KPN Diversity Days 2020 wit

06 October 2020 - The company

Being yourself works!

Today is Diversity Day. In the next four days at KPN we will be focusing on the benefits of differences. With online events for all employees so as to learn more about diversity, inclusiveness and human differences. The aim is to give everyone the opportunity to go deeper into the issue, so that we can grow into a company in which everyone can be themselves. After all, inclusiveness is for all of us. We talk with Hilde Garssen, Chief People Officer at KPN, about how important being yourself is and why we work on diversity on a daily basis.

What is the aim of Diversity Day?
"Diversity is for all of us. There are plenty of reasons for working on diversity and inclusiveness. It fits in with KPN and our responsibility to allow everyone to take part. By embracing differences, everyone can use their talents to the fullest. By respecting one another for what we are and why we are unique, we become a stronger team. That is the aim of Diversity Day, the day on which the whole world focuses on diversity and inclusiveness."

Why is diversity so important?
"Diversity makes our organization ready for the future. Teams with a diversity of members perform better, can respond better to changes and make well-founded decisions. And working in a diverse team is also simply more fun. We believe that if we cooperate in networks, we can help one another, inspire one another and offers career opportunities. That’s why KPN has diverse networks – which together form a diverse network behind the network of colleagues. Where everyone can be themselves, because being yourself works."

"Diversity makes our organization ready for the future. Teams with a diversity of members perform better, can respond better to changes and make well-founded decisions. And working in a diverse team is also simply more fun too."

Hilde Garssen, Chief People Officer at KPN
Hilde Garssen

What is the ratio of men to women at KPN?
"When diversity is mentioned people’s first thought is often gender diversity: the ratio of men to women in our organization. We at KPN consider that important as well and we aim to achieve specific percentages in that ratio. It has been agreed both by the Board of Management and by the Supervisory Board that 30% of their numbers will be women – and that target has been achieved. In some departments this has to be improved, so we will focus on that in the time ahead, including via a special women’s network, which is being launched today: Women@KPN."

What forms of diversity will you also be paying more attention to?
"We believe in the power of ‘cultural diversity’: this is one of the reasons for the recent introduction of Kleurrijk KPN, a network in which we talk with one another about different backgrounds and discuss the rituals, preferences, interests and customs associated with them. That leads to understanding and respect for one another. In addition, we have KPN Pride, where everyone can be themselves. You are always welcome, whether you identify as LHBTQI+ or are LHBTQI+-friendly. In fact, diversity relates not only to culture, physical appearance or preferences. You can be different because your brain works differently: neurodiversity. Needless to say, at KPN we come across colleagues of all brain types.

And finally, we actively support people with a disadvantage on the labor market. Through ‘Sociaal Ondernemen’, every year we train a class of around twenty people via our on-the-job learning company. After a year of solid training in combination with work experience at KPN, these people can approach the labor market again with confidence – both inside and outside KPN."

What is your message for all KPN employees this week?
"Each of us is unique. Differences should not set you apart, they are to be embraced. Discuss your opinions or experiences with one another and learn from each other’s different viewpoints. These are not just fine words, by the way, but are actually laid down in the KPN Company Code."

"Each of us is unique. Differences should not set you apart, they are to be embraced. Discuss your opinions or experiences with one another and learn from each other’s different viewpoints."

Hilde Garssen, Chief People Officer at KPN