Why and since when has your company believed in and invested in diversity management?
We believe that diversity is a key element for evolution and innovation and we take great pride in our policy and programs. Diversity management is an important part of our organizational culture both globally and locally. I’ll even go as far as to say that it is embedded in our company’s DNA.
In Romania, we’ve started implementing diversity management programs since the early 90’s, when the company officially re-entered the local market and our culture is based on core pillars like: respect, non-discrimination and equality of chances. Thus, for us fostering a diverse working environment is just a regular work day. We have a large share of women in management positions, a very diverse mix of employees and, what I believe is most important, our colleagues truly believe in this value and their conduct reflects it.
For me, as an HR manager, the wellbeing of each and every colleague is a top priority and I believe that a friendly, diverse and inclusive work environment is the foundation for achieving this.
What aspects of diversity management have the highest priority in your company?
We prioritize diversity in all its complexity and we see diversity management as a whole. Of course we may at one point have a program that focuses more on, lets say, discrimination or strengthening our diversity culture and later on change the focus to another aspect. Yet, overall we promote and nurture diversity in all its aspects.
Also, we approach diversity both internally and externally, from supporting financially or non-financially various initiatives and organizations to encouraging and enhancing it inside the company.
Which D&I activities have been implemented in your organization so far?
During the years, we have supported various diversity initiatives and social inclusion projects. For example, only in fiscal year 2017, employees dedicated 1424 hours of their working time for volunteering and the majority of these hours were dedicated to social inclusion activities.
We are supporting also with goods and money various initiatives/organizations that are promoting diversity and social inclusion.
Internally, as I said before, we have diversity projects already in place. As for the results: we can take pride in a positive percentage in what concerns gender distribution, 43% - 57% - the ratio women-men at a country level. Diversity is embedded also in our HR processes.
Many companies aren't prioritizing inclusion and diversity initiatives right now. Why should they reconsider?
I would recommend any company to enhance diversity. Is the only path towards an ethical, well balanced and healthy work environment. Furthermore, there are plenty of global studies that highlight superior business performance for companies with more diverse teams.
In your opinion, what tangible benefits does diversity bring to your company?
Diversity nourishes creativity, attracts talents and improves performance. Each individual has an unique set of skills, experience and talents. By promoting and integrating diversity in all our process we can bring all these exceptional people together and at the end of the day, build the best possible team.
Can you name three diversity challenges that companies have to pay attention to?
Every aspect of diversity also involves challenges: if you have employees from different cultures and countries you may experience communication problems or cultural differences between members of the same team, if there are diversified age groups social circles may form and the list is long. The important thing is that we can overcome all challenges.
What do you do to convince your colleagues to see the value in diversity management, or even more to truly get them on board?
As I have previously mentioned, our employees embrace diversity and they are involved in many projects that promote diversity or social inclusion initiatives, and this is not limited to working hours. For example, last fiscal year, they dedicated over 500 hours from their personal time to social inclusion causes. At a corporate level, we see a high engagement rate regarding these topics, as revealed by their response to our initiatives. Of course we try to get the numbers even higher, so we constantly promote new activities. We try to promote diversity as a meaningful and engaging experience and not just a word written on a board or in an email.
Anca Tudorache works for Siemens Romania for 7 years. As an experienced HR professional, with over 25 years of experience, she believes that people are a company’s greatest asset.
Interview by Dana Oancea