"Being yourself is the basis of a strong society"

"Being yourself is the basis of a strong society"

VodafoneZiggo on diversity, inclusion and pride

Be proud of who you are. It sounds like simple advice, but for many people it is stressful or complicated to feel or share that pride. For example, because they encounter resistance or a lack of understanding in their environment. All the more important, in VodafoneZiggo's opinion, to implement and promote a policy of diversity and inclusion.

"Everyone is welcome with us", says Marieke Zuidema, Director People Development & Leadership at VodafoneZiggo. "Regardless of origin, gender, outlook on life, disability or sexual preference. For years, we have been working hard to improve the gender ratio in our sector. We are striving to make VodafoneZiggo's workforce a reflection of society: diverse, multicultural and proud. We fully support the LGTBQ+ community, both inside and outside our company walls. We help people at a great distance from the labour market in finding a full-fledged job. Finally, we are adapting our HR systems to developments in society. This total approach offers respect, pride and growth."

Prejudices and differences
"We promote our philosophy in all kinds of ways," says Pim Brouwers of the Diversity and Inclusion team. "For example, we organise workshops with the Corporate Queer organisation in which colleagues talk about prejudices, differences and awareness. For example, we explain all those letters of LGTBQ+ one by one. We also zoom in on the unconscious preferences or prejudices that many people have. We disentangle diversity from stereotypes and have good conversations about it."

Networking at the boardroom table
VodafoneZiggo provides several internal networks in which colleagues come together to support diversity. For example, there is a Queers Connected network, a youth network and a women's network. Pim: "All these groups meet with someone from the Board of Directors once a year, to talk about their experiences, milestones and any concerns."

CEO out of the closet
VodafoneZiggo has been supporting the Pride movement for years. The company is the main partner of the Pride boat parade through the canals of Utrecht and an active partner of the Pride Business Club Amsterdam. CEO Jeroen Hoencamp made his contribution by coming out of the closet in an unexpected way in a video posted on social media in 2020. Marieke: "Corporate Queer challenged him to put this theme on the map. And he seized the opportunity with both hands. The video has been viewed thousands of times and received many positive reactions."

Opportunities for the vulnerable
In order to give everyone a fair chance, the company runs several projects aimed at employing people who are distanced from the labour market. "We offer internships, assistance programmes and jobs," says Marieke. "Through specialised partner companies, we find the right people to fill these positions. In this way, an insecure or vulnerable job applicant, who is ignored by many companies, gets a job with us. For example, we have acquired a number of colleagues who do excellent work despite a lack of experience or a physical or mental disability. They learn the trade, discover where their strengths lie and grow in their pride."

Also read this story about colleague Tim

Checkmark x
Sometimes understanding can be found in unexpected places. For example, in a checkmark in an HR or customer system. Pim: "For a growing group in the Netherlands, filling in the 'gender' box is a confrontational moment. Or it's not so easy to reduce it to a choice between the letters 'M' or 'F'. For these people, who are, for example, 'trans' or 'non-binary', we have recently introduced the option to fill in 'neutral' ('x') in our HR systems. They will also soon be able to change this information themselves at any time." Marieke: "In due time, we will also implement these additions in our customer systems. We like to show that everyone is welcome. If everyone can be themselves, this can be the basis for a strong society."

Read more about VodafoneZiggo's People Planet Progress strategy

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