Every third week a new podcast episode is released featuring Swiss leaders discussing what organizations and individuals can do to increase the number of people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives in leadership positions.
#28 Simona, why do you challenge the notion of Availability equaling Results?
with Simona Scarpaleggia
In the last episode of the season, I talk with Simona Scarpaleggia, an international business leader, author, board member and former global CEO.
It was under her leadership that IKEA Switzerland has achieved worldwide recognition for reaching gender equality, both overall and in management. In just 9 years, the company has increased the proportion of women in management positions from approximately 4% to 50%.
In this conversation with Simona, we delve into the topic of how to create sustainable change in the workplace, why she thinks part-time shouldn’t be a career killer, and whether the DEI policies she advocates for are harder to implement in smaller companies.
This episode is gold for both high-level insight and incredibly practical advice. Simona highlights specific areas of action, common setbacks you’re likely to encounter on your DEI journey, and how you as a leader can become a role model for your team.
Diversity, equity and inclusion policies are key to creating change, but it won’t last if the policies only rely on certain individuals to make them work. They need to have systems built around them that are independent from leadership.
A workplace with general equity not only gives you better reputation as an employer, it can also be a competitive advantage because you become a representation of the diversity in the market, meaning you can understand and serve your clients better.
The winners of tomorrow will be those who can effectively utilize the potential of a hybrid work environment. This requires challenging deep-rooted assumptions about the role of leadership and what you think of as the key traits of a great employee.
Use role models and success stories to show your employees they won’t get penalized for taking advantage of policies like paternity leave and part-time work.
Don’t use the same leadership style with all of your employees. Learn to distinguish between situations where clear direction is needed versus ones where your role is to inspire, then just let your team do their job.
When considering someone for a promotion, focus on the results of the person and what they bring to the table rather than their availability to be physically present all the time.
Find Simona on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sscarpaleggia/
#27 Gilles, what does a committed father need? - Interview with Gilles Crettenand from Swiss national MenCare programme
with Gilles Crettenand
Note: The interview was recorded in French.
Research has proven without a doubt that having an engaged, nurturing father can provide huge benefits for children’s physical, social and psychological well-being. But the cultural frameworks and systemic support for men to be able to fully embrace this role is largely missing in Switzerland today.
Gilles Crettenand is the head of MenCare Suisse Romande, a national program promoting fathers’ involvement in everyday childcare and men’s participation in the care sector in general.
In previous episodes, we’ve talked about how men being more present with their families is key for gender equality inside and outside the workplace. (Listen to episode 16 with Dario Christiano and episode 25 with Reto Kessler in particular.)
Today’s discussion with Gilles goes deeper into the often invisible struggles men can face on their journey to becoming the fathers and partners they want to be.
We talk about the ways the system fails men from an early age and the consequences this has for all of us. Gilles also shares his experiences of leading transformative workshops on fatherhood, and offers a thoughtful perspective on how we can support men in becoming more aware caregivers of themselves and their families.
What you will learn:
When men are socialized not to express their feelings or be vulnerable, it becomes difficult to connect on a deeper level with themselves and others, including their partners and children. Education plays a major role in reproducing this pattern, and increasing one’s capacity for empathy is key to changing it.
The hospital environment and the attitude of birth professionals can play a major role in reinforcing (or undermining) the legitimacy of men as capable caregivers. When fathers are involved from the start, the whole family is strengthened.
Although their issues can be different from those of women, men also suffer under a patriarchal system. At the same time, self-aware, actively engaged fathers can become role models for social change that benefits everyone.
Create dedicated spaces where new and experienced fathers can safely talk about their experiences, questions and concerns.
Start training programs for developing soft skills like empathy and non-violent communication. Make sure male employees can see the benefit of participating.
Get involved with initiatives that help couples consciously plan and prepare for parenthood. Make this support available to employees who would benefit from it.
Find Gilles on LinkedIn:
#26 Anne, is ensuring diversity in ads, the key to a double bottom line? - Interview with Anne Joffre from Procter & Gamble
with Anne Joffre Bonnaillie
Ads that portray women in a professional setting receive significantly less funding than those that portray them in traditional gender roles, found a 2022 research by CreativeX. Data like this show that while the portrayal of women on screen has changed over the last decades, the media and advertising industry still has a long way to go in terms of diversity and representation.
A company that makes a stand for a more equal and inclusive world in advertising is Procter & Gamble, home to brands like Always, Gillette and Pampers. Their two main goals in this field are 100% accurate representation of women on screen, and hiring 50% female directors behind the camera. After five years, they are at more than 80% with the former and 47% with the latter.
And as today’s guest, Anne Joffre will tell you, these results not only create a positive impact for society, they’re also a driver of business growth for P&G.
Anne is Senior Director, Brand Building Integrated Communications at P&G. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion both on a personal and a professional level, and shares openly about these two sides throughout the episode.
You will hear about what the key factors of success were for the company, how Anne developed the case for change internally, and the sound advice she has for organizations who want to combine being a force for good with the business perspective.
This episode was recorded at a Role Model Series event that Fish in the Boardroom organized in cooperation with INSEAD Women in Business Alumni Club. Questions were asked by Kathrin Niederlaender.
“There was also a research company called ADX who had the most prestigious research award that had demonstrated the correlation between gender equality in advertising and business building potential, like a plus 25% for ads that are portraying women in a progressive and positive manner.”
What you will learn:
A DE&I initiative will see results faster if top management embeds it into their strategy and prioritizes actively supporting it.
If you want people in the organization to embrace the change you are trying to make, you have to help them to see DE&I not only as a force for good, but as a must-have to expand your reach and capture new markets.
When you are first starting out with a DE&I initiative, employees will need information and tools to help them adapt to the new perspective. While this internal capability is being built, big change can come from making inclusive representation mandatory.
Prepare a compelling business case for top management that shows the potential for growth in making DE&I a priority. Getting long-term commitment is easier when you have a few wins you can point to early on, so focus on getting those first.
Set a clear expectation of inviting females into the areas of the business where they are traditionally underrepresented. This will let people know they need to plan ahead for finding the right talent.
Be clear about your objectives and how you will track them from the start. Communicate that as part of the success drivers of the project and give regular feedback on progress.
Find Anne online:
LinkedIn: Anne Joffre Bonnaillie
#25 Reto, why are fathers key for a family-friendly company culture? - Interview with Reto Kessler of Väternetzwerk Schweiz
with Reto Kessler of Väternetzwerk Schweiz
In a 2019 study by UNICEF, Switzerland ranked last in terms of family-friendly policies among 41 high- and medium-income countries. Balancing family life and work is considered a private matter, and the few existing structures of support are still aimed mainly at mothers. The challenges of working fathers are often overlooked, yet without their higher participation in care and domestic work, nothing can truly change for women either.
Actively addressing these issues comes with great benefits for organizations. Research has shown that the positive effects of initiatives like job-sharing, part-time work or on-site childcare outweigh the cost of implementing them even in the short-term.
In today’s episode, I’m talking with Reto Kessler, head of Väternetzwerk Schweiz, a program that supports fathers and companies in finding effective solutions for reconciling work and parenthood.
This is a truly inspiring conversation full of thought-provoking insights for parents and companies alike. Reto makes a strong case for why parenthood is an organizational matter, shares how it relates to equality in the workplace, and gives lots of actionable tips for building a family-friendly culture in your organization.
What you will learn
Unbalanced distribution of paid and unpaid work between mothers and fathers contributes to issues like the gender pay gap. Diversity and equality at work require creating organizational structures that support options outside of traditional gender roles for parenting.
Parenthood puts an extra load on employees’ mental and physical health. By fostering a culture that enables parents to perform well without burnout, organizations can benefit from higher levels of employee motivation and commitment in the long run.
When your company is family-friendly not only on paper but in practice as well, that can become one of your greatest assets in employer branding.
Create internal parent networks where parents can meet, learn from and support each other.
Before creating initiatives for parents within the company, ask them what they actually need. Let them be directly involved in the process and be open for proposals.
Offer a few different benefit options parents can choose from. Experiment with solutions like job sharing, top sharing and leading in part-time.
Find Reto online
Linkedin: Reto Kessler
#24 Holacracy - the universal answer to the challenges of tomorrow´s working world - hype or myth?! - with Gerhard Andrey
with Gerhard Andrey
As an answer to rapidly changing business environments and employee expectations in the last two decades, new models of organizational structures have been emerging. One of these models is Holacracy, a decentralized approach to governing and operating organizations that is celebrated by its advocates for its agility, effectiveness, and ability to adapt.
According to HolacracyOne, a company helping organizations implement this structure, Switzerland is one of the countries with the highest number of organizations using Holacracy. While interest in the model continues to grow, discussions have also started around its limitations and relation to concepts like authority, culture, and diversity.
My guest today is Gerhard Andrey, co-founder of the digital agency Liip, one of the earliest adopters of Holacracy in Switzerland.
In our conversation we go deep into why their decision to shift from a hierarchical structure was made, what challenges they faced both on a personal level and as a company during the process, and what organizations should expect if they wish to start on a similar path.
Gerhard also shares how practicing Holacracy at Liip has created more equal opportunities for women, and how this structure can become a vehicle for diversity and personal flourishing at work.
What you will learn
Traditional hierarchies in organizations weren’t created for the world we live in today. Even if you don’t adapt all aspects of Holacracy, assessing where structural change is necessary can help your organization stay relevant.
The strict structures of Holacracy make it more difficult for personal relationships and biases to affect the decision-making process. This can lead to safer spaces for people with different identities.
Holacracy can support diversity, but it can’t create it on its own. You still need the right mindset and organizational culture if you want to foster DE&I.
Holacracy is not a quick fix for all your organizational problems. Examine your reasons for wanting to adapt it and make sure the top management is ready for the change of power dynamics.
When hiring new talent, don’t just look at how someone fits a narrowly defined role. Take the whole human into account and consider all the ways they could contribute to the organization.
Instead of changing the structure of the whole company all at once, start with one team or one set of approaches, then evolve from there.
Open Source und eigentlich alles, was es braucht wenn man das ohne Hilfe anwenden will : https://www.holacracy.org/constitution/5
Liip Blogpost: The 5 Most Common Questions I Hear About Self-Organization : https://www.liip.ch/de/blog/5-common-questions-hear-self-organization
Liip culture : https://www.liip.ch/en/culture
Find Gerhard online
Twitter : https://twitter.com/anderageru
LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/in/gerhard-andrey-aa57a820/
#23 How do you start a DE&I initiative with no resources? - with Amira Ghozali & Bas van Buijtenen from Aptar Pharma Group
Aptar is a global leader in designing and manufacturing consumer dispensing and drug delivery solutions, with 13 000 employees in 20 countries. In 2021, only four years after the launch of their diversity, equity and inclusion initiative, Forbes named Aptar one of the top 10 female-friendly companies in the world.
How did Aptar set up such a successful DE&I initiative in such a short time, especially in an industry where women are generally underrepresented? What were the key factors that helped the program take root and become an integral part of the company’s core values?
In this episode, Amira Ghozali and Bas van Buijtenen talk about how they first launched the Aptar DE&I initiative at a single division with minimal resources. They share their personal experiences and most important learnings from the process, and give advice to people who also want to start on a journey of transforming their workplace.
This episode was recorded at a Role Model Series event that Fish in the Boardroom organized in cooperation with INSEAD Women in Business Alumni Club.
What you will learn
Building a community of ambassadors from different parts of the organization can help the message spread faster.
You don’t need to have everything figured out from the start. It’s more important to set your vision, start small, and keep learning as you go.
A survey can be a great starting tool from which a DE&I strategy can emerge.
Men tend to underestimate the challenges women face in the workplace. It is a different experience to work in a company whether you are a man or a woman.
Make sure that everyone in the organization clearly understands the objective and the intention behind the initiative. Adapt your messages and communication channels to the target group.
Include the topic of DE&I in the agenda of meetings whenever you can to demonstrate your commitment to it and keep it at the forefront of people’s minds.
Research benchmarks and best practices from different industries. Leverage existing solutions, but always adjust them to the needs of your own company.
Aptar Named a Global Top 10 Female-Friendly Company by Forbes
Aptar Press Release 07.04.2021 Launch Align, Female Employee Resource Group
Find Amira & Bas on LinkedIn
Amira Ghozali: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amiraghozali/
Bas van Buijtenen: https://www.linkedin.com/in/basvanbuijtenen/
For anyone interested in practices relating to Diversity and Inclusion in Switzerland - and let’s be honest, huge progress needs to be made here - this podcast offers a wealth of insights in a series of short, information-rich interviews with leading practitioners in the field. A much-needed addition to the Swiss podcast landscape.
Klar, Kompetent und ein wichtiges Thema!