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Meet Ms.Isabelle Calvez,
Group Chief HR Officer

„By consistently pursuing its long-term strategy, by living the core values and specifically by performing actions to promote gender diversity, SUEZ can proudly declare to have developed a strong inclusive culture. A diverse workforce is a stronger, more creative workforce, able to create a mutually respectful and challenging environment, delivering value for employees, clients and the business”.

Thinking about their future, what do many successful companies around the world have in common? It is, undoubtedly, an ongoing and pressing desire to shape their businesses a certain way to ensure responsible behavior, preserving the natural environment for our children and standing up for the right cause. Meeting such ambitious goals is not possible without the right mindset, clear objectives and without sharing and cascading these to every single employee across the organizations. An implementation of new approaches, progressive strategies and new solutions requires a substantial change to our traditional thinking, calling for the open minds and diverse talents.

Today we will open a door for you to visit a global company, based in France, that scored among top 10 out of STOXX 600 companies in the EWoB Gender Diversity Index 2019. This is an opportunity to meet people who understand what it takes to lead a successful organizational transition while facing climate changes and social and geographical inequalities. Please, meet the members of SUEZ Leadership team: Isabelle Calvez/HR Executive VP Group, Camille Canuet/VP Group Inclusion & Diversity, Sabine Rous/Senior VP Group Internal Communication, Sophie Payenneville/Chief of staff of the HR Executive VP Group, Laurence Aureli /Chargée de mission to the CEO.

To reinforce the importance of sharing visions and long-term goals, SUEZ initiated a joint project of Group´s employees and stakeholders. Over the course of 9 months, 90 thousand employees participated in numerous workshops and discussions to jointly delineate the purpose of the company. Ultimately a strategic plan, Shaping SUEZ 2030, was developed setting a strategic goal for the SUEZ Group – to become a world leader in environmental services by 2030. Their strategic plan is based on four pillars, one of them being the CULTURE & HR, with the focus on developing the skills and talents fit for the new business activities, and empowered by shared values that bind all their 90 000 employees together, nourishing their winning spirit: Passion for environment, Customer First, Team Spirit and Respect. The last one leads employees to appreciate diversity of skills, personalities, backgrounds and also encourages them to be determined to fight the inequalities.

A clear strategic leadership with emphasis on the company culture and the company core values co-created with the employees, seems to be the right combination to make a successful move towards (not only) gender balance at SUEZ.
However, setting goals and strategies is usually just the beginning of a long journey. The operational excellence in executing on these involves thorough and candid measuring. One of the company’s KPI targets deals directly with the gender balance in the boardroom, clearly indicating there will be more women appointed as board members in the course of 2020 – growing from 41% in 2019 up to 53% women on board in 2020 (proving that gender diversity is a priority for the entire SUEZ Group).

What are the key tactics to achieve these challenging targets? SUEZ understands that to create strong non executive and executive boards, attracting new female talents (e.g. 50% of the shortlisted candidates for managers’ roles will be women) is not a sole problem-solver. It must go hand in hand with nourishing the existing talent pool, fostering equality in succession planning, eliminating the pay gap, defining well the future roles and tailoring relevant development programs to address those needs. Some of the specific actions promoting gender diversity also include supporting women networks, rewarding best practices with gender balance awards and organizing online conferences and training, publishing company views and insights on gender balance in a unique and popular way (humorous booklet, playcards, etc.).

By consistently pursuing its long-term strategy, by living the core values and specifically by performing actions to promote gender diversity, SUEZ can proudly declare to have developed a strong inclusive culture.

Although it would be difficult to measure the impact of gender balance specific activities in isolation from many other organizational developments, SUEZ Leadership team strongly believes in a positive impact of gender diversity: “A diverse workforce is a stronger, more creative workforce, able to create a mutually respectful and challenging environment, delivering value for employees, clients and the business”.

Finally, EWoB is pleased to share a set of useful hints from SUEZ with all of you, who want to join the change and achieve gender balance in decision making:

  1. Define your roadmap to achieve gender diversity with senior executive teams and board as Sponsors and together act as living examples
  2. Rely on a network of ambassadors in the field
  3. Work hard on culture and change with determination and persistence
    • ● Fight against stereotypes and unconscious biases (conferences, trainings)
    • ● Reward/valorise the best practices promoting gender balance.
In the name of all gender diversity enthusiasts, thank you, SUEZ Leadership Team, for sharing your valuable experience and insights.

Congratulations, SUEZ, for scoring among top 10 out of STOXX 600 companies,
it is an exceptional achievement.