“Charters, Labels, Partnership: Diversity Management in the EU”, EU High Level Event on Diversity

At the end of the first year of the EU project “Support for Voluntary Initiatives Promoting Diversity at the Workplace Across the EU”, a high level event brought together key stakeholders from Europe to discuss milestones and directions in the field.Belinda Pyke, Director for Equality between Men & Women, Action against Discrimination, Civil Society in the Directorate General for Employment, Social Policy and Equal Opportunities in the European Commission, opened the event with an overview of how the project and the event topics tied in with current EU policy developments. Catherine Magnant, Policy Officer, Directorate General for Employment, Social Policy and Equal Opportunities, European Commission, provided an overview of the project “Supporting Voluntary Initiatives promoting Diversity Management in the Workplace” with the Charter Platform, the feasibility study for a European Diversity Award and the idea of a European Benchmarking Tool for Diversity. Matthew Sutter, Head of European Diversity & Inclusion at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, spoke about the value of benchmarking from a corporate perspective. He had represented Novartis in the group of Corporate Development Partners for the benchmarking tool. The deputy project manager, Cologne-based Diversity pioneer Michael Stuber, presented some cornerstones from the feasibility study he had conducted as part of the project on a potential Diversity benchmarking system for large multi-national companies. Relating to this target group, he had involved expert stakeholders from a few NGOs and social partners, existing Benchmarking projects, Charter organisations and Corporate Development Partners including Carrefour, Dow Europe, FT Orange, G4S, Hitachi, IBM, KPMG, MSD, Nokia, Novartis, Panasonic, Shell, Sodexo and L’Oréal as well as 12 more who chose not to be mentioned at that point in time. He reported on the analysis of best practices and potential positioning in benchmarking. Stuber gave details about the Design and Development process, including the discussion of key questions on:
§ The nature of the benchmarking: absolute or relative?
§ Activity or status orientation: programmes or demography?
§ Time span: complete history or current year?
§ Programme impact and/or success as well as changing standards over time.
He showed the outline of the questionnaire and how it has been tested. (Part A: Overarching questions, Part B: Quantitative Modules, Part C: Introduction of Diversity (explicit), Part D: Integration and embedding of D&I (mainstreaming / implicit), Part E: final questions (additional information). Finally, Stuber outlined the next steps that had been agreed with the European Commission. His report will describe the possible future pilot process with work sessions, data gathering (and analysis) and evaluation sessions. A long-term outlook showed the possible future coverage of national entities, medium-sized companies, public employers and how the tool might connect with other tools in the future.