What makes a company’s diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I) program successful?

“If we want to include everyone, we must help everyone develop their talents and use their gifts for the good of the community. That’s what inclusion means – everyone contributes,” explained Melinda Gates. This doesn’t happen overnight; it is a continuous process that we should all work towards in and outside the workplace to improve our society.

While progress has been made toward DE&I, we still have some way to go. In a recent survey, 51% of DE&I heads, for example, say their biggest challenge is leaders failing to take ownership to drive DE&I outcomes. They also noted ineffective coordination of DE&I efforts across business units.

Working to create a diverse and equitable workplace improves employee retention, boosts productivity, creates a wider talent pool, enhances creativity and promotes a positive brand image. In addition, more inclusive colleagues in the workplace will be more accepting outside in their downtime, making for a more inclusive and safer society.

Workplace DE&I is continually evolving and requires the contribution of every employee from the top down. Organizations must work to foster these positive behaviors. This requires leadership to embed it across the entire organization.

Building a sustainable diversity, equity and inclusion strategy

According to Gartner research, DE&I and social impact initiatives are integral to building diverse and inclusive workplaces where employees feel safe, valued and empowered.

Establishing accountability is critical, as is moving from a reactive to a proactive approach. Gartner research shows organizations that adopt consequential accountability will reach gender parity 13 years earlier and racial parity six years earlier.

At Orange Business, we like to see ourselves as trailblazers in addressing the issue, both on our own initiatives and as part of the Orange Group.

In July 2019, Orange Group signed a global agreement with the UN Global Union to support workplace gender equality and fight against discrimination and violence. This includes providing wider society with our expertise in communications, notably mobile and digital, which are often the first stop for alerting and helping victims.

Orange Business now has 35% female employees worldwide. We are on target to have 35% women in leadership roles by 2025, alongside a 0% gender pay gap in like-for-like situations. Our proactive policy has resulted in Orange Business being ranked 35th out of 4,000 companies worldwide in the Equileap Gender Equality 2023 report and 5th in our business sector.

Making a difference

Our actions, at both the Orange Group and Orange Business levels, are part of our responsibility as an employer and our social responsibility. To this end, we carry out prevention and awareness actions internally and externally, encouraging discussion and making all feel welcome.

We raise awareness of workplace gender equality among employees via an e-learning course available in five languages, which has already been completed by more than 66,000 of our employees worldwide.

Orange Business contributes to the Hello Women Orange Group program, which aims to improve gender balance in digital and technical positions. The Orange Business projects aim to:

  • Highlight technical career prospects to young girls and students
  • Identify and recruit more women in these professions
  • Retrain women in these highly employable sectors

Orange Business has created the Women Up program: a one-year development program for female international emerging potentials in technical positions within Orange Business. This program aims to unleash and develop the full potential of these young women and, subsequently, help each of them succeed in their first managerial position or develop a successful career as an expert. Ultimately, with the most promising participants, create a pool of international talents within Orange Business.

Contribute to the development of the next generation of female leaders is one of the key goals of Delphine Antoszkiewicz, Head of Talent Development, Diversity & Inclusion at Orange Business. “Dare to smash the glass ceiling,” “Be proud of yourselves,” and “Help women reach their full potential is an integral part of leadership” are some of the key messages she shared with the 150 Indian students of the Global MBA INSEAD-SPJIMR, within the Future4care premises in Paris in January.

We are also committed to making the world a safer place for women. To put this in perspective, 60% of women in the European Union have suffered gender-based or sexual violence during their professional careers. In addition, 1 in 3 women across the globe have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives, according to the World Health Organization.

To combat violence against women, Orange Business is running training modules for all employees covering domestic violence, street harassment, and harassment and violence in the workplace.

Orange Business also supports One in Three Women, the first European network of companies committed to fighting domestic violence. Specific training aims to give employees the tools to help, support and protect any employee who is a victim of domestic violence, including spotting the warning signs. Orange Business also has an emergency 24-hour helpline for employees who may be victims of domestic violence.

Always keep an open mind

It is uplifting to see multinationals like Orange Group and its business services Digital Services, a part of Orange Business, forging ahead to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive society while addressing violence against women. But we must not forget that we all have our part to play in creating an environment free from prejudice where people can express their uniqueness. Our words and actions inside and outside the office are vital to building a more tolerant, open and inclusive society.

To find out more about Orange Business and its diversity, equality and inclusion program, click here.

Reena Lindorf
Reena Lindorff

Reena is Head of Internal and CSR Communications, Digital Services at Orange Business. She is also a meditation and mindfulness teacher and hosts workshops in her free time.