Diversity Employer Branding Initiatives in Europe

Let’s look at a few distinctive Diversity Employer Brands from some leading-edge companies in Europe. In “Uphold Your Diversity Employer Branding,” we discussed how a diverse employee base represents a larger pool of knowledge, perspective and expertise—thus leading to innovation as well as critical customer and product insights into demographic markets.

Interestingly enough, Diversity Management has taken hold in Europe over the past 10 years.  The European Commission (EC), the executive body of the European Union, encourages Employers to voluntarily put diversity management more firmly on their strategic business agendas and and has supported various activities in support of this.

The flags of the European Union

In fact, small to medium-sized enterprises (less than 250 employees) have recognized that Diversity Management is important for attracting new business and employees. A unique voluntary solution has arisen to address Diversity—-so-called “Diversity Charters.” These voluntary Charters are initiatives which help firms and public institutions tap into the power of Diversity; these Charters are founded on the principle that Diversity Management is a key performance indicator for companies.

The companies which sign up for a Diversity Charter commit/pledge to:

“promote diversity and equal opportunities in the workplace, regardless of race or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability and/or religion.”

There are currently eight countries where Diversity Charters operate: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden.

diversity employer brands

For example, Batisol, a small French tiling and flooring wanted a more diverse workforce. Sensing some friction between workers from very different backgrounds, the Director addressed workplace discrimination by instituting a full day of diversity training designed to address stereotypes and promote the benefits of diversity. The Scandic hotel group (Sweden) successfully worked with the local Diversity Charter and with Disability organizations in Sweden to encourage more disabled groups and individuals to stay at its Hotels.

And, consider the huge German firm, Adidas. Adidas reports to valuing diversity as a “competitive advantage for fostering motivation and ensuring organizational success and stability.” Incidentally, Adidas, is one of the companies that ranked in McKinsey’s top quartile in diversity and performance.

And in the case study, “McKinsey observed that Adidas senior leaders have designated diversity as a strategic goal and started building it into the guts of the organization and the company has set hard targets for increasing the number of women in management ranks (this effort is supported by numerous policies, including gender-balanced recruiting, child care assistance, and flex- and part-time work opportunities.” The case study goes on to state, “There are many reasons companies with more diverse executive teams should outperform their peers: fielding a team of top executives with varied cultural backgrounds and life experiences can broaden a company’s strategic perspective, for example. And relentless competition for the best people should reward organizations that cast their nets beyond traditional talent pools for leadership.”

Another example of European Diversity initiatives can be found at Sodexo. From the company’s website we discover that Sodexo views diversity and inclusion as a key development priority. Sodexo fosters a culture that embraces differences and celebrates unique talents.

And lastly at Coca-Cola, we notice a Company’s global diversity mission and nine business-resource diversity groups that are available to all employees coupled with ongoing diversity training and a Public Issues and Diversity Review Committee (with Board representation).

I believe these 5 diversity employer brands initiatives have a lot to teach us about global Diversity efforts and results. Given that the global workplace and customer markets are becoming more diverse every day, these firms have embraced the benefits deriving from Diversity. And I am particularly encouraged about Diversity efforts in Europe (where I lived for a while), given that the European Commission is encouraging Employers to voluntarily put Diversity Management “more firmly on their strategic business agendas” and is supporting various activities in order to achieve this goal.


John Torrance-Nesbitt Johnny Torrance-Nesbitt, MBA is an award-winning Global HR professional across several industries and with outstanding successes in Global University Relations, Employment Branding and Global Talent Acquisition, and Diversity Strategies. Photo Credit KoreanITTimes

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Johnny Torrance-Nesbitt Global HR Professional, Johnny Torrance-Nesbitt, MBA is an award-winning Global HR professional across several industries and with outstanding successes in Global University Relations, Employment Branding and Global Talent Acquisition, and Diversity Strategies.
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