Gabriela Neamțu, MOL Romania: Diversity is an opportunity to look beyond our comfort zone and learn

In today’s post, Gabriela Neamțu, Head of Corporate Center & HR at MOL Romania, talks about what actions the company has been taking in diversity management. 

Could you share with us some key milestones in the D&I journey of MOL Romania?

We have a history of 27 years on the local market with a constant investment and growth track record, which led us to be one of the most important oil&gas companies in Romania, and we are happy to be part of a diverse and multicultural group that is on a transformational path marked by sustainability.

Having a diverse and inclusive workforce is also the key to success for our complex transformational journey defined by the updated 2030+ Shape Tomorrow Strategy, and ambitions aligned to the European Green Deal. Our vision is to be a key player in the low carbon circular economy in Central and Eastern Europe, integrating the sustainability development goals in all our operations. As changes around us have accelerated, the importance of ESG topics is growing for the whole society and MOL Group has integrated sustainability into its long-term strategy. In this respect, people and communities are an equal focus area when it comes to sustainability as climate change, integrity and health and safety are. 

We are proud to say that, in this context, MOL Romania is one of the D&I champions across the group, given the evolution of the local company over the years and the recurrent engagement projects we deploy. Therefore, in 2021, MOL Romania recorded the best net promoter score ranking on the D&I Survey enrolled at group level.

Our D&I journey began with the growth of the company and the gradual opening of new offices (Arad, Cluj, Bucharest) and terminals (Giurgiu, Tileagd) and the integration of the teams within new business acquisition on local market. The new business divisions created a beautiful diversity of people (terminals brought operational roles that were different from the office ones), the new locations brought the diversity of the regions, the roles in the company were diversified and all these new experiences, knowledge and perspectives brought a higher value. Hence, we arrived at becoming more open, flexible to diversity and more tolerant, and these characteristics are instrumental to our local business success, given the multinational and diverse environment of the team (with colleagues coming also from Bulgaria, Hungary, and Poland).

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

I would mention gender balance policy as one of the most important aspects we look at when considering D&I and therefore we ensure 50%-50% gender balance in promotions. The second focus point is the generational diversity. We are lucky to have four generations working in the company from Boomers to Gen. Z, which allows us to ensure a knowledge transfer from the elders to the young but also reverse mentoring practices. Our colleagues recognize these practices as instrumental to creating engagement and team spirit and overcoming some of the challenges that come also from the location diversity.

We are present in 5 locations in Romania with sales colleagues also working from the field, but we are all aware we are one team.

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

Every two years, at Group level we implement an Employee Engagement Survey and we are proud that on the D&I segment we constantly receive excellent scores.

Working by the motto “Culture has the strategy for breakfast”, we achieved this by our strong commitment to investing in long-term projects and policies that ensure the effectiveness of day-to-day diversity awareness and inclusive attitudes and practices. We organize Diversity Month activities every year, run “Challenge your bias” trainings with all managers, ensure inclusion and diversity-related benefits in the Collective Agreement supporting families, mothers, do regular anti-harassment policy & trainings and develop programs that enhance generational diversity. In this respect, I want to highlight our Group level Growww program, the one-year-long program for fresh graduates finishing their bachelor’s or master’s degree and thinking about joining a leading company, as well as our internship program started in 2018.

In addition to these projects, the profound change in the last two years has shown us the importance of our physical, mental, and relational health and caring for our well-being is an act of responsibility. Thus, at MOL Romania the year started with a strong focus on wellbeing, launching a series of online meetings on topics such as: mental health, posture at work, financial wellbeing, sleep, nutrition, and also a physical movement challenge.

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

The logistics-heavy industries share a common challenge when it comes to gender balance, and we always invest in promoting the opportunities to women. Also, the national locations spread and field operations might be a challenge, and we are often organizing projects to bring the teams together and create engagement.

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

Diversity is an opportunity to look beyond our comfort zone and learn. The more diverse the group is, the more chances we have to learn and grow. And while a diverse work environment means that there are differences between team members, inclusion goes a step further to demonstrate how each of us can feel valued. People feel good when they interact with others, and inclusion refers to the quality of experience in a team. The better the experiences, the more valued individuals feel, the better the business results as well.

There are many studies that show that those groups that are diverse and inclusive make better decisions and perform better.

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

Making unbiased decisions is a universal challenge in all businesses, as well as silo thinking related to own team/department vs others. In case of multinational and diverse companies, I would mention the generation gap or office vs field working colleagues.

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

We implement the Diversity Month every year, a time when we organize a series of activities, trainings and gatherings related to our being together. Also, as a general policy, we have implemented support benefits for various categories of colleagues with special needs: MOL Parents Guide, special benefits for mothers, family members (health subscription, paid time off for various personal events, bonuses on special life occasions).

We tackle our location and generational diversity challenges and hold all staff events gathering from all departments and all regions and encourage cross-departmental internal promotions of colleagues.

And we are aware of the business challenges we all face at management level, therefore we do organize “Challenge your bias” trainings for managers regularly.

Interview by Dana Oancea. Copyright Carta Diversitatii din Romania, all rights reserved.