Diversey Greece is one of the first companies in Greece to sign the Diversity Charter in Greece. George Vassilakos, SEE Sales Director as a legal representative of the Greek Opco participated in the inaugural Diversity Conference held in Athens on May 9th. We are very proud to be part of this and, together with other 50 pioneering multinational and national companies, we aim to make a start for what we call Diversity & inclusion in the workplace. Among the signatories are Deutsche Telecom, Marks & Spencer, Nokia, Accenture, Pfizer, Teleperformance.
The first European charter was launched in France in Oct 2004. It was the first of its kind in Europe, subsequently inspiring similar initiatives across Europe. Greece has become the 23rd European country signing the Diversity Charter which is now an initiative of the European Commission for equal opportunities in the workplace.
Diversity reflects in many ways the face of our society and as a principle of social life, it can broaden the horizons of human experience. In this context, the Inauguration Conference took place with the purpose to look for what Diversity means to modern Greek organizations and what are the methods of applying principles of diversity in real cohabitation and co-existence in the everyday life of the workplace.
But what does this really mean, why it is so important, and how can we make it work?
Diversity provides you with access to a greater pool of talent, especially in cycles like the current one where we’re all facing a shortage of talent. Potentially, as McKinsey & Co and many other highly credible researchers have shown, diversity can make companies more effective, more successful and, thus, more profitable.
However, actually achieving this in practice is far more difficult. So what is wrong, and how can we change it?
It seems that too many organizations make the fundamental error of failing to align their diversity practices with their organizational goals. And in such situations, no matter how much goodwill is spent towards the concept of diversity, the harsh realities of running the business on a day-to-day basis, of keeping customers satisfied, of selling and delivering the product or service, will keep undermining it.
So, what should be done for this to be successful?
Clearly identify what we are trying to achieve and pay attention to the details. Don’t ‘copy-paste’ what you see other companies doing; every organization is unique, so every diversity initiative needs to be as well.
Successful initiatives answer the basic question “why should we do this?” If individuals within the organization cannot see the benefits of a program or, even worse, if they identify disadvantages, then it will ultimately fail. Therefore, planning and implementing a very well-designed program, with a purpose, aligned with our organizational goals, suitable for our company, and making sure our employees “love” it, will guarantee success in the long run.
This will become the key focus of a newly formed local Diversity & Inclusion council in the Greek Operating company triggered from the enthusiasm and the appreciation of the signing of the Greek Diversity Charter has brought among our employees.