What does “Diversity” encompass? Is its main focus on different cultural backgrounds?
KA: Diversity encompasses many different aspects including origin, generational differences, gender, race, cultural heritage, lifestyle, education, physical ability, appearance or language.
Why do you think Australian businesses are taking more notice of diversity in their workplaces?
CM: In addition to greater employee satisfaction and legislative requirements, there is also a very strong business case for raising the profile of diversity in the workplace.
We value the differences between people and the contribution these differences make to the quality of decision making and to our business generally.
We also aim for a culture based on openness, honesty and mutual respect and to provide every employee with a safe and healthy work environment which is free from discrimination. Such an environment results in improved productivity and profitability. Therefore, we are we making stronger and more informed business decisions, obtaining more diverse input and building a more successful company.
We believe that openly recognising the importance of diversity increases mutual respect and encourages cohesion among our people.
How does Veolia raise the profile of diversity in its workplaces?
KA: We have a range of initiatives including policies, training, events and celebrations.
Our organisational policies reinforce our position and commitment to diversity and provide avenues for our teams to raise issues. We also endeavour to provide flexible working arrangements to accommodate our very diverse teams, whether it’s for parents, carers, students or for many other reasons.
We have a diversity and inclusion training program that focusses on our commitment and responsibility. All new team members undergo this training to continue to develop a culture which values the differences in people.
We take part in a number of events such as International Women’s Day and send Veolia delegates to seminars and conferences which examine best practices in managing diversity.
We also look for ways to celebrate diversity by taking part in events and activities that engage all of our employees. Our teams are currently preparing to host A Taste of Harmony*, which offer a great opportunity to share our own stories with colleagues.
*Veolia is a sponsoring partner of A Taste of Harmony for 2015.