Trends Impact Awards: more diversity for more creativity - Companies

Trends Impact Awards: more diversity for more creativity – Companies

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At the end of November, the Trends Impact Awards will reward SMEs and large companies that have a lasting impact on their environment. Prizes will be awarded in six categories, while a Global Impact Award will be given to the most comprehensive project. This week we present to you the Trends Impact Award for Diversity and Inclusion.

“Companies tell me that they cannot find young people with an immigrant background for their vacancies and young people come to tell me that they cannot enter these companies”, says Youssef Kobo. This entrepreneur, founder of the association A Seat At The Table, puts disadvantaged young people in contact with CEOs and the business world. In almost all countries of the European Union, there is a significant gap between the employment rate of natives and the employment rate of people born outside the EU. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum’s 2021 report on the global gender pay gap shows that it will take 135.6 years for men and women to become equal in many areas. The wage gap, for example, has still not been closed.

“Companies tell me that they cannot find young people with an immigrant background for their vacancies and young people come to tell me that they cannot enter these companies”, says Youssef Kobo. This entrepreneur, founder of the association A Seat At The Table, puts disadvantaged young people in contact with CEOs and the business world. In almost all countries of the European Union, there is a significant gap between the employment rate of natives and the employment rate of people born outside the EU. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum’s 2021 report on the global gender pay gap shows that it will take 135.6 years for men and women to become equal in many areas. The wage gap, for example, has still not been closed. A sustainable economy implies the inclusion of all groups who are victims of discrimination. It is not only about gender equality, but also about equal opportunities in terms of age, for LGBTQIA+ people, those with an immigrant background or with a disability. Faced with the acute shortage of personnel, companies are redoubling their efforts to improve diversity within their organizations. They strive to adapt their corporate culture and infrastructure so that people with disabilities, with different orientations or with an immigrant background find in them an attractive employer. “We need to make the economy more inclusive. No group should feel marginalized,” says Wayne Visser, professor of sustainable transition at the Antwerp Management School, one of the partners of the Trends Impact Awards, as well as the consultancy PwC. “There are different forms of inequality, for example in income. It’s about recognizing that diversity is a good thing. Businesses and societies that actively pursue greater diversity build a thriving system. Diversity is the basis of creativity and innovation.” Jochen Vincke, partner at consultancy PwC, expects projects with strengths such as family-friendly working hours, the ability to work from home or part-time, so that it is more easy to reconcile work and private life. “It’s also about supporting specific minorities, he says. I’m also thinking of parental leave, programs for female colleagues, so that more women can access management positions.” Jochen Vincke points out that American culture works with goals to foster diversity and inclusion. This is not in the European approach. “By setting goals you can move faster. In Europe everyone is afraid of quotas, but they are good for taking the first step.” Wayne Visser looks for projects and best practices that eliminate discrimination within an organization, but his sustainability model on which the Trends Impacts Awards are based is also broader. The category of diversity and inclusion is also about sharing, equal opportunities for all in an economy where we create, produce, distribute and consume together. Repair Cafés and crowdfunding give more people access to products and funding, carpooling platforms create new jobs and ensure that we need cars less, which reduces emissions of CO2. The American credit card company Mastercard believes that diversity leads to better knowledge, decisions and products. She sees diversity as the backbone of innovation. An example of a diversity project the company is carrying out is inviting young people to help older employees be more active on social media through a reverse mentorship program. In reverse mentoring, it is the young people who mentor the older ones, not the other way around. The French company Sodexo, known for its catering services, makes gender equality a priority in the company. For example, it pays great attention to diversity in its recruitment. According to information from PwC, women represent 55% of the workforce, whereas they were only 17% in 2009. Within the board of directors, women are in the majority with 58%. According to Sodexo, a good gender balance results in increased employee engagement, higher profits and a stronger brand image.

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