Omnia Retail has proudly signed the SER Diversity in Business charter for equal workplace treatment, further showing our commitment to building an open and inclusive environment for all of our employees and becoming a part of a network of companies across the Netherlands that prioritises diversity and inclusion (D&I) within business.
"This sign of approval is an important milestone for Omnia."
Attending the event on 10 February 2022, our COO Vanessa Verlaan, the steward behind Omnia’s company culture, officially signed the declaration and took part in a panel discussion with other company leaders. “This sign of approval is an important milestone for Omnia and shows that we prioritise inclusion, diversity and equality in our culture.” says Verlaan. When asked why company culture is important, Verlaan said, “Our company culture defines us and sets us apart. Next to our great products, it is our strong culture that attracts and retains talented people at Omnia.”
"Different backgrounds, perspectives, experiences are needed to stimulate creativity and innovation."
Omnia’s D&I strategy extends into its core values as a company: Never stop learning; obsession with excellence; and free to be you and me. When explaining the purpose of Free To Be You and Me, Verlaan says that it is about allowing employees to feel free to bring their best self to work. “Different backgrounds, perspectives, experiences are needed to stimulate creativity and innovation. We want everyone to be themselves and to be respected no matter who they are or where they come from.” Setting an inclusive company culture is not the responsibility of one team or person, but an achievement we all take ownership for, as Verlaan explains: “Everyone is invited and expected to be a cultural ambassador at Omnia from day one.”
To ensure that Free To Be You and Me, along with our other two core values, is embedded in Omnia's culture, we have created a framework that emphasises the importance and expectation of living up to our core values:
It starts with something very crucial, yet rather easy to implement: English is our default language in all our spoken and written communication. This helps everyone feel included and welcomed to join a conversation.
- Bringing in new people is impactful for any organisation, especially for a scale-up. We ensure that new joiners match our inclusive mindset by focusing on value fit during the interview process. This has led to a truly diverse culture with over 20 different nationalities.
- D&I forms an important part of our quarterly employee survey, in which we ask for feedback on how the company is handling D&I.
- In addition, our core values are addressed in performance reviews, internal communications and one-on-one meetings as a part of our threshold in achieving success.
"You need to prioritise it throughout your entire organisation, and live up to it every day.”
Omnia recently took a look at D&I programs in companies across Europe to see what we - and others - can learn from the successes and shortcomings of others. Globally, European companies are doing good work in prioritising D&I programs. Over 7,000 global companies were tracked by the Thomson Reuters Diversity and Inclusion Index and 8 out of the top 10 most diverse companies in the world were European.
Verlaan notes with sound advice for other companies: “In order to create, develop and keep the culture you have envisioned for your people and the company, you need to prioritise it throughout your entire organisation, and live up to it every day.”