Diversity, equity and inclusion
Diverse and inclusive teams strengthen the feeling of well-being among our employees – which leads to better performance. Therefore, increasing diversity, equity and inclusion is of huge importance to us. To achieve this, we are focusing on raising awareness, both internally and externally, of the importance of diversity; we are striving for recruitment that attracts talent from all backgrounds; and creating a safe working environment in which everyone – regardless of gender, orientation, disability, origin or religion – can be themselves.
BEING CONNECTED MAKES YOU STRONGER
According to an internal survey, our internal employee networks help improve employee satisfaction – something we are very proud of. These networks include: Women Connected, a community working collectively to achieve a better gender balance within VodafoneZiggo; Go-getters Connected, which aims to improve accessibility in the workplace; Queers Connected, which seeks to ensure a safe working environment for LGBT+ colleagues; and finally: Intercultural Connected, a network in which colleagues from a variety of backgrounds can share their experiences.
These groups are open to all – employees from different backgrounds can join as allies. For example, one of the chairpersons of Women Connected is a man. The aim is that colleagues from different groups get to know each other better and have the opportunity to promote the network’s message within VodafoneZiggo.
ACTION FOR DIVERSITY
To gain insight into areas where we are doing well and where there is still room for improvement, we sent out our second survey into Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) in 2022. More than 2,300 colleagues – an increase of more than 800 from the year before – made their voices heard. The survey revealed that 83% of respondents can be themselves, and 78% said they felt at home at VodafoneZiggo. While this is a positive result, we can and must do better for those colleagues who answered negatively.
Based on the survey results, each Business Unit has drawn up an action plan to contribute towards our goal of being a diverse and inclusive organisation. In 2022, for example, we adjusted the recruitment policy in several business units to influence gender ratios. Employees also increased their knowledge and skills of DE&I by taking part in training courses on topics such as psychological security. During Lunch & Learn sessions, colleagues discussed topics connected with DE&I – such as ‘unconscious prejudices’, ‘cultural identity’ and the ‘gender gap’. More than 350 of our employees have participated in one or more of these discussions to date.
We have adopted a learning-based approach to our action plans, where we review our goals and interventions based on the results of each of our annual DE&I surveys. This allows us to make continual improvements.
A SAFE WORKING ENVIRONMENT
As a company, we focus on creating a working environment in which all employees feel safe, respectfully treated and at home. In 2022, we prioritised this topic within our organisation, not only in connection with our DE&I survey, but also as a response to a debate within society about unacceptable behaviour. We clearly communicated our policy and our guidelines concerning unacceptable behaviour in the form of a code of conduct. We also sent out communications from the HR department and the company’s management, to stimulate further discussion. In addition, we made the various contact points for reporting purposes more accessible and introduced Trust Buddies – colleagues who can discuss options to address inappropriate behaviour with employees.
We also introduced a new intervention: the Hotlines page, a hub with all the information about our Trust Buddies and the options we offer within VodafoneZiggo for when employees feel the need to talk to someone or wish to report inappropriate behaviour. The introduction of Hotlines led to a number of reports being made that enabled us to take action in a careful and considerate way.
It is important to realise that combating unacceptable behaviour is a continuous process. As a company, we must conduct regular evaluations and improvements to ensure that the working environment is free of this behaviour.
Diversity in the workplace can be improved with an inclusive recruitment process. With this in mind, we adjusted our vacancy texts to make them more appealing to women. As of 2022, candidates applying for any full-time vacancy can choose to work either 32 or 40 hours a week – an attractive proposition for anyone who prefers to work part-time. In addition, we received a Digital Recruitment Award 2022 for the best online application experience, thanks to our accessible and transparent online application process.
Genuinely inclusive recruitment reaches the talented individuals who are often overlooked in the labour market. In 2022, we set out to address this issue by creating tailor-made positions with, among other things, an adapted range of tasks and adjusted working hours, increasing the number of skilled workers who could find work with us. We aim to obtain step 1 of the Performance Ladder for Social Enterprise (PSO) in 2023 in recognition of our efforts.
Another great example of the steps we have taken to assist those who have difficulties accessing the job market is our Greywatchers programme. We often have to disconnect the TV and internet access of people who use our services without paying for a subscription – called 'Greywatchers'. As well as sending installation staff to carry disconnections out, we employ assistants in the shape of those who have difficulty accessing the labour market – people who need a defined list of tasks and enjoy working outdoors.
We also have special roles for deaf employees in our Sign Language Coffee Bar at our central office in Utrecht. Employees and visitors can use sign language to order a coffee from a barista who is deaf – creating opportunities for them undertake paid employment.
REAL ROLE MODELS
Our diversity, equity and inclusion ambitions extend far beyond our own organisation. In 2022, for example, we were once again the main sponsor of Pride in Utrecht, running our ‘Real Models’ campaign to encourage Canal Pride visitors to celebrate the freedom to "be who you are". We wanted to provide young people within the queer community with realistic role models. So we invited real visitors to Pride to be our campaign models, photographing them on-site and immediately displaying the results on digital screens throughout the city. At Pride Groningen and Pride Amsterdam, visitors also had an opportunity to appear as a ‘real models’ in the same way. The first models were colleagues from ‘Queers Connected’, the employees’ network at VodafoneZiggo that brings together LGBT+ people and their allies.
We also designed the Unstereotype Framework to ensure that we are truly diverse and inclusive in all of our brand communications, which we are now using to test our communications to ensure they reflect diversity and inclusion.
DIVERSITY THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS
In 2022, we once again were involved in several partnerships to play our part in boosting diversity, equity and inclusion within society as a whole. One of those partnerships was with Refugee Talent Hub, which helps refugees find jobs. We also partnered with Cable & Telecommunications to strengthen the position of women within the sector. A third partnership was with the Edwin van der Sar Foundation, which welcomes colleagues with non-congenital brain injuries as Data Analysts.
OUR NEXT STEPS IN 2023
Our ultimate ambition is to reach a point where a diversity and inclusion policy is unnecessary. However, there is still a long way to go before that happens. We have marked out our roadmap for 2023 under the heading of Belonging, Representation & Allyship, focusing on ensuring everyone can be themselves and feel equal and represented. For example, we are currently setting up a platform that will enable colleagues with opposing points of view to sit down and talk together, because sharing ideas and opinions can lead to greater mutual understanding.