#beboldforinclusion - Interview with Roberto Ravagnani
Today Europ Assistance is holding events across the company to discuss Diversity and Inclusion, as part of a wider initiative of the Generali Group #beboldforinclusion. To help us understand more, we spoke to Group HR and Communication Director Roberto Ravagnani for his thoughts on this day, what we are hoping to achieve and what will be success when measuring inclusion for Europ Assistance.
Roberto, can you explain a little bit about what Europ Assisance are doing today?
RR: “We are asking every one of business units to hold a special meeting, with employees and senior leaders, including the CEO, to speak about what inclusion means to us and how we can find ways to Europ Assistance a more inclusive place to work. We are a global company, there are similarities in some countries but the heart of inclusion is understanding differences and allowing teams the opportunity and trust to find the answers locally, with global resources, when needed.”
What does inclusion mean to you, personally?
RR: To me inclusion starts when you value a colleague’s differences. We have the tendency to prefer people like us and to think that what is normal to us is normal to everybody. This is not good, managers and organizations need to learn to understand, look for, sometimes recognise the unconscious biases that we all have. We should understand the value that different backgrounds, skills, genders and experiences bring to us as an organization and in wider life. It is a personal responsibility, one that sometimes leaves us vulnerable but requires an open mind and willingness to learn. I want to create an environment, as the HR director of the Group, where diversity isn’t just protected, which of course it should be, but also something that can thrive to bring us greater business results. At the end of the day, to me inclusion is probably more difficult than just diversity management. Inclusion means that we don’t just fulfil “participation quotas” but we create an environment where people with different backgrounds respect each other and are not penalised for being different than the majority, quite the contrary. It is a proven fact that diversity brings complexity but ultimately better results. Our work as managers is to ensure that, ultimately, we promote and retain the best people, irrespectively of their gender, background, nationality or any other personal trait.
What are your key priorities for areas to improve in Europ Assistance?
RR: First, we want to start the conversation. Today is a great opportunity for us to learn more about what our employees think, aligned to the recent results of our global engagement survey. We are also fully committed to the diversity and inclusion objectives of the wider Generali Group, and we will be contributing to achieve them. That said, Europ Assistance is unique in the lense of the Generali Group, we are younger, we are a very well balanced Group in regards to gender and international footprint. We must, of course, do more, and starting from today, we will share more about what we are doing, why and how. We believe that we should be bold for inclusion, and we will be.
Do you have any concrete examples or real cases in mind that could illustrate the Diversity & Inclusion topic within the EA group ?
RR: As I said, today, we want to start the conversation and explore deeper the opportunities that we have on such an important topic. However, I have a great story that I would be pleased to share with you.
Last April, a blind employee was hired to work at the front office of EA France. In order to welcome her in the best working conditions, the company had put in place dedicated materials to enable her to work as anyone else, such as a note pad, a specific mouse, as well as a speech synthesis.
She shared “I am very happy to be part of such a great company ! I have had a great onboarding and people were so kind to me. And thanks to their collaboration I feel totally integrated today within EA France”
I really like this great story which is in in my opinion, one among others, a real illustration of our caring motto which drives us in our daily work. It’s also a good starting point to raise awareness wider.