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At this year's Pink Friday Pride on 15 November, more than 50 companies in Hong Kong joined Goldman Sachs to celebrate LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace.

Pink Friday started in 2014 when a Goldman Sachs employee in Hong Kong – who worked on the trading floor – had the idea to demonstrate visible support for the local LGBT+ community by gathering colleagues, friends and family together and inviting them to wear pink on a Friday.

The initiator underscored the significance of manifesting visible support to give the day impact. The colour pink becomes the symbol of the movement as it was commonly perceived as 'the loudest and a more differentiated' colour in the world of investment banks.

Over the next five years, the initiative’s reach expanded, with thousands of Goldman Sachs' employees around the world taking part in what is now known as an annual Pink Friday celebration.

Commenting on the annual event, Fern Ngai, CEO of Community Business, who also participated in this year's Pink Friday Pride, said: "Pink Friday Pride is a great way for organisations in Hong Kong to show that they support LGBT+ inclusion, and in a very visible way, this engages all their employees.  The fact that many companies are involved as well as their overseas branches multiplies and amplifies the importance of LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace."

Ngai further explained that taking a proactive approach in fostering a safe and supportive work environment for employees is particularly important in a city like Hong Kong, where a traditional mindset persists – meaning that there can be a general nervousness and hesitation about ‘coming out’ or disclosing one’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

"HR can play a key role in ensuring the message of Pink Friday Pride is delivered to employees and is impactful. Besides being involved in the planning and execution of Pink Friday Pride each year, HR plays a pivotal and strategic role in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace culture that treats everyone with dignity and respect, and where employees are able to be authentic and bring their whole selves to work," Ngai said.

She suggested HR can work on implementing LGBT+-inclusive policies, guidelines and practice, reviewing employee benefits, providing comprehensive training to all employees on diversity & inclusion, collecting data on their LGBT+ employees and examining the workplace culture and benchmarking from other leading businesses on a regular basis.

Pink Friday Pride celebrations 2019 — in pictures

ASIFMA

On 15 November, employees at ASIFMA dressed in pink and were given pink heart stickers. The company also prepared pink-themed treats.

On joining Goldman Sach's Pink Friday, ASIFMA told Human Resources, "As the region's financial trade association, we are proud to support LGBT+, diversity and inclusion across our industry."

Credit Suisse

Goldman Sachs

Morgan Stanley

Morrison & Foerster

Hong Kong partner Sarah Thomas, counsel Catherine Liu, and trainee solicitor Keyon Lo spearheaded Morrison & Foerster (MoFo)’s celebration on Pink Friday. Over 100 attorneys and employees across MoFo's offices in Asia wore pink T-shirts distributed by the law firm and took part in the office celebration.

The pink T-shirts which came in two shades and were printed with MoFo heart logo were designed by Lo — who had a degree in fashion prior to his career in law.

MoFo has a firmwide history of supporting LGBTQ+ and other diversity and inclusion efforts. Recently, a professional development skills workshop alongside the Hong Kong LGBT+ Attorneys Network and All Voice Talent were hosted lately, where more than 40 legal professionals came together to learn how to enhance vocal skills in various work settings. In June, the Hong Kong office celebrated Pride month at the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival.

Philip Morris

Standard Chartered

Swire

Swire supported the Pink Friday Pride by encouraging its employees to wear pink to work on 15 November and by offering pink cupcakes.

Swire told Human Resources, "This is as part of our wider effort in promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.  We believe in creating an environment where people from diverse background work together and are able to realise their full potential. By promoting diversity and inclusion, we will be able to attract and retain talents who can benefit us, while this can benefit individuals, the communities in which we operate and society as a whole in return."