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Diversity as a Strategy of Evolution
As discussed in Page Executive’s article Fast-Tracking Diversity in the Boardroom, taking steps to promote diversity is not only the right thing to do in regard to morality – it’s also beneficial for any company. In the following article, I share some of my own reflections on the topic of diversity within companies, and on France’s good practices to promote it.
Diversity as a strategy of evolution
In France and throughout Europe, we have seen that large-cap companies are paving the way for diversity. This is due mainly to practicalities. Large companies can hire many young people – thousands every year, from all over the world – which means diversity happens naturally.
For a smaller company, diversity takes much more effort. Imagine a company of 200 people, in a small town in France or Italy. This company will not attract the same kind of people as the large multinational one, so diversity can be a challenge. And many small- and mid-cap companies are stepping up to this challenge.
This is because the small company must align itself with the policies and philosophies of the large one. If it doesn’t, it will risk not being chosen as a supplier. In this sense, diversity becomes a strategy of evolution, in which companies are changing with society and with the global corporate philosophy.
Companies as a reflection of society
A global organisation must be a mirror of society. That’s to say, as society becomes more open and diverse, so must our companies. As recruiters, we try to integrate inclusion and diversity into every step of our work. When we prepare a job description, we mention it. We also try to educate our clients from the beginning on the importance of inclusion. Education is a part of our job, because this education helps our clients to make the right decisions.
Some smaller companies take more convincing, but it is increasingly clear that diversity is essential. This is especially true today, with social media: a company that is not aligned with this philosophy of diversity can be excluded from the market very quickly – and no company wants to take that risk.
France: A growing mentality of diversity
A philosophy of diversity must come from within the company, but having laws and policies to promote diversity are helpful in normalising it. France in this regard is quite good. For example, the government passed a law about 10 years ago requiring government organisations to hire 25% women.
When it first passed, it was very controversial – it was seen as positive discrimination. Now it’s accepted without thinking of it, it’s become our mentality. All big French companies, like L’Oreal for example, have also launched programmes internally to educate on diversity. Even in small and medium sized companies, you’ll have a manager in charge of environmental and social responsibilities. What is your country or company doing to promote diversity and inclusion and do you feel that this is an important topic for you? If you would like to speak more about this topic or how diversity can make your company more attractive to candidates, feel free to contact me.