Dana Popa, HR Manager Penny Market: Leaders companies need to understand the meaning of diversity which brings varied values, perspectives and views to the table

Why and since when does your company believe and invest in diversity management?

Diversity is a key part of our corporate culture at the REWE Group and it was extended to Penny Market in Romania from the very beginning. We believe that promoting diversity is particularly important for ensuring company success at a time of constant demographic change in society.

The Penny Market HR department aims to provide a workplace that embraces diversity and is free from discrimination for all employees. This ensures that everyone benefits from the same opportunities, regardless of background, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion or disability.

What aspects of diversity management have the highest priority in your company?

Our priorities are based on non-discrimination, equal opportunities for decision-making and human resources management, with particular focus on recruitment, training and education, remuneration and professional development of our employees.

Which D&I activities have been implemented in your organization so far?

Some of our activities that can be mentioned briefly are related to diversity and equal opportunities such as: equal promotion opportunities for women, re-integrating ageing people which can be seen especially in our stores or adequate partnerships or jobs for people with disabilities.

Many companies aren't prioritizing inclusion and diversity initiatives right now. Why should they reconsider?

As I mentioned before, there is a link between diversity and the business growth. Leaders of companies need to understand the meaning of diversity which brings varied values, perspectives and views to the table. The benefits of diversity have been validated consistently in research and it is proved that companies with more diverse top teams are also higher financial performers.

In your opinion, what tangible benefits does diversity bring to your company?

Penny Market in Romania is in the process of development, therefore the promotion of satisfaction, performance and productivity plays a major role in this process. To achieve this goal, it takes a strong sense of togetherness among all employees and departments in which they work. Diverse, dedicated and well-qualified employees contribute immensely to the company’s success.

Can you name three diversity challenges that companies have to pay attention to?

I think labor market in Romania became a real challenge itself. Currently we are running several educational programs for training and development of youth in our stores. Programs such as Dual Education developed together with AHK, “I want in the 9th grade" run by the World Vision Foundation Romania or Management Apprenticeship Programs are part of our answer at this challenge.

What do you do to convince your colleagues to see the value in diversity management, or even more to truly get them on board?

The corporate culture of REWE Group, including Penny Market in Romania, is characterized by a trusting and respectful relationship among employees, customers and business partners. In order to maintain these values and to gain loyalty, we offer fair pay, additional bonus, flexible working models that can be adjusted to meet individual employee needs and tailored ways to achieve a work/life balance. In addition, we provide leadership and talent management trainings in line with people aspirations and competencies.

Our company is determined to create a diverse employee structure and to provide its staff, regardless of their gender, age, religion, origin, sexual identity or disability, with non-discriminating jobs that offer equal opportunities to each member of the workforce.

Interview by Dana Oancea