Netherlands Diversity Day wrongly buried by Covid news: economic council boss
Today is the second ever Diversity Day in the Netherlands, but you would hardly say so as headlines are dominated by coronavirus stories, chairman Mariette Hamer of the social economic council SER said in an interview with Tubantia. That is a problem, she said. "Diversity in companies is important, especially in times in crisis."
Last year on Diversity Day, the news headlines were dominated by the SER's advice to introduce women's quota for the supervisory boards of listed companies, and to oblige the 5 thousand largest companies to come up with a plan on how they will get more people with different backgrounds and cultures to the top and sub-top of their businesses.
The quota for women in business leadership will come into effect next year, and that is great. But the coronavirus crisis does not mean diversity should be ignored, Hamer said. With the economic downturn brought by the crisis, companies will need every edge that they can get.
"We know from many scientific studies that the more diverse the organization is, the better the performance is, when employees have the feeling that they can participate and there is an open corporate culture. There is a direct relationship between diversity and performance," Hamer said.
According to her, the main reason the lack of diversity is still a problem in many companies, despite scientific evidence that diversity is beneficial, lies with corporate culture. "If you have a strong top that makes its own decisions and tolerates little participation or contradiction, then you see that there is less room for diversity."
The SER is satisfied with the steps the government took to increase diversity in the business world, but the council will not leave it at that. "It is important that we press ahead," Hamer said. "We are currently setting up a special program within the SER to support the 5 thousand largest companies in their diversity plans and to help them monitor them."