Diversity and Inclusion: Agos' commitment - How can we implement diversity and inclusion in the workplace? How can we promote the culture of equality?
By the Editorial staff
The hope at Agos, which has always been committed to promoting a sustainable work environment, is that every person who is part of this environment is proud of it, feels welcomed, respected and free to express their identity in an inclusive climate that everyone has contributed to creating.It is possible to build a culture of equality together, and the ambition to become one of the best places to work in Italy has favoured an important cultural and organisational change in Agos, which everyone plays an active part in.
In this spirit, Agos joined an initiative that originated in the Crédit Agricole Group – the majority shareholder – which launched a real Diversity & Inclusion project to collectively reflect on the issue and implement new behaviours within the company. During the first phase, the project focused above all on the theme of "Gender Equality" and numerous actions were taken to ensure equity in all phases of life in the company: an equal opportunities policy was adopted that always provides for the presence of both women and men in external selection shortlists, in internal mobility and in executive appointments, accompanied by a training proposal dedicated to colleagues to increase female leadership through empowerment and training. To emphasise the importance of the issue, Agos has also joined the "Manifesto for female employment" by Valore D: a sign of active commitment within and at the same time a boost to the spread of inclusive culture in our country. Thanks to our collaboration with Valore D, company focus groups were organised that many colleagues participated in, and it is thanks to their ideas that we realised that the inclusive culture that we want to create at Agos cannot really be defined as such if the value of every form of ability and of every generation present in the company is not recognised.
The issue of diversity has therefore proved to be rich in many aspects and, right from the start, has seen colleagues actively involved. Thus, in November 2020, what had been heralded as a "week of diversity" turned into a longer, great event full of significant events: the Month of Diversity and Inclusion. A whole month, yes, because the importance of this theme immediately deserved more breathing space, more attention. It was necessary to talk about it, to confront it, and it was necessary to do so at various levels and using different vocabularies. For this reason, the topic was addressed with the help of leading national and international exponents, who have always been involved in promoting these issues, with the organisation of weekly live webinars on disability and resilience. We discussed the importance of inclusive words and discussed how prejudices can unknowingly pollute our minds. Finally, the issue of enhancing diversity and female empowerment was addressed. There has been talk of language that refers to gender, which must be accessible and understood by everyone; of the care and respect that we must have for others, their skills, their identities; how comfortable it is to interact with people like us, and how challenging, but extremely enriching, it is to work with those who are different, to innovate and renew ourselves. It was also an opportunity to contribute with concrete actions, through charitable donations to some of the associations that took part in the live webinars and that support initiatives for the inclusion and promotion of biodiversity with their activities every day. Biodiversity is the real driving force of evolution, and not only in private life: one of the objectives is to be able to become a truly inclusive company for people, because for a company today it is essential to bring together ethics and business, towards all of its employees, partners and customers.
Fortunately, Agos is not the only company that is engaging with these issues, and it was in fact very stimulating to become part of “4 Weeks 4 Inclusion”: an inter-company programme created by 27 companies that involved employees in events dedicated to inclusion. It provided an important opportunity to interact with other companies, cultures and values by jointly promoting positive messages of awareness of the issues of inclusion and enhancing diversity. An intense year has ended, full of complexity but also of opportunities and new initiatives that are already starting: Parental Care, a powerful welfare tool that aims to support parents, accompanying them during a special phase of life and above all by creating equal conditions for mothers and fathers in the company, be they biological or adoptive, hetero- or homosexual and regardless of marital status.
It is a first step in the evolution of Agos’ culture and corporate welfare on these issues, and we are also already planning many initiatives for the care and support of elderly parents. The principles of D&I, strongly endorsed and promoted by the Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Dominique Pasquier, and by all members of the Agos Management Committee, have lost their corporate project dimension and are becoming part of our culture.
"We want to be the company in which every colleague is proud to work, feeling welcomed and respected, free to express their identity and diversity" (D. Pasquier).