Grupo Aval take a great step in the implementation of policies for LGBT inclusion

Jose Manuel Ayerbe

Grupo Aval is the first financial holding in Colombia and Latin America to start the Friendly Biz certification process with the LGBT Chamber of Commerce


BOGOTA, D.C., COLOMBIA, June 26, 2020 / -- The process of advancing in recognizing the social, cultural and economic rights of the LGBT community has been very important in Colombia. However, there is still much to do. According to the INEI (National Report on Inclusive Employment), presented by the Corona Foundation, the ANDI Foundation and USAID’s Program of Alliances for Reconciliation (PAR), implemented by ACDI / VOCA , barriers and prejudices still exist around the community, hindering their access to education, training and employment and preventing them from developing successful educational and employment paths.

Banco de Bogotá, Banco de Occidente, Banco Popular, Banco AV Villas and Porvenir, along with the Colombian LGBT Chamber of Commerce, began the Friendly Biz certification process five months ago. This consists of identifying the most frequent personal, social and cultural barriers in serving clients and sexually diverse users who require service from entities in offices, call centers, etc. “Although it is true that the people who work at Grupo Aval, are continuously trained to offer excellent care, without any distinction whatsoever, it was necessary to define a care policy and protocol for the LGBT population, since many times, and as it frequently occurs in companies within the service sector due to ignorance, can make someone sexually diverse feel uncomfortable and even involuntarily disrespect them” assures Jose Manuel Ayerbe Osorio, VP of Corporate Marketing, Grupo AVAL. Furthermore, for the manager, promoting a culture of inclusion and diversity strengthens creativity, competitiveness and sense of belonging of both clients and collaborators.
Family rejection, exclusion and violence, are just a few of the things that LGBT community members have to face, which makes survival a constant race in a world immersed in competition, meritocracy and consumption.

In addition, according to figures provided by the American agency Community Marketing and Insights - CMI to the LGBT Chamber of Commerce “ 6.8% of the population in Colombia belong to the LGBT community, about 3.3 million citizens”, this is why the importance of working to strengthen the processing of human talent within companies, from selection and hiring to the implementation of wellness policies and actions is emphasized.

For its part, a study by Robinson, Charles Pfeffer and Buccigross (2003) shows that “inclusive work environments increase customer satisfaction by 39%, productivity by 22% and profitability by 27%. Furthermore, as stated by the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, consumers prefer companies that openly adopt Diversity and Inclusion policies. For Jose Manuel Ayerbe, this certification is a big step, but more importantly, it will be continuing to work on anti-discrimination policies for minorities.

Seeing this panorama, the continuity of programs that allow the implementation of inclusion and reconciliation within organizations is necessary, as well as the collection of statistical data to account for the relative position of the LGBT population with respect to the average of population, since such data is not currently available making it difficult to carry out more comprehensive analysis and prevents a deep characterization of this population group, limiting the development of public policies to improve access to goods and services of the State (DNP, 2019).

Marine More Morera
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