American Family again named LGBTQ best place to work
Inclusive culture allows employees to bring 'true selves' to work
Company earns top score on the Human Rights Campaign’s LGBTQ+ Corporate Equality Index for the seventh consecutive year.
Upon becoming an American Family Insurance employee in 2018 – after working as contract project manager with the company for nine years – Coco Chaussee, an IT portfolio services senior consultant, immediately joined the company’s LGBTQA Business Resource Group (BRG) as a member.
Chaussee, who identified as lesbian, had recognized and appreciated the company’s inclusive culture and commitment to the LGBTQ+ community long before becoming an employee. “I saw that commitment remain strong and grow and realized I wanted to do more,” Chaussee said. Doing more meant becoming a co-lead of the BRG group in late 2018, serving in that role until the end of 2021 and staying on as an advisor in 2022.
In late 2021, Chaussee made another change – to using they/them pronouns and openly defining as gender nonbinary. First, they told their friends, and planned to tell co-workers next. “I wanted to be transparent to my team, and to be my true self at work I needed them to start using my they/them pronouns,” Chaussee said about their decision to come out at work.
Chaussee made an online post in a team chat to give colleagues a chance to absorb and think without the pressure to immediately respond.
“This is my second coming out. I come from a family that did not accept me for who I was the first time I came out, as lesbian, so telling my co-workers was a gambling moment. We have to work together so my hope was that they’d be accepting, and I have to say, they are,” Chaussee said.
“Using a different pronoun for someone you’ve known for a while is hard. They may trip up but correct themselves and try to do better next time, and I appreciate how much people are trying,” Chaussee said. “At American Family, I’ve never been disappointed – people have always accepted me. I believe it’s part of the culture, and it comes from the top.”
Inclusive culture affirmed by HRC Corporate Equality Index
Chaussee's personal experience is reflected in the fact that American Family has been recognized as one of the best workplaces for LGBTQ+ equality for the seventh consecutive year, announced today.
Specifically, the company received a score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) 2022 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking report on LGBTQ+ workplace equality. A record-breaking 842 businesses earned 100 percent on the 2022 CEI and the designation of being one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.”
The CEI rates companies on detailed criteria in four areas:
- Non-discrimination policies across business entities.
- Equitable benefits for LGBTQ+ workers and their families.
- Supporting an inclusive culture.
- Corporate social responsibility.
The full report is available online at www.hrc.org/cei.
“The Corporate Equality Index was created 20 years ago so that LGBTQ+ people across industries and locations could access the policies and benefits needed to thrive and live authentically,” said Yasir Kamal, inclusive excellence vice president.
“We’ve achieved this score because of our ongoing and strong commitment to creating an inclusive culture where LGBTQ+ people – and everyone – can be their true selves,” Kamal said. “Focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion is a critical part of our strategy because it’s the right thing to do, important to customers and leads to better business results.”
Chaussee agrees, noting their whole team and has been positive and their manager couldn’t be more supportive of their transition – just one more reason why they’re so committed to the culture and their work at American Family.
“The bottom line is, if you are able to be true to yourself, the sky’s the limit,” Chaussee said.
About the American Family Insurance group
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 232 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, The General, Homesite and Main Street America Insurance. Across these companies the group has more than 13,500 employees nationwide.
About the Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people. Through its programs, the HRC Foundation seeks to make transformational change in the everyday lives of LGBTQ+ people, shedding light on inequity and deepening the public’s understanding of LGBTQ+ issues, with a clear focus on advancing transgender and racial justice. Its work has transformed the landscape for more than 15 million workers, 11 million students, 1 million clients in the adoption and foster care system and so much more. The HRC Foundation provides direct consultation and technical assistance to institutions and communities, driving the advancement of inclusive policies and practices; it builds the capacity of future leaders and allies through fellowship and training programs; and, with the firm belief that we are stronger working together, it forges partnerships with advocates in the U.S. and around the globe to increase our impact and shape the future of our work.