The annual Pride month has arrived in which special attention is given to the position, emancipation and acceptance of people in the LGBTIQ+ community, or more inclusively: the rainbow community. Although Pride Amsterdam, the flagship of Pride activities in the Netherlands, does not take place until August, you can see that many companies are using Pride month to show that they value diversity, inclusion and the rainbow flag. However, truly embedding and professing diversity and inclusion within your organization goes so much further than that. It needs to be continuously addressed and reflected through every fiber of your business.
In addition to setting and communicating the strategy, as CEO of Online Payment Platform I am also responsible for monitoring and promoting diversity and inclusion in the company. It is important to realize that this is much broader than respecting genders and orientations. It is also essential that you include different cultures and backgrounds in your policies and activities.
The idea is that we give everyone who works or wants to work for us the opportunity to celebrate what they think is important, but also to learn from each other. Therefore, all employees receive two diversity days per year that they can schedule as they see fit. The great thing is that these are also used in a very diverse way. For example, some employees go to a Pride event and others choose a holiday that is important to their philosophy of life.
In addition, we try to pay company-wide attention to important holidays and days of remembrance. This year, for example, we organized an Easter breakfast, but next year we are planning an IFTAR meal after sunset during Ramadan. To make sure this is done in a proper way, I am going to talk to our Islamic staff so that we don't miss the mark and they are actively involved.
I find that it does not come naturally for most people to think and act in a diverse and inclusive way. It takes a lot of time and energy to do this consistently and to get colleagues on board. That's why it's so important to continuously create awareness for this, also in the boardroom. On the other hand, there are many things you can take into account quite easily. For example, at a joint meal and party you can always provide good alternatives such as vegetarian, vegan and halal options at a barbeque.
By creating a culture where everyone feels at home and can be themselves, I am convinced that you become more attractive as an employer and people also stay longer. I also expect that diversity and inclusion within financial institutions will gain in importance and that the regulator will set concrete requirements for this. Although this will be done more from a risk perspective. For example, the regulator will be more likely to ask how you limit the risks in this area. Whatever perspective it comes from, it will at least raise awareness in our sector.
Diversity and inclusion fundamental issues
While I hold Pride month very dear and also as Treasurer of the Zero Flags-project, welcome all initiatives in this area, Online Payment Platform does not hang the rainbow flag in front of the office for the entire month of June. We choose to do so at appropriate times throughout the year. After all, diversity and inclusion are not themes that we 'respond' to once a year. They are fundamental issues at the heart of our culture and policies, everywhere and at all times.