The European Diversity Month of May has come to an end across the EU, highlighting the importance of “assessing diversity and inclusion”. Do our diversity policies work? Do we know our employee mix? Are we open to all diverse talents? Are our policies and strategies supporting us in creating respectful, empowering and inspiring environments for everyone?
CSR Europe is guiding companies in finding answers to these questions thanks to the Multicultural Inclusion & Diversity Assessment (MD&I), developed in the framework of Business Uniting Talents 2030 (BUT2030), a project aimed at fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace. After a successful pilot, conducted between 2020-2022 with leading Belgian companies, the project has now entered a new phase, engaging Belgian Employer Federations – Agoria, Assuralia, Denuo, Embuild, Essencia, FEBELFIN, Federgon, Union Wallone des Entreprises.
To wrap up the EU Diversity Month 2023, we sat down with Claire Godding, Senior Expert for Diversity & Inclusion at FEBELFIN, the Belgian Federation of the Financial and partner of the BUT2030 Belgium. Her mission is to reinforce attention to D&I within the financial sector by promoting gender equality, multicultural inclusion, sexual orientation acceptance, and disability rights. Claire also serves as the Co-Chair of Women in Finance, a prominent association comprising 48 financial institutions united in their commitment to enhancing gender balance and she’s the Chair at DMAB (Diversity Managers Association Belgium), guest lecturer and speaker.
AS AN EXPERT ON DEI, COULD YOU PLEASE SHARE WITH US WHAT MULTICULTURAL DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (MD&I) MEAN TO YOU AND WHY IT IS IMPORTANT FOR BUSINESSES IN BELGIUM?
Multicultural inclusion is key in any work environment, as part of the inclusion of all colleagues. Inclusion means “you can be your true self at work”, and the company is valuing who you are, your unique experience, and your journey. Focusing only on recruiting colleagues of different origins but not paying attention to the risk of micro-aggressions or bias in the promotions process, for instance, will result in a company losing its talents rapidly. They will prefer quitting and finding a more inclusive environment. The role of the top management is crucial in making clear that inclusion is a priority.
In the financial sector, our survey on multicultural inclusion conducted in May and June 2020 showed that over 2/3 of employees with different origins are hearing often or sometimes microaggressions, vs only 1/5 of employees of Belgian origin. Based on this we started working on tools to improve inclusion in our sector. We also launched the Multicultural Bankers Network, which makes bankers of all origins more visible and offers them precious connections.
FEBELFIN IS A PARTICIPANT IN THE BUSINESS UNITING TALENTS 2030 BELGIUM (BUT2030BE) PROJECT, WHICH REQUIRES COMPANIES TO UNDERTAKE THE MULTICULTURAL INCLUSION & DIVERSITY ASSESSMENT (MD&I).
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT MAKES THIS ASSESSMENT VALUABLE FOR COMPANIES, AND HOW CAN THEY BENEFIT FROM IT?
Being challenged on your inclusion practices is a necessity. The assessment proposed by the BUT2030 project is focused and has meaningful questions touching very different aspects, including most HR processes. Also, getting benchmarked and having a view of how your sector is doing is an extra motivation to progress.
We encourage our members to engage in a dialogue not only with their peers but also with their own employees on the subject of multicultural diversity and inclusion.
WHAT’S THE ADDED VALUE OF COLLABORATING WITH CSR EUROPE AND OTHER SECTORAL FEDERATIONS ON MD&I?
Collaborating across sectors brings significant value as we have the opportunity to learn from one another. CSR Europe provides us with a methodology, companies contribute their unique experiences, and the participation of employees from diverse backgrounds in a shared group enhances our collective progress.
Over the past two years, we have initiated a consistent cross-sector dialogue facilitated by various sector federations. This concerted effort significantly contributes to accelerating progress as we draw inspiration from the journeys of other sectors.