An in-depth look at LGBTQ+ benefits

Scotiabank is marking Pride Month by setting new targets for LGBTQ2S+ representation and connecting employees with volunteering opportunities in a range of communities.

Dominic Cole-Morgan, senior vice-president of total rewards with responsibility for diversity and inclusion, says the bank is working toward a representation target of seven per cent in Canada by 2025, noting the bank’s LGBTQ2S+ employees currently comprise 5.8 per cent of the workforce.

“We set targets a couple of years ago for other groups. We spoke with our LGBTQ2S+ employee resource group on this project and there was a resounding ‘yes.’”

Read: Scotiabank focusing on further strengthening workforce diversity, inclusion

The bank has also launched a sponsorship program for high-potential LGBTQ2S+ employees, providing coaching, education and career mapping. “They were given a structured curriculum over one year,” says Cole-Morgan. “We’re going to track to see how it translates to promotion and progression. We’re pleased with the response to the program.”

Scotiabank is also offering employees additional opportunities to volunteer, through a new platform provided by donation management firm Benevity Inc. Brooke Huestis, the bank’s director of environmental, social and governance and employee experience communications, says the platform will connect employees with more than two million organizations from around the world, including LGBTQ2S+ groups.

“We’ve had employees volunteering in various branches since the bank was founded. We run a number of giving campaigns throughout the year, but employees ask, ‘Where can I volunteer with the partners that the bank supports? How can I go and help there?’”

In 2021, Scotiabank introduced gender affirmation coverage and earlier this year, it announced coverage for fertility treatments and adoption and surrogacy supports. Cole-Morgan notes the importance of employee input in the development of these programs.

Read: Scotiabank offering enhanced gender affirmation coverage to employees

“[The introduction of fertility treatments and adoption and surrogacy supports] was directly from a discussion with an employee. They contacted their manager and told them they wanted to start a family but were having problems. We ended up all having a conversation. We saw a benefit that could be important both to employees and also from a diversity perspective, because it helps diverse families.

“The gender affirmation benefit was also based on employee feedback,” he adds. “An employee told us it was something that was very important to them and their family, but it’s something that can be difficult to access and can be very expensive.”

Cole-Morgan notes these programs and benefits are helping Scotiabank attract the widest possible range of talent. “We want to attract talent that’s engaged by these offerings because they’ll directly access them, but these benefits are also important in communicating our culture. For example, when we introduced gender affirmation coverage, we had people contact us saying, ‘I’m not transgender but I’m really pleased you’ve done this.’ It really broadens the pool to employees from equity-deserving groups but also the broader group of allies who think this is important.”

Read: Scotiabank expanding parental leave top-up, adding virtual health care