Bloomberg Law for HR Professionals is a complete, one-stop resource, continuously updated, providing HR professionals with fast answers to a wide range of domestic and international human resources...
By Lien Hoang
Diversity is great, but companies need to go a step further by focusing on workplace inclusion, panelists said at the Innovation Through Inclusion forum in Vietnam Jan. 31.
From common-interest clubs to monthly rap sessions, speakers shared methods to make offices more inclusive for employees of different backgrounds.
“There's a difference between diversity and inclusion,” Paul Huynh, KPMG director of people, performance, and culture, told Bloomberg Law on the sidelines of the forum in Ho Chi Minh City. “You can recruit diverse people, but it's the steps you take every day to be inclusive, that's the harder part.”
Companies have long extolled the virtues of having variety in the workforce—from improving financial performance to averting the disasters of groupthink—but the more recent trend of inclusion kicks things up a notch by taking the long view on diversity.
“This is an area where I think we still struggle, with retention of diverse groups,” Guy Margalith, a diplomat at the U.S. consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, said at the forum hosted by MB Market Makers, a business development firm focusing on the LGBT market. The event centered on inclusion of women and minorities like people who have disabilities or diseases or who identify as LGBT.
In some ways Vietnam is at the forefront of LGBT equality. With little influence from the religious conservatism seen in places like the U.S. and the Philippines, the communist country is generally tolerant and is a contender to be the first in Southeast Asia to legalize gay marriage.
There can still be friction, however. Huynh said that when his company started an internal LGBT support group, a Vietnamese colleague worried they could get pushback from local authorities. The one-party state is wary of independent organizing or associations. That gave Huynh second thoughts until he received an anonymous note from another colleague, who was grateful to now have the group.
There are other ways to show support. Thanh Huynh Dang, sales team leader at Intrepid, described his first experience with the travel company in Hanoi. His new boss took him out to coffee, saying if he ever wanted a place to talk about private matters away from coworkers, they could use the cafe.
Back at the office, Intrepid has “monthly birthday moments,” which they use for celebration but also for informal dialogue. Each month staff can pick a topic or two they want to open up to general discussion, Dang said, recalling when someone suggested women's rights. The idea is to get people engaged and give them a platform for issues they care about.
“We promote a very friendly office, we joke with each other,” he told Bloomberg Law. “Even when the general manager comes around we poke fun and there's nothing wrong with that. This is the environment we try to promote.”
Panelists at the forum also floated some legal approaches to encouraging inclusion, such as writing inclusive principles into a company's internal labor regulations or contracting out to suppliers with shared values.
Vietnam is expected to revise its labor code by 2019, which presents opportunities to strengthen protections for a diverse workforce, says Catherine Phuong, assistant country director at the UN Development Program.
“There's still another year for us to advocate for provisions on discrimination,” she said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lien Hoang in Ho Chi Minh City at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on Vietnamese HR law and regulation, see the Vietnam primer.
Copyright © 2018 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)