This week, the first batch students graduated from BeCode, a training center that trains ambitious young people out of underserved communities to become web designers or web developers. One of them will be working full time at the Telenet Innovation Center. An open vision on diversity: this is an important spearhead in our corporate culture. Because a workplace with a diversity of profiles leads to new insights, promotes innovation and has a positive impact on the performance and results of a company.

At the beginning of last year, we actively contributed to the creation of BeCode, a training center that wants to increase the job opportunities of young people out of underserved communities by training them as web developers or web designers. Via a company internship BeCode brings the young people in contact with various employers, like Telenet. With success, because the first batch of students received their diplomas this week. And one of them, Adrian Zochowski, is starting as a web developer in the Telenet Innovation Center following his very successful internship. Giving opportunities to people with a physical disability or job-seekers who find it difficult to enter the employment market, welcoming workers who are re-entering the market after a long-term illness, being open to people with different origins, age, religions or cultures: diversity is a term that covers many different facets. Everyone is welcome at Telenet, as long as it ‘clicks’, the skills and the attitude are good, and candidates embrace the values and culture of our company.

Attracting talent with a diverse background

But making diversity work doesn’t just happen. An inclusive personnel policy means that you not only recognize that certain employees are ‘different’, but that you also understand that ‘being different’  can bring a real added-value and strength in the current operation and further development of the organization. An inclusive personnel policy therefore calls for a continuous investment in every aspect of talent management: recruitment, training and education, as well as career planning.

A diverse workplace unfolds right from the first contact. In order to attract new talent, it is therefore best for companies to adopt a recruitment policy that promotes a broad influx. Through structural partnerships with organizations that place diversity at the center of their activities, employers can attract candidates who they may not immediately reach through the traditional recruitment channels. For example, Telenet collaborates with the job platform WannaWork, which connects work-seeking millennials who have a diverse background with companies ‘that are color-blind‘; not through a traditional application letter, but through a real introductory conversation at the workplace.

It is equally important to ensure that the recruiting team itself is open to candidates with a different cultural background, another preference or a physical disability. This is why, for example with WannaWork, we are looking for an HR recruiter with an ethnic background. Someone who knows the world of the millennials and the challenges of young migrant job seekers all too well.

An inclusive recruitment policy therefore asks for an open mindset, but also for a clear signal: it is not the origin of the candidate that counts, but his/her skills, his/her experience and his/her personal & professional attitude.

An open vision of diversity stimulates innovation and growth

There is more focus on cooperation and dialog in a diverse and inclusive work environment.

An open visor with respect for diversity often translates into openness for other visions and new insights, which stimulates the innovation culture and which – ultimately – can also have a positive impact on the performance of the company.

At Telenet, we want diversity to be intertwined with our corporate culture across the board: it is important that all our employees have an open mindset and focus on cooperation and dialog. That is why we above all make the middle management even more conscious of the added value of diversity, through training and education. In this way, they can set an example, and, in turn, project the diversity value within their team.

A well-thought-out career plan can also promote diversity within the organization.

By means of sensitization campaigns, certain groups within the organization can be stimulated to develop their talents further. Female Telenet employees, for example, seem to be less actively engaged in career development, whereas it is just as important that more women should also be promoted into leadership or crucial positions within our organization. That is why we encourage our female employees to strengthen their skills through training and mentoring and to create a talent profile in order to better determine their growth potential.

We are convinced that diversity and inclusion make the difference in this rapidly changing society and knowledge-based economy. As a company, one must therefore fully dedicate itself to the development of an open and diverse work environment, without losing its own identity.  Because, in an open and diverse working environment, employees get the chance to really make the difference, thanks to their skills, experience and motivation.