DSM is already doing a lot on diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace, says Evy Morssinkhof, Global Inclusion & Diversity Specialist at DSM. "We want people to be able to bring their full identity to the workplace, to feel accepted as they are. This is important for their mental and physical health. It contributes to a positive work climate in which people can function optimally and can learn from each other. That is one of the foundations of our company." President Edith Schippers of DSM Netherlands also emphasizes the importance: "Science and innovation are the foundation of our company and the drivers of growth. This requires creative employees who feel free to contribute diverse perspectives, experiences and knowledge. In short, this requires diversity and inclusion. It is not a luxury, but a condition for success."
Equal opportunities at all levels
Diversity & inclusiveness is about gender, LGTBQIA+ and ethnic background. But it is just as much about age and physical or mental disabilities. Edith Schippers: "We want to create a good working environment for all people, at all levels: we want to offer equal opportunities in all layers of the organization." That fits DSM. Schippers: "We have a Culture Compass with the core values being 'Caring, Courageous and Collaborative'. These values are extremely important for diversity and inclusiveness. We assess our employees on that as well. Actually, I trust that we are open to people with different backgrounds, personalities and cultures. That's what makes a work environment fun, right?"
Still, it does require adjustments and there is always room for improvement. Prior to the SER meeting, DSM asked its employees which aspect of diversity & inclusiveness they thought should receive more attention. Schippers: "This revealed that we could pay more attention to what we do for people with disabilities. How can we make work more attractive for them? For example, are our buildings accessible enough? We are now going to investigate this, both in the offices and in the factories. Not everything is possible, because you also have to take aspects such as safety into account. But our approach will be to focus on what CAN be done. We are also investigating how active our locations are in employing people with a disability. If we all make a contribution, we can offer more people a great opportunity for work experience and a job."
Moving forward together
SER Diversity at Work has a lot of knowledge and expertise in the field of diversity and inclusiveness. Schippers: "That helps us to critically examine whether we have our affairs in order and what we could improve. SER brings us also into contact with other companies to learn from, or to collaborate with. That's how we all move forward together."
Global work on diversity & inclusiveness
Diversity & inclusiveness isn't restricted to DSM Netherlands. Evy Morssinkhof is organizing a global team of D&I ambassadors at DSM. "In the Netherlands, accessibility/capacity for work is the focus, but in other countries or continents we may focus on other dimensions of diversity. Each region has resources to promote diversity and inclusion. We have established networks and appointed a 'sponsor' for each focal point at the top of the organization. We explore what people want and need."
Photo front page: Edith Schippers President DSM Nederland