How can companies create an organisational culture that both celebrates and harnesses diversity? A good way of approaching this challenge is to put in place policies that will promote diversity and inclusiveness. Following the occasion of our Diversity Month, it is worth mentioning the benefits of such policies. This year we celebrated the first anniversary of Devire’s initiative: Diversity & Inclusion Leader, steered by Alicja Klitenik. For this occasion, Beata Pucyk – HR Manager at Devire – shares her insights on how we have set about creating an inclusive work environment, one where the potential of each employee is harnessed for a common goal.

In May we looked to share the solutions that support the culture of diversity within our organisation. Find out what this culture looks like in Devire!

Transparent policies build trust

Having transparent employment conditions and anti-discrimination policies is one of the foundations of diversity management. At Devire, we decided to introduce both a diversity and pay openness policy a few years ago, one which reflected our commitment to create a transparent organisation. Today, our core foundations are not only about self-organisation, teamwork, collective goals and an openness to new challenges, but also about creating an inclusive culture of cooperation, one in which the individualism of talents and the importance of integration within various experiences and beliefs are placed to the fore.

“Currently, openness and transparency should be a standard on the labour market. A few years ago, the main reason for introducing transparent anti-discrimination policies at Devire was to make daily work easier for employees, because it helped to avoid potential conflicts. An equality and payroll policy, as well as the establishment of clear pay scales, were applied to all Devire employees,” – comments Beata.

Transparent employment conditions and the disclosure of salaries have also helped our experts when it comes to conducting recruitment processes for Devire. On the other hand, transparent promotion criteria have enabled candidates to estimate what salary they can expect, for example after a year of work; and ascertain the criteria that they should meet in order to secure a promotion. Without such assumptions, maintaining the fair play principle in a large organisation would otherwise prove impossible to maintain.

“Many candidates ask about our equal pay policy and wage transparency at the first job interview. In the recruitment industry, issues such as the financial expectations of the candidate or the goals set by the current employer are often raised first. As HR experts, we know how important these issues are. From the very beginning, we openly talk about the organisational culture and vision of our company” – adds Beata.

Policies of diversity and equal pay underpin meaningful development

At Devire, our policy of diversity and equal pay is no secret to anyone. The introduction of such a solution has harnessed the development of employee potential. We want no one in our organisation to feel excluded or discriminated against on the basis of gender, origin or views.

 “Men and women holding the same positions and having the same skill-sets earn the same salary. What’s more, experts working in the same business teams with similar goals are also employed on the same terms. This means that they have the same basic salary, are subject to the same commissions systems and have access to the same benefits and tools. Regardless of whether we employ a consultant in a central or regional office, if they have the same goals, they also have identical working conditions. It helps us to maintain the principle of fair play,”- explains Beata.

It used to be about good practice, today it is all about new standards

Culturally diverse organisations are perceived by both applicants and employers as more ethical; and socially responsible. Diversity in the workplace plays a key role in brand building and leads to increased profitability by creating a platform for the exchange of ideas that highlight different challenges from different perspectives. The ability to see challenges from individual viewpoints represents added value for the company; and it simply creates a friendlier environment for employees. It is a good idea to appoint a Diversity & Inclusion Leader so to ensure that this issue is prioritised.

“Michał Młynarczyk (President of Devire Group) notes that the key element when it came to building a sense of belonging and an inclusive organisational culture were activities in the field of diversity management. Michał’s perspective was honed not only from his observation of market trends, but also from his observation of the needs of the employees. Taking into account the diversity of the team in terms of culture, age and competences, selecting a leader who would coordinate various types of activities and implement specific regulations and rules has been a natural consequence of the dynamic development of the company in recent years. Therefore, last year Alicja Klitenik became Diversity & Inclusion Leader in Devire,”- states Beata.

We promote diversity on many levels. One such initiative has been the Let’s Meet series on our social media. Our inclusive work environment has led to us being an innovative company that promotes new employment ideas. It has also allowed us to achieve (and exceed!) our business goals.

Already at the recruitment stage, a clear Diversity & Inclusion strategy has helped us identify the best talents; and to retain them effectively. When hiring new people for the team, managers recruit in a way that minimises the risk of being guided by stereotypes and prejudices. This, in turn, has translated into the formation and building of effective and creative teams.

“When looking for a new team member, we first look at the competences of a given candidate. What is more, employee education is reviewed by Alicja, who last year also implemented a training program and ran a webinar for our employees with the Stonewall Group. This year, we are planning trainings for managers in the field of diversity and tolerance. Such initiatives have become a permanent feature of our internal training system”, adds Beata.

Diversity in Devire – what the future holds?

Most organisations continue to struggle with the problem of creating an inclusive work environment in which each employee is able to maximise their full potential. Despite good intentions, most companies find it difficult to create an inclusive workplace. This is often due to a lack of understanding or awareness relating to the different ways in which people can be excluded. Trainings and policies are the best way for addressing these kinds of shortfalls.

Each one of Devire’s employees – regardless of the level of their position – has a different scope of experience, and also have had different educational and professional paths. This is an asset, and not a drawback in any way. Therefore, the process of building an inclusive, open organisation should take place on many levels. Regardless of whether we are talking about board representatives or students who work with us as part of the Devire Talent Hub internship program, each member of the organisation must feel at ease and have a strong sense of belonging. In other words, they should be free to be themselves. For the internal HR department, the skill-sets and commitment of employees are the most important.

We still see areas that need improvement, and we have further goals that we want to achieve. Devire wants to create an inclusive work environment that will draw on the unique strengths of each employee. Always wanting to better understand our employees, the implementation of our D&I strategy represents an element of integrated diversity management, one which combines employee education, internal communication, remuneration policy management and the introduction of new standards for organisational culture.

During our Diversity month, we wanted to share our experiences and knowledge about these important issues; issues related not only to organisational culture, but also to the development of us all as employees. After all, what could influence the development of our potential more than the environment in which we work? Diversity and inclusiveness are not just fashionable topics, but transformational answers to questions about the directions which we take, where the well-being of employees affects overall commitment to the organisation, which ultimately impact on business performance.

Given the talent shortage, migration crisis and demographic decline, managing diversity is an opportunity for all of us to create better working conditions. This is something we want to encourage other organisations to pursue and implement – both our clients and other Polish businesses.