Bilans d’évènement

Seminar "Diversity & Inclusion : The Role & Influence of multinationals in promoting Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace”.

16 mai 2024

Throwback to an afternoon rich in ideas, exchange, and encounters!

On May 16th , our members met at Codam College to exchange on the topic: “The Role & Influence of multinationals in promoting Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace”.

Our speakers working for companies that nearly total one million employees worldwide (surpassing the population of cities such as Amsterdam, Marseille or Naples) are committed, together with their companies, to creating an inclusive working environment where everyone feels comfortable, listened to and free to express themselves.


During the first session, three companies told us about their successes, challenges, lessons learned as well as the actions put in place. Our guests’ speakers were:


The discussion began with a focus on gender equity, and a particular sentence stood out: "Be glad that women don't seek revenge. They only seek equity."

Following this, the different speakers shared successful initiatives implemented within their companies. Here are some highlights:

  • The importance of involving men in discussions about gender equity as Air Liquide does.
  • The importance of setting goals to achieve equity was also emphasized with an example of a BNP Paribas progressing from an all-male executive committee in 2011 to 30% women in leadership positions.
  • Or even, the implementation of a 50-40-30 strategy by schneider Electric's, which aims to recruit 50% women and have 40% of first-level managers & 30% of senior managers be women. This highlights both the significant progress that were made as well as the challenges that remain.


The limits of measuring diversity were discussed and the role of public policies and regulations in guiding corporate diversity efforts was highlighted.
In Europe, due to GDPR constraints and ethical considerations, we stop at gender and nationality. However, they all agreed that measuring inclusion involves surveying employees rather than just demographic data. For example, using surveys on their sense of welcome and inclusion.
A question from the audience addressed the challenge of managing cultural diversity in multinational companies. Panelists shared strategies such as cultural training for expatriates and communicating about balancing corporate and local cultural expectations.


For the second session, we had the pleasure of hearing from three other companies.


The panel discussion underscored the major challenges and responsibilities that multinationals face when they take positions on sensitive issues.
It is important for these companies to find a careful balance in their statements to avoid alienating groups or causing backlash, recognizing the challenges while celebrating progress!
It is, indeed, crucial for multinationals to stay engaged, genuine, and committed to fostering inclusive environments for both ethical reasons and business success.

The discussion also stressed the importance of gender diversity, focusing on creating equal opportunities for everyone. Consistent and genuine efforts in diversity are essential for maintaining credibility and trust. But applying global policies consistently across different cultural and legal environments can be challenging. However, all our speakers underlined the importance of having measurable targets & KPI (Key Performance Indicators) to track progress. Companies are actively working to improve cultural & gender diversity, ensuring psychological safety and promoting continuous learning.


Finally, Reina-Flor Okori Makendengue OLY, a top sportswoman in 100 meters hurdles and 4x100m relay, shared inspiring strategies for building inclusive teams, such as diversity in selection, the philosophy of feedback and prioritizing collective success over individual objectives.

Olympic Games bring together people from diverse backgrounds and success depends on selecting individuals with unique talents. For example, NBA teams like the Chicago Bulls chose players with varied skills, trusting their unique experiences to create a cohesive team. The key is to dare to find people who seem to have nothing in common but bring unique strengths to the table.

In sports, feedback is critical. Despite their egos, athlete accept feedback to improve! A practice companies can adopt through "athlete thinking" workshops. This philosophy of positive feedback helps in personal and team growth. Ultimately, the team's success is paramount. Athletes must balance personal performance with the team's goals. This disassociation from personal achievements to serve the collective is vital for any team or company.

A few key points to remember :

  • Compliance and employee expectations: Creating an environment where employees feel respected and valued positively, impacts engagement and retention.
  • Performance and market access: There is a positive impact of diversity on performance. Focusing on gender diversity, for example, can broaden access to the entire market, whereas not doing so would limit market access to only 50%.
  • Recruitment and critical mass: To effect change, there needs to be a critical mass of diverse employees. Recruitment efforts should focus on including underrepresented groups in specific areas.
  • Gender diversity fatigue: Emphasizing the importance of striking a balance in promoting diversity without discriminating against other groups.
  • Inclusion initiatives: Diversity ambassador committees, networking programs for different age groups and inclusive representation in opportunities to speak are all initiatives that contribute to fostering an inclusive culture

We ended this insightful afternoon with a networking cocktail where everyone could dive deeper into D&I while having a drink and eating some delicious bites.

Please visit our photo gallery below to view some of our favorite pictures from this event.

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