Incubeta Insider: Diversity in the Workplace

In our latest Incubeta Insider we caught up with Pieter Slingerland, Managing Director of Northern Europe to discuss European Diversity Month, and how Incubeta strives to be an inclusive, diverse and supportive workplace for all employees. Despite diversity in the workplace generating significant focus over the last two decades, 59% of people in Europe still believe that individuals are discriminated against based on their ethnicity. Pieter spoke to us about his team, the road to increased diversity and how organizations with an inclusive and diverse workforce produce stronger ideas, genuine customer engagements, and higher financial gains.

Pieter Slingerland

What Does Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (DEI) Mean to You?

Since the age of 18 I’ve been fortunate enough  to work with a multitude of individuals from a variety of different nationalities, backgrounds and ethnicities. This has allowed me to develop my own understanding of diversity – diversity and ethnic perspective. The way someone from one nationality communicates, and acts can be entirely different to how someone from a different nationality communicates and acts. Everyone’s mannerisms and reactions are from their own frame of reference: their background and culture. Although a simple enough concept to understand, It’s taught me to be open minded in all aspects of life.

What Does DEI Mean to You and the NACE team?

When it comes to DEI in our market we don’t have specific ‘measurable’ targets per say, rather we try to be as open-minded as possible, adapting and evolving as we go. Our attitude has resulted in our team growing to 40 people with 16 different nationalities. 

That’s not to say we’re done learning. Recently we had a job applicant who was not from the region, and as such wasn’t a native language speaker. Due to (anticipated) communication difficulties, I doubted their suitability for the role, and that was a mistake. In the interview they excelled above and beyond all other applicants and were offered the job. This taught me a valuable lesson, and as such I am now learning to not ‘judge a book by its cover’. Unconscious bias is often a barrier in the fight against diversification, and it’s a factor we have to ensure not to overlook.

When I think about DEI in our NACE team I like to think about our day to day interactions, and how different people react to situations from their own frame of reference. Just the other day a German colleague asked a new joiner why they wanted to learn Dutch and not German because more people speak German than Dutch. She replied, ‘Why don’t you learn how to speak Hindi? Only 130 million people speak German, but 790 million people speak Hindi – surely Hindi would be more relatable?.’ Two individuals, with two different perspectives. Again a great example of how we all learn—every day.

What do you do to Encourage DEI in the Workplace?

We don’t just talk about diversity, equality and inclusion; we show it every day. With multiple different nationalities in the office, we are constantly learning from one another, sharing personal and cultural differences – creating a mutual understanding office-wide. People who join Incubeta feel welcome because they experience this in the atmosphere we cultivate.

We introduced team-building initiatives such as ‘’Worthy Wednesday.’ Every Wednesday morning, three colleagues introduce themselves and share what makes them unique. This can be based on culture, religion, family, acquaintances, work, and hobbies. We’ve also introduced ‘Insights Discovery’, a tool that helps people understand more about themselves and others, which I think creates a strong foundation for being inclusive, effective teamwork and high performance. This ensures that people feel equal and part of the team. When people feel welcome, something beautiful happens. 

I think it all starts with knowing yourself and how you interact with others. Although we don’t work with targets around diversity, we’ve found that our approach towards hiring and increasing accessibility in the industry has helped to make Incubeta one of the most diverse organizations with low turnover, satisfied colleagues, and happy customers.

What is our Advice for Other Companies that Want to Improve their DEI?

A diverse team with multiple nationalities, age groups, and lifestyles depends on face-to-face interactions to make a connection. Although this has been difficult throughout the pandemic, it’s important to rebuild those relationships and contact points within your teams. Be open to other people and ways of thinking. Keep learning and reflecting. Demonstrate your genuinity about creating real change, rather than pretending via over-hyped metrics. Where there is a will, there is a way!

At Incubeta we work on our communication and ensure a harmonious atmosphere. We are encouraged to show up and share our opinions, but there is a lot of work put in to ensure we’re creating a safe environment full of respect and trust. I try to gain the confidence of new people in our team. I think an essential question of inclusivity is ‘am I accepted as I am?’ Because there are multiple ethnicities in our team, new people from other groups don’t feel alone and connect faster. 

For more information about diversity in the workplace have a read of Diversity & Unconscious Bias; How to Find the Right Cultural Fit for You or Demonstrating Diversity; The Value of Inclusive Marketing.

 

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