By Katiuscia Cardinali, Senior Partner

Multinationals can and should be pioneering leaders in diversity, inclusion and sustainability

Multinationals should be diverse and inclusive by nature – given the broad spectrum of jobs, channels, countries and industries they cover. I had the pleasure of exploring the inner-workings of a progressive multinational during our talent mapping D&I and Non-Oil & Gas project with Gabriele Franceschini, Executive HR Director of Baker Hughes – one of the world's most prominent energy and technology organisations. 

Baker Hughes has 55,000 employees and operates in 120 countries. According to Gabriele, diversity, equity and inclusion are the three pillars on which the organisation builds its culture, value and future.  

Everything we consider diversity is actually an aspect of uniqueness” – he told me.

Every day is diversity day

Guido Caleca – our Associate Partner here at Page Executive – and I worked hand in hand with Gabriele on this intensive talent mapping to create innovative, cross-fertilizing leadership for this multinational. At Baker Hughes, like at Page Executive, nurturing diversity and inclusion implies building and supporting community-based initiatives, as Gabriele explained: 

“We’ve created Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) made up of employees who share interests, characteristics or life experiences. These groups provide connection, support our company purpose and generate opportunities for professional growth and development. Our Pride@Work ERG, for example, raises awareness around key issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community and gives our LGBTQ+ employees a voice.”

Each ERG has an ambassador and participating executives who co-develop inclusive practices and processes as part of their daily work. The organisation has a diversity equity and inclusion officer, but Gabriele’s aspirations went further than a one-person job. “I believe everyone who defines themselves as a leader at Baker Hughes is responsible for ensuring D&I: it’s the one thing we all have in common.” That’s where Page Executive came in.

Propelling a cultural (r)evolution through purposeful recruitment

D&I enables all professionals within the organisation to shine. Here at Page Executive, we are committed to breaking down stereotypes. We select professionals who will define and shape a more diverse and inclusive company culture, by supporting leaders in recognising talent, and by identifying how a professional can grow and add value within the organisation.

Like Gabriele, we’ve realised that diversity doesn’t come knocking: the professionals – especially leaders – must be found. 

Where D&I meet ESG

Baker Hughes turned to Page Executive at a crucial moment in its evolution, as it moved from oil and gas to the renewable energies sector and needed to identify the talent with the right potential. “We can’t make new energy expertise a prerequisite because it doesn't exist (yet), but the goal is to structure a successful path in two to five years’ time, bringing in a spectrum of internal talents that develop in new areas, and cross-fertilising to drive new ideas and a new working approach.” He told us.

Guido fully supported Baker Hughes’ D&I and ESG agenda. With a forward-thinking, proactive approach to the organisation’s talent development needs. Through Guido’s expertise and proactivity, and our experience as a company that champions Diversity and Inclusion at its core, we accompanied the organisation through each step of the transition. We screened around 200 diverse candidates from the renewable and circular economy sectors, selected 24 for different leadership roles and successfully placed a Head of Hydrogen.

“There was an immediate alignment of ideas and values with Page Executive. We discussed market diversity, moving from oil & gas research to the renewable energy space, as well as gender diversity to balance our figures. They faithfully embodied our corporate values and put forward a fair mix of people from the renewable energy sector; half were male and half were female.” Gabrielle assured me.

The change has been lasting and palpable, as he concludes:

“Two years ago, I would deliver CVs without names or ages, and ask the team leader to choose candidates who they’d only see when they opened the door. Today I only provide the essential values, because they no longer even ask if it's a man or a woman.”  

In multinationals, complexity and resistance are inevitable, but with the right partner, the right corporate culture and a strong focus on diverse talent, global organisations can build a self-sustaining, scalable business model and lead by example in these vitally important areas.

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