Artikel: Social protection takes diversity to the next level

Social protection takes diversity to the next level

The Netherlands Central Bank (DNB) is working hard to promote greater diversity within its organisation. Everyone at the bank acknowledges the importance of this issue. Diversity has the support of the organisation and is being implemented in very practical ways throughout, including at the executive level. By offering monitoring (for example by signing the Talent to the Top Charter) and specific courses and training programmes (Opportunity Advies’ Female Empowerment course and OiB’s Cross-Mentoring Programme), the bank has consistently analysed and encouraged its talent pool. DNB is now looking beyond the success factors identified so far and exploring such challenging topics as recruitment and awareness. Perceived social protection is an important requirement as far as DNB is concerned.

Identifying future benefits alongside current success factors
“We now have a good idea of which factors will lead to a successful and broadly supported diversity policy,” says Jacoby Mensinga, an HR policy officer in the DNB’s P&O policy department. “We’re keeping a very close eye on those factors. It’s naturally also interesting to explore how we can generate even more benefits for ourselves as an organisation. Are there other issues that we haven’t addressed yet? And why haven’t we addressed them? How will we tackle those issues?”

Carola Beers, HRD adviser, gives an example. “Let’s look at recruitment, which is quite a broad area. Our challenge as an organisation is to teach managers that they can assess candidates from another vantage point – and that they should want to do so. But how do we do that? I can give you a good example. Several employees in the Supervision Division have a background in psychology, and they believe that proper supervision of financial institutions is largely a question of behaviour. It’s precisely these employees who have a different perspective on ‘supervision’. Hiring people who see things differently has a knock-on effect on other employees. They learn to see things from a different angle and to consider new attitudes and ideas. Our approach to financial supervision has really changed. We look at it very differently these days. You see that very plainly in the way we now operate.”

“We benefit the most by continuously probing our pool of high potentials so that we always know how things stand with them,” says Jacoby Mensinga. “We constantly ask ourselves the same question: where are they and what do they want? We regularly benchmark ourselves, of course. Statistics allow us to make comparisons.”
 
It’s important to share successes
Knowing where you stand and sharing your successes are both very important factors, say Mensinga and Beers. “We’ve developed very good channels for sharing our successes with employees. For example, we now award the Joanne Kellerman Trophy, founded in collaboration with the Female Capital network. The network organises activities for both men and women and raises awareness of diversity-related issues. The trophy is an annual award for people who have set an inspiring example for others in the area of diversity or work/life issues. And our in-house staff magazine Florijn has a special section devoted to employees who are ‘different’ in some way.”

Social protection: foundation for diversity
Jacoby and Carola believe that social protection – a major priority at DNB – is the key to a successful diversity policy. Experience shows that if employees do not feel that their organisation offers them what they consider an adequate level of social protection, there will be no basis for increasing the level of diversity. “Social protection is really the foundation for diversity,” says Jacoby Mensinga. “Our Governing Board plays a key role in this respect. They are the catalysts of our policy. For example, after Klaas Knot came on board as President, we started to look at the work/life balance differently. He is himself a father of young children, and he wants to take them to school or pick them up himself from time to time.”

“DNB is deliberately helping employees achieve a better work/life balance by letting them work a 36-hour week in four days,” adds Carola Beers. “The rapid rise of ‘the new way of working’ and the arrangements that make that possible – home offices, more flexible starting and finishing times, smartphones – are helping us meet employees’ differing needs and requirements. All this also makes DNB a more attractive employer for a larger group of people.”

Open communication and awareness: today’s issues, and tomorrow’s too
DNB realises that it has to keep working on transforming its organisational culture if it is going to take diversity to the next level. Open communication and awareness are two genuine benefits of this process, say Jacoby and Carola. “Every change starts with a desire to examine yourself and with the courage to do so. Although we see that more and more employees are thriving thanks to the flexibility offered by the new way of working, for example, we also have to consider the group of employees who continue to value an attendance culture. We are continuing to seek out ways for employees to communicate their expectations to one another. It takes a lot of time and energy to examine where we stand, where our organisation stands, and what our future organisational and HR strategy should be. But we are working patiently on precisely that, through many different channels and while keeping a close eye on our employees’ needs.”

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