b'BACK TO NAVIGATIONThe focus of policy and practice in this area has also shifted from anti-discrimination and legal compliance, to strategic inclusion initiatives and sustainable culture change. Law firms need to broaden their approach by understanding the efficacy of a successful LGBTQ inclusion strategy.COVID ImpactsContinuing to deliver organisational change programs during the time of COVID has been challenging for many organisations. Access to staff and gaining their attention has been difficult. Not only were organisations and workers distracted by high levels of uncertainty and high workloads, they also werent reliably in the office. However, the indications from the 2021 AWEI national benchmark on LGBTQ workplace inclusion are that Australian organisations have continued their commitments to develop more diverse and inclusive workforces. AWEI saw a record 186 organisations across Australia participate with 44,915 employees completing the related survey. At Law FirmsAustralian legal firms were early engagers in LGBTQ specific inclusion initiatives within their workplaces and this is reflected with a generally positive analysis from the AWEI in 2021. The survey provides a detailed and insights into progress and performance relative to other industry sectors.Overall, law firms reported to be performing relatively well in promoting the true inclusion of their LGBTQ employees, their allies and the wider workforce. The legal sectors activity and achievements are also generally stronger than the national survey cohort. Leading practice in this area of inclusion includes:targeted measures to combat the underreporting of LGBTQ bullying and harassmentthe tracking and analysis of LGBTQ bullying and harassment reportsensuring any internal or external counselling or Employee Assistance Programs understand the challenges faced by LGBTQ people in the workplaceadditional tailored support for transgender, gender diverse, and intersex employeescollecting lifelong data for LGBTQ employees comparing engagement, pay, retention, promotions, and exitsThe sectors participation in the AWEI program however was significantly skewed to those working in NSW and Victoria and heavily weighted to metropolitan locations. Response rates were lower in the smaller states, especially Western and South Australia. This is a worrying indication that some states and regional areas may be lagging behind the industry standards in LGBTQ inclusion.There are some exceptions where the legal sector performed less well including employees level of preparedness to be out to everyone at work, which has experienced a continuing decline and as well as the effectiveness of law firms in attracting and retaining gender diverse talent to their teams. INITIATIVESTraining - LGBTIQ+ awarenessunconscious bias and inclusionHosting and/or leading externalprograms and/or forumsLaw Council D&I CharterLegal supportConvene internal networksand/or committeesOut for AustraliaIDAHOBIT Day ParticipationAustralian Workplace Equality Index(AWEI) reportingLGBTIQ+ Awareness training Pride in Diversity Membership0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%Perecentage of firmsAverage number of initiatives per firm: 735'