in, it’s prompted a lot of reflection internally. The idea that any person or any company can do anything 100 percent is a novice concept. I won’t say there isn’t still room for improvement. Or that there aren’t more gains to be had on this journey. But I can’t say enough about the people and the policies that made this incredible score possible. This important designation reflects the culture of inclusion our employees have worked tirelessly to create and to maintain. I’m humbled to witness those efforts daily and to see the effect behavioral change has on morale and productivity.

More importantly, the influx of perfect scores is indicative that things are changing. Not just within our own organization’s walls, but everywhere. Take a look at these proof points:

  • 86 percent of all CEI-rated businesses (1,088 of 1,271) offer transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage
  • 662 major businesses have adopted gender transition guidelines to establish best practices in transgender inclusion
  • 77% of CEI participants (975 of 1,271 respondents) documented that they provide inclusive benefits for same- and different-sex spouses and partners
  • 93% of CEI-rated employers (1,182 of 1,271 respondents) offer a robust set of practices (at least three efforts) to support organizational LGBTQ diversity competency
  • 93% of CEI-rated businesses (1,187 of 1,271 respondents) met the standard of demonstrating at least three efforts of public commitment to the LGBTQ community

There is no better value an employer can provide than to create an environment where every person feels respected, where every individual can thrive. But it’s the stat about demonstrating a “public commitment” that provides an even greater opportunity for growth.

Actions speak louder than words. Policies are critical, but action sends a message. It’s those external shows of support, acceptance and celebration that spur others to follow suit.

At UW Credit Union, employees are encouraged to join one of our six employee-led Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s) which encourage diversity, professional development, and inclusivity. Our score represents the impact of many, but members of these ERG’s, specifically our SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Alliance) group, go to great lengths to make their voices heard throughout the community, too.

Their influence has helped UW Credit Union create a more tangible connection point for the LGBTQ+ community. Our workplace programs promote self-identification, encouraging pronoun designation. That commitment extends outward, including sponsoring community pride events, displaying the PRIDE flag throughout our Madison-based headquarters, creating our Expression Collection of pride cards to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and their allies, and adding preferred names to our digital and in-person service platforms. This commitment to the LGBTQ+ community is both a show AND tell approach.

As we celebrate this important designation, we will also use it as an ongoing barometer for success. Because anything less than 100% just isn’t good enough.

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