With Solvay One Dignity, we announced our commitment to create a diverse workplace where each and every Solvay employee can bring their whole selves to work. To do this, we must achieve inclusion and equity first. As our CEO, Ilham Kadri, has often explained: “rather than targeting diversity figures, we’ve decided to focus on building equity first and creating the right inclusive environment to attract and retain diverse talent.”

Diversity is about retaining and nurturing talent 

“Attrition rates are much higher among diverse groups,” Nathalie van Ypersele, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, explains. “For example, only 29% of Solvay hires are women, and still more female than male employees leave. It’s not enough to just focus on the attraction of diverse talent, you also need to provide that talent with an inclusive and equitable environment where they can be their true selves.”

OK, but why should this be a strategic priority at Solvay? 

Diverse work forces have been proven to substantially influence business results. Different perspectives and experiences allow businesses to become more adaptable and resilient, which increases chances to capture new markets by 70%. Diversity on the work floor also positively impacts employee productivity. Gender-diverse companies are said to be 15% more productive, while racially and ethnically diverse organizations climb up to 35%, which in turn boosts innovation 1.7 times. Needless to say, diversity is also a key driver behind increased business revenue, upping gains 1.4 times. All by retaining diverse talent.

The Business Case for DEI infographic

Time to get to work 

“I see diversity [at Solvay] picking up, we are getting more diverse in race and gender,” Olu Temowo, HR Business Partner of Chemicals North America says. “But I would say that our evolution when it comes to inclusion has been very subtle. We’ve had too many one-off celebrations, but not many ongoing situations. We need to make sure that this becomes a movement as opposed to a moment.”

With Solvay One Dignity, we are getting to work to drive inclusion and equity across Solvay. If each of us – regardless of background, identity or orientation – feels respected, welcomed, heard and valued, we will be more engaged, more innovative, and as a consequence, we will all perform at our best. 

“To do my part, I am making sure that I bring my whole self to work by being my authentic self, by becoming comfortable with having the uncomfortable conversations, and by recognizing that we are different, but that we also have loads of similarities to tap into,” Olu explains. “This is about all of us. If we get more intentional about it, we can do it.”

Diversity is the bottom line 

Diversity is not just a statistic to strive to, it should be the bottom line of every business.

“Equity and inclusion are the building blocks for diversity. By making sure we’re an equitable and diverse company, we not only attract the best and diverse talent, but also retain them,” Nathalie van Ypersele concludes. “If we focus on equity and inclusion to create long-term results and a sustainable work environment for all, diversity will surely follow.”