Stephane Roy de Lachaise, Chief Administration Officer Michelin Central Europe: For us promoting diversity is not just about admitting that differences exist between people but celebrating them too

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For several years now our voluntary policy in this field has had a more ambitious objective: make diversity a performance driver. Even if it is very hard to make a correlation between performance and diversity, it has been proven that this alchemy is a su

Why and since when does your company believe and invest in diversity management?

In Michelin Romania work over 3.800 people of 16 different nationalities, covering 300 types of jobs so diversity is in the core of the company, one of the most important values even from the beginning. Respect for individuals, development, dialogue, passion and confidence are the basis of Michelin’s relation with its employees because for us promoting diversity is not just about admitting that differences exist between people but celebrating them too.

What aspects of diversity management have the highest priority in your company?

Even if our international presence requires we operate in a great variety of environments and diversity at Michelin has many different faces: the markets, customers, uses, suppliers, partners and more, within the Group we have selected four priority directions for progress: gender diversity, disability, age and cultural mix (nationalities).

Which D&I activities have been implemented in your organization so far?

First, within the Group is established fundamental principles and then in each country the local network translates them through actions relevant to a specific situation. 
For example, In Romania we’ve created a Regional Diversity Network, with correspondents in each site who share experience and engage employees in actions. Also, we’ve created dedicated Diversity Action Plan in each site, Employer Branding Projects, Seniors Study and Diversity Module to be introduced in the training programs for managers and employees.

Many companies aren't prioritizing inclusion and diversity initiatives right now. Why should they reconsider?

Companies that build diversity and inclusion into their teams usually achieve new ideas, more interactions between employees and, in the end, better business decisions. In fact, later studies show that companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially because varied teams are more innovative and perform at higher levels.

In your opinion, what tangible benefits does diversity bring to your company?

For several years now our voluntary policy in this field has had a more ambitious objective: make diversity a performance driver. Even if it is very hard to make a correlation between performance and diversity, it has been proven that this alchemy is a success, employees are more motivated, they feel a stronger sense of belonging and demonstrate greater professional commitment. So, in the end there is a competitive advantage: greater appeal as an employer, better knowledge of our markets, quality of the atmosphere at work, increased innovation capacity etc.

Can you name three diversity challenges that companies have to pay attention to?

I will resume to a main one: it is always a challenge to transform ideas and values into concrete actions. 
I think this is the most important one, the transition from a good strategy and ideas on a paper to a diversity of thinking, a change in mindset and a day by day involvement from everyone.

What do you do to convince your colleagues to see the value in diversity management, or even more to truly get them on board?

Due to our international exposure, everyone in Michelin is operating in a cultural mix and this helps all of us to be naturally involved. Fortunately, my colleagues are the ones who drive us to be more diverse, more open and more acceptant.


Interview by Dana Oancea