Embedding diversity into the organisational culture - 25/03/2013DOWNLOAD
Communication is key to promote diversity and inclusion in an efficient way. Therefore, on the occasion of the 2013 International Women’s Day, Deloitte Luxembourg organised a day of discussions with all employees on the issue of diversity and gender equality.
Sharing her experience as a top executive woman within Deloitte network, Ms Hélène Ratte, was the guest speaker of this special day. Helène Ratte is a former Deloitte France partner and Human Resources Leader for EMEA, where she was in charge of the Deloitte global programme on advancement and retention of talented women and worked to improve consistency in best practices on gender balance. She is now HR partner at Diverseo, an international diversity management consulting and training company.
“The place of women in the business evolves slowly, but we have done tremendous progress in 30 years” declares Hélène Ratte. “Promoting equality should not be at the expense of recognising differences. Yes, women and men are different! We should accept it and build upon it, adapting the way we work accordingly. Some differences are useful and should be maintained.”
Emmanuelle Miette, audit partner and leader of the WoMen Initiative at Deloitte Luxembourg, continues: "Traditional approaches to diversity are getting women in the door and fostering retention and development, but we are still not seeing women advance to leadership positions quickly enough. Something is clearly missing from strategies to better empower and advance women to top-level positions. However, innovation in today’s environment depends on bringing all kinds of minds to the table. It is not only about diversity, but inclusion. Companies that recognise the importance of gender diversity will reap the rewards."
In many countries, gender – including the specific question of quotas for women on corporate boards – has become a key area of focus in the boardroom diversity conversation, as highlighted in Deloitte 2013 report “Women in the boardroom - A global perspective”. From a corporate governance perspective, including more individuals with different backgrounds on boards of directors could improve board effectiveness; harnessing strength from a range of experiences allows boards to bring a more diverse perspective to problems.
This trend is underlined by the action from the European Commissioner responsible for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, Viviane Reding, who proposed a legislation requiring a 30 percent board representation of women by 2015, expanding to 40 percent by 2020. The proposal has been adopted by 21 of 27 EU national parliaments.
However, according to the European Commission’s Women in Economic Decision Making Database, as of January 2012, only 13.7 percent of directors on the boards of the largest publicly traded companies in EU member states were women.
“The success of our WoMen Initiative, born in 2007, wouldn’t have been possible without a transparent and open communication within our staff and management. Many of our projects are based upon the ideas submitted by our employees, and now upon Hélène’s experience! We completed in June 2012 the second year of our ‘Plan d’Actions Positives’ with the Ministry for Chances Equality and we keep on working on all the initiatives already in place to ensure a more diverse and inclusive company” Emmanuelle Miette states.
On 11 March, Deloitte participated in the official signature ceremony of the ‘Charte Diversité Lëtzebuerg’, in presence of Marie-Josée Jacobs, Minister for Family Affairs and Integration, and Minister for Equal Opportunities. By signing the charter, Deloitte commits to enforcing diversity through actions and projects going further than legal non-discrimination rules and obligations. These actions include raising awareness of management and workforce to diversity, regular assessment of practices and their results, or encouraging all stakeholders in tackling the challenges of diversity.
Deloitte has already achieved important results in diversity, especially thanks to Sophie Mitchell audit leader at Deloitte Luxembourg, who piloted the Deloitte WoMen Initiative from 2007 to 2012. Her leadership in favour of equal opportunities and her success as a business woman in audit were acknowledged on 5 March 2013, when Sophie was awarded the title of “Inspiring Woman of the Year in Corporate Business 2013”.