Marta Brkić, DVOKUT-ECRO Director
U sklopu dvogodišnjeg projekta Lideri uključivosti na radnome mjestu donosimo intervjue s čelnicima kompanija potpisnika Povelje o raznolikosti
Diversity and high-value of each person™s individuality was always a part of DVOKUT-ECRO culture in an informal way and we consider that inclusiveness and equal opportunity are very important factor in creating positive work environment. Open, transparent communication and inclusive decision making are key diversity principles that are implemented horizontally throughout our organization.
Could you share with us some key milestones in the D&I journey of your Company?
In October 2017, the Company signed Diversity Charter Croatia, which marks maybe biggest milestone, but I consider that our D&I journey started way before. We have been actively pursuing incorporation of some D&I principles within our general corporate responsibility and inclusiveness politics. For that DVOKUT-ECRO Ltd. has been awarded with CSR Index award for achievements in the field of sustainable management in the category of small companies in 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as in category for socials responsible community relations in 2019 and 2020.
Furthermore, in 2016 DVOKUT-ECRO was the first company in Croatia to receive the Assurance Statement over the governance on Corporate Social Responsibility in line with the principles and guidelines set out in ISO 26000: 2010 norm.
Our recent years have been marked with significant increase in the number of employees - from 10 in 2010 to current 27 employees (63% woman, 37% men). This increase called for a more structured program and a more precise strategy in keeping with high standards concerning social responsibility, including diversity, which I believe we successfully overcame.
What aspects of diversity management have the highest priority in your company?
We give priority to diversity management which is aimed at our team members and workforce in general. Diversity and high-value of each person™s individuality was always a part of DVOKUT-ECRO culture in an informal way and we consider that inclusiveness and equal opportunity are very important factor in creating positive work environment. Open, transparent communication and inclusive decision making are key diversity principles that are implemented horizontally throughout our organization. We nurture open and direct horizontal and vertical communication. Practices like regular staff meetings, inclusiveness of employees in decision making process and ™open door policy™™ create mutual respect and high trust which is a prerequisite for business success.
Which D&I activities have been implemented in your organization so far?
The company incorporated numerous activities in regular everyday business so far and is continuously working on identifying ways of improving them.
For every calendar year, the company creates a new Annual Business Achievement Program, which also includes diversity goals. We use this moment to make further improvements in company™s activities through the business practices and programs - namely personal and professional development, work assignments organization and overall communication processes.
We pay special care to personal and professional development program which is created individually for each employee. Through this every employee is encouraged to pursue additional education and professional improvement, while taking into account not only workplace, but individual skills, affinities and personal aspirations. Keeping track of employee™s development consist of The Personal Development Program and an overall annual evaluation. The Personal Development Program is designed to allow every employee, in consultation with his/her supervisor, to set three goals they plan to achieve in course of one year. This way company encourages individual development that suits particular sets of employee skills and capabilities. Furthermore, company annually creates Collective Educational Plan for joint education of all employees, which, strengthens team capabilities, but also the team spirit.
Company offers full support to employees during some more challenging life periods (child care, illness, family issues, and so on) and personal responsibilities are taken into account during the allocation of work assignments and workload. This way we cultivate work-life balance and flexibility, which is a key factor in respecting and ensuring diversity today. Additionally, the company practices a flexible approach to working hours and employees use sliding hours and self-setting work hours.
Furthermore, we are practicing open and inclusive decision making, so all employees are included in decision process, especially regarding decision that have effect on whole workforce, like hiring of new employees, changes in working hours, etc.
We continuously get very positive feedback for these activities and we will continue to implement them and further improve them.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by the industry sector in creating a diverse and inclusive workforce?
From my perspective, main challenge would be insufficient level of awareness regarding D&I issues and politics in business community, and consequently low awareness of benefits that implementation of D&I practices could bring to work environment. Even if company has developed D&I politics, what is usually missing is a clear implementation plan, dedication to achieving the goals and engagement of necessary resources. So, I would say that D&I values are unfortunately often just declarative, but not truly practiced and implemented in everyday business.
What business benefits do you see as a result of increasing D&I?
Benefits have been numerous, but we are most proud of very positive employee feedback regarding positive work environment atmosphere, generally high level of employee satisfaction and as a result “ overall low employee fluctuation. Employee high level of satisfaction is confirmed by the annual employee satisfaction survey that is being carried out regularly. We found that having a diversified workforce contributes to the sense of involvement and a greater sense of individual contribution.
Other benefit indicator is improved work performance and a higher level of collective intelligence which resulted in higher level of associates and client™s satisfaction. Also, creating and implementing innovative approaches and entering new markets is easier and less challenging when tackled by a diversified, multidisciplinary team.
Can you name three diversity challenges that companies have to pay attention to?
DVOKUT-ECRO faced several challenges throughout the years. I would single out challenges that arose from fact that our team is multidisciplinary “ our employees come from more than fifteen different professions. So, company had to ensure that all employees, regardless of their education, personality or social background, find their place in the organization, that the company values their personal skills or talents and acknowledges their affinities for further development.
Another challenge that DVOKUT-ECRO tackled was how to integrate new employees and make them more receptive to the company culture in order to enhance the sense of inclusiveness and belonging.
What do you do to convince your colleagues to see the value in diversity management, or even more to truly get them on board?
My experience is that these values, when incorporated in business practices have very good reception and are generally positively welcomed. Of course, to achieve success, values need to be implemented with consistency and integrity, throughout all parts and processes of an organization, from declarative documents to real business everyday practices. This is a prerequisite that company values will be truly lived and greeted by their employees. If this is the case, and I believe we in DVOKUT-ECRO achieved this, then everybody is onboard and a number of occasions when someone needs convincing are seldom to none.
Any plans for the upcoming #EUDiversityMonth this May?
We will mark this month through internal activities, and we™ll use this opportunity to talk to our employees about D&I activities and to present them some future development and plans we have in this area. To mark this occasion and to contribute to the promotion of the D&I issues in business community we™ll communicate through our web and social networks “ which are communication channels that we rely mostly during this past year.
This interview was produced with the financial support of the European Union (project Workplace Inclusion Champion WIC). Its contents are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.