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Diversity and Inclusion: Top-Down or Bottom-Up?

On February 1, 2018, AmCham Belgium held a Diversity & Inclusion Roundtable, the first in a series of HR-specific events supported by the Chamber’s Human Resources Committee. Diverse and inclusive organizations are more successful, but how does one instill change within an organization?

Diversity & Inclusion policies strive to ensure the best possible work-life balance, regardless of gender, age, nationality, culture or personal characteristics. At the Chamber’s Diversity & Inclusion Roundtable, Lieve Creten, Managing Partner Financial Advisory and Talent at DeloitteLaurence Einsweiler, Legal Director Belgium-Luxembourg and Europe/IDM Vaccines Legal Lead at Pfizer; and Satu Heschung, VP Global Diversity & Inclusion at Sodexo, shared their perspectives and experiences.

Diversity & Inclusion is about creating awareness and increasing the recognition that diversity is an asset. Companies should aim to facilitate a culture of trust within the organization and manage the unconscious biases of individuals. According to Lieve Creten, “Deloitte is committed to accelerate global progress on gender parity – we are setting stretch targets to reduce inequality and using data to scale initiatives that will accelerate change.”

Diverse and inclusive teams are an important asset for business:  according to a McKinsey report ‘Diversity Matters’, companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially. An inclusive environment welcomes different expertise, experiences and perspectives. By ensuring that employees feel at ease within their working environment, companies further tap into a wealth of knowledge and insight from an engaged workforce. Laurence Einsweiler added, “Valuing different perspectives allows each of us to be our true self, to be valued for who we really are. Beyond making us all flourish, Diversity & Inclusion allows Pfizer to understand and embrace the diversity of the needs of all patients we serve across the world.”

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to tackle this topic within the workplace. For some, it starts at the top, as senior leaders drive change and hold their colleagues accountable. For others, local networks of aspiring individuals drive the change. Nevertheless, whether top-down or bottom-up, one thing is clear: creating inclusive and diverse teams leads to better performance.

The Human Resources Committee brings together senior HR representatives from some of the largest employers in Belgium as well as specialists from the legal, tax and recruitment professions. In case you would like to participate in future seminars or would like to learn more about the HR Committee, please contact the committee's liaison Christophe Van Elewyck at the Secretariat.