Responsible Employer

Pride Month: Societe Generale, proud of its commitment!

Published on 03/06/2024
Pride Month: Societe Generale, proud of its commitment!

A player committed to and involved in society, the Societe Generale group has made inclusion a key component of living together. Many challenges currently still need to be met and certain stereotypes persist, hampering the diversity needed to ensure a fair and balanced society.  

According to the 4th edition of the LGBT+ FIFG / Other Circle 2024 business-to-business barometer,

  • one in two LGBT+ employees have already heard LGBTphobic comments at work, compared to 39% of non-LGBT+ employees*;
  • 49% of French LGBT+ employees are open about their sexuality to their direct superiors*.

To mark Pride Month, Societe Generale wishes to remind people of its actions regarding the inclusion of LGBT+ people in the Company and to highlight the work undertaken by its in-house networks of committed staff by giving them the floor. 

Societe Generale: committed to the inclusion of LGBT+ staff for many years

A signatory of the UN’s 5 guiding principles (26 June 2018), the Group puts into practice, in all aspects of professional life, these principles aimed at fighting discrimination against LGBT+ people in the workplace, and notably discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. 
Moreover, in 2021, Societe Generale further strengthened this commitment by signing the Autre Cercle charter. 

Every day, the Group strives to put non-discriminatory practices in place and to guarantee all its staff the same rights and benefits in terms of parenthood, conjugality, professional promotion, etc. 
It thus works to: 

  • create a respectful, welcoming and inclusive environment for LGBT+ staff by putting awareness-raising actions in place in liaison with external experts or with the Pride & Allies in-house network of committed staff (conferences, reverse mentoring, conversation guide, etc.); 
  • ensure equal rights and equal treatment for all staff, whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity (ex: new-child leave, SGPM measures aimed at taking every type of parental situation into account); 
  • support members of staff who are victims of discriminatory comments or acts; 
  • measure progress and share best practices to improve the overall professional environment. Thus, in 2022 and 2024, Societe Generale took part in the IFOP/Autre Cercle intercompany survey on the inclusion of LGBT+ people in France. Thus, 91% of Societe Generale employees who responded to the survey consider the company as LGBT-Friendly compared to 77% of French employees in all companies combined

To accelerate the progress achieved by the Group, sponsors – members of the Group’s Management Committee – have been appointed for each of the DE&I policy’s strategic pillars (LGBT+ inclusion, gender equality, disability and neurodiversity, ethnic, cultural or socioeconomic background, generational balance). In this respect, Laura Mather, the Group’s Chief Operating Officer, and Alexandre Maymat – Head of Group Inspection and Audit, are the co-sponsors of LGBT+ inclusion at Group level.

Pride & Allies: a very active in-house network supported by the Group

The Group has many in-house networks that actively participate in promoting its commitments with regard to diversity, equity and inclusion. In keeping with the targets that have been set, they help unite staff around shared interests. Among these networks, the Pride & Allies ERG (Employee Resource Group) is one of the most active.

Its highly committed members talk, share their experiences and freely organise local events. At Societe Generale Hong Kong, for example, health check-ups devoted to sexual health and non-gendered toilets have been put in place.

A key component of the Group’s development, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policy is reflected in a desire to acknowledge and promote all talent.

Several Group entities have been recognised for their actions, and notably: 

  • Leaseplan Mexico, which has obtained Best Place to Work for LGBT+ Community certification; 
  • certain US entities that have received awards such as Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+;
  • SG Securities Japan, which has been granted Gold Award for PRIDE Index Japan certification.

Coming soon, discover the portraits and testimony of 5 committed staff members who are moving things forward, members of the Pride & Allies network!

*responses to the survey from all employed French people.

Contribute personally at shaking things up!

On this topic, Courtenay Wood – Vice President and Counsel; Michi Alexandru Anton – Accountant Analyst within Romania Shared Service Center (SSC); Adina Nicoleta Alionte – Chief Operations Officer for IT and Transformation Center in Romania SSC and Priya Shetty – Director, Head Unit Data & Know Your Supplier across India and Romania SSC, take the floor to talk about the impact of their personal contribution. These people emphasize the importance of expressing oneself freely in the workplace, as a factor in professional fulfillment and advancement. For, as Priya Shetty points out, “an open working environment means you can feel comfortable and work with full transparency”.

It's all about belonging – Pride Month – Episod 1

Courtenay Wood
I feel like I belong in my workplace today because I can truly bring my whole self to work. There's no element of kind of something running in the background that I'm editing my speech or thinking about what I have to say. I can come to work and I can be myself, and I can focus entirely on my day-to-day tasks and roles and give my full energy to that. So I really feel like that's kind of what makes "me" at work today.

Adina Nicoleta Alionte
I'm happy, mostly because I feel I can bring my contribution. That's something that is very important for me, to show that whatever I'm doing, it has an impact not only on myself, but on the others as well.

Michi Alexandru Anton
That's the thing. I don't see it as a career. I see it as a part of me. I don't know how to explain this.

Priya Shetty
What makes me feel that I belong in this bank is open communication, talking freely, being able to
express how I feel. That really makes me feel comfortable and work with full transparency

Participate in the evolution of the work environment and corporate culture at Societe Generale

On this topic, Priya Shetty, Courtneay Wood and Edward Chan, Legal Counsel at Societe Generale in Hong Kong, take the floor to talk about the changing work environment and corporate culture at Societe Generale. All 3 of them confirm: the Group's actions encourage management to speak out and set objectives for the inclusion of LGBT+ people. Because, as Edward points out, "this is becoming more and more the norm".

It's all about belonging – Pride Month – Episod 2

Priya Shetty
I think the management now wants to talk about it. They want to create a vision, an objective, which is making it go top-down. They want to bring this culture. It was not so strong in the past. There was no clear vision and objectives, and the impact now is visible.

Courtenay Wood
When I joined SG, I was lucky enough to join in the middle of Pride Month. So I looked around and there were rainbows everywhere, and there were events happening, and it kind of signalled to me that this was a safe space to be myself.

Edward Chan
As slowly and steadily as we talk more about diversity and about LGBT+ inclusion in particular, I think more and more, it's internalized into people that people no longer say, "Oh, I don't know any LGBT people". Nowadays, in Hong Kong, for instance, we talk about LGBT+ quite openly, and in the office, you would see flashes or rainbow flags and stuff like that. I think it's becoming more and more the norm, and I think that's what we want.