Dana Sîntejudean, Regional Director for Central Europe at Edenred: Promoting diversity and inclusion is one of the best decisions a company can make

The experience of the past years shows us that being a diverse and inclusive company we are more valuable as a team, more productive, more attractive for better talented recruits.

Dana, could you share with us some key milestones in the D&I journey of Edenred Romania?

Formally, we undertook and joined the Romanian Diversity Charter in 2019, but Edenred is a company that always prioritized creating a welcoming environment for people with different demographics and personal backgrounds. Different perspectives help us all to achieve more, both at the company level, in relation to the millions of customers and beneficiaries, but also on a personal level.

During this period, all employees took the D&I training, and aspects of D&I were included in the group's Code of Ethics, establishing the principles we grow together. Non-discrimination, and the right to respect and human dignity are key principles of Edenred’s Human Resources policy.

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

The Edenred group strategy to approach and support the D&I is focused on gender, age, and experience. We believe that diversity is found in any social identity and we are committed to accepting and valuing every colleague, customer, and partner, regardless of the differences and social identity.

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

Since 2019, when Edenred committed to equality in the workplace by signing the Romanian Diversity Charter, we are transforming our commitment into concrete actions every day.

Things such as the development of a training module in diversity for employees, adapting the HR processes, and setting up a diversity network and an internal mentoring network for women are actions that confirm Edenred’s commitment to combating all forms of discrimination within its own organization, but also in the more global workplace. Going beyond Romania’s geographical borders, our Group mission is to contribute to the well-being of more than 50 million employees all over the world.

On a personal level, last year I took part in a mentoring program within the Group where I had the opportunity of mentoring a female colleague located in Taiwan. This program represents a key component of our Diversity program, aiming to develop the gender diversity within Edenred leadership.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by your sector in creating a diverse and inclusive workforce?

Every organization’s D&I challenges are unique, despite the common belief. We try to create a work environment in which all actions happen naturally and people with different backgrounds and experiences have equal opportunities to grow in both their professional, and personal lives.

What business benefits do you see as a result of increasing D&I?

The official implementation and assumption of D&I programs bring direct benefits to teams and contribute to enhance business performance. A robust diversity strategy helped us attract more talent, an important asset in an increasingly competitive hiring market. Being a diverse company, we allocate more resources for the development of the workforce in general; and investing in employees means laying the foundation for a healthy business. Simply surrounding ourselves with a wide range of ideas and talents, we are more likely to come up with better solutions.

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

When the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly changed the way we live and work, it amplified problems that employers interested in D&I were already trying to alleviate, revealing many social inequities that could previously remain hidden from work.

When restrictions on travel and socialization were imposed and schools were closed, we targeted our colleagues who have children and supported them in the transition period to the new dynamics of their families, so that everyone can assimilate and adjust to the new reality. We also supported our employees through the transition to remote work, putting their health, mental well-being, and safety first. Empathy was the key word in the Edenred team, which remained united and continued to take responsibility for their colleagues, customers and beneficiaries of the Edenred benefits ecosystem.

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

Promoting diversity and inclusion is one of the best decisions a company can make. The experience of the past years shows us that being a diverse and inclusive company we are more valuable as a team, more productive, more attractive for better talented recruits.

D&I programs may seem risky, in the first phase, because they open new directions for an organization, but they become more and more profitable and create a significant opportunity to make an immediate and positive impact. Since diversity and inclusion have become an important topic in business, our management teams agree that we need to continue encouraging a more diverse work environment, and eliminate any unconscious bias, a barrier to inclusion.

Any plans for the #EUDiversityMonth this May?

We are constantly learning, both professionally and personally, starting from the premise that an organization can maximize the benefits of diversity in teams by cultivating diversity mindsets, and helping the team have a common understanding of diversity.

Therefore, this year, in May, we celebrate diversity through a series of actions within Edenred, adapted to the pandemic period, such as webinars and video content.

Dana Sîntejudean is the Regional Director for Central Europe at Edenred. She joined the company in 2003 and has a proven executive management track record and a solid experience of over 17 years driving sales growth for the Edenred Group. Dana holds an MBA in Executive Management from CODECS Business School and a diploma in Competitive Strategy from INSEAD. She is a graduate of the Babeş-Bolyai University in Anthropology and a postgraduate of David Ogilvy University in Communication and Public Relations.

Interview by Dana Oancea, Romanian Diversity Charter