Mădălina Crăciunescu, Holcim Romania: Diverse teams are better equipped to perform, innovate and drive the business for the future

In today’s post, Mădălina Crăciunescu, Organization & HR Director at Holcim Romania, talks about what actions the company has been taking in diversity management.

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

Holcim Romania celebrates diversity as part of the company’s DNA. Respect for our employees has always been a part of our company’s core values and it is not truly present without the appreciation of diversity. Since we entered the Romanian market over 20 years ago, we strived to build a performance culture, to reach excellence in our line of business, to innovate for our customers, to develop and engage the people standing behind these achievements. Diversity, as a source of inspiration and growth, comes as a key ingredient for such objectives.

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

While diversity is encouraged in all its forms, as a company we focus with priority on gender diversity, diversity across generations and cultures. And LafargeHolcim, as a group, has set clear targets related to gender diversity for itself, as part of its sustainability strategy.

For example, construction material manufacturing is perceived as a “manly” professional area. Our local experience proves it wrong, having some of the most talented women in the field in our team, working in laboratories, in maintenance as welders or even in the quarry operating heavy machinery.

Also, especially in our manufacturing environment, we have the privilege to see different generations of professionals working together and we value the different contribution each one brings. We aim to provide a working environment fit to their different needs, career aspirations and, looking forward, to invest in the development of new generations to come.

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

All our HR practices are aligned with principles of inclusion and diversity, starting from recruitment, to performance management, individual development, up to rewards. In Romania, we are happy to have a gender balanced management team, keeping a strong awareness on importance of diversity, but also to have a very good gender ratio company wise. In the recent period, we focused on responding to diversity of lifestyle challenges, through programs like flexible benefits planning or flexible working schedules.

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

Because appreciation of diversity is a must for a sustainable business performance. Diverse teams are better equipped to perform, innovate and drive the business for the future.

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

A wide variety of opinions, working styles complementing each other, a collaborative environment and, most important, teams that innovate.

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

Different communication styles, different preferences for management style and different appetite for change.

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

Inclusion and diversity as a mindset gets reflected in the smallest every day interaction, to the business conduct of the company overall. The strongest arguments are the results achieved so far, the ambitions we have as we look forward and the personal role modeling of the management team. I truly believe in the value that each of us brings through his/her own individuality and I promote this through my work.

With over 14 years of experience in HR, Mădălina Crăciunescu joined Holcim in 2005, having different roles in areas of recruitment and selection, performance management and organizational development. Since 2013, she took over the role of Organization & HR Director at Holcim Romania.

Interview by Dana Oancea