People

Our commitment to diversity

By Sian Hughes
March 08, 2021

Today Knauf Insulation is celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD). By supporting IWD we commit to challenge bias, ensure gender equality and nurture a culture inspired by diversity and inclusion (D&I).

The theme of International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge and at Knauf Insulation we are at the start of a journey to challenge ourselves to be even more inclusive and build on the diversity that has made the company such a success.

For every woman working at our company we aim to offer equal opportunity based on talent. But we realise that this is not enough. That is why we have committed to strengthening our diversity through dedicated strategies and actively celebrating the differences that make us unique by creating a more inclusive work environment.

The business case for diversity and inclusion is clear. It improves innovation, productivity and reduces turnover. The moral case for diversity is indisputable, we all deserve respect, whoever we are. And we all deserve to be the best possible versions of ourselves at work — we are happier that way.

Our new D&I Working Group is now working to make this happen. We could not wish for a better launch platform than International Women’s Day.

Here is what the members of our group have to say:

David Ducarme, Group Chief Operating Officer: “Our commitment to diversity and inclusion (D&I) reinforces our values of challenge.create.care. We are committed to creating a workplace where we all can thrive, whoever we are, and inspiring a culture of inclusion and innovation that will drive future business success.”

Frédéric Deslypere, Group Chief Financial Officer: “There are so many business cases that demonstrate the importance of diversity to the financial bottom-line. At Knauf Insulation one of our key priority areas is innovation and this is where diversity is a huge strength. Diversity inspires greater innovation, creativity and engagement. And a wide range of experience, backgrounds, expertise and insight obviously translates into a significant company asset.”

Lisa Flaherty, HR Resources Director, Northern Europe: “Part of our strategy is to be a Great Place to Work for all our People. To achieve this ambition I am committed to diversity and inclusion. I want all our employees to be equally supported, valued and enabled to achieve their true potential. A diverse culture in which we all thrive fuels creativity and allows success for all.”

Siân Hughes, Group Director HR & Corporate Affairs: “We are definitely seeing more women going into management, engineering and production roles across the business. This is brilliant. But if we are honest with ourselves the route to get there is not always easy and it can be really tough to be the only woman at the table. I see diversity in the same light as our approach to safety — it has to be absolutely everywhere. And just like safety, it takes careful nurturing and active strategies.”

Asif Dar, Systems & Services Development Manager, Northern Europe: “Why am I committed to diversity and inclusion and gender parity at Knauf Insulation? Because I believe that all our company values can be easily linked to D&I. And because I believe Knauf Insulation will strive to deliver an industry best D&I workplace. Above all, I feel personally obliged to engage with this rich aspect of life so I can learn more about myself, my colleagues, our business and people in general. I then want to take these learnings and apply them to my day-to-day work as much as possible in a way that nurtures positive growth.”

James Bedford, Market and Product Portfolio Manager, Asia Pacific: “The equal empowerment of men and women is one of the single greatest drivers for human prosperity and the APAC region is fully committed to continue Knauf Insulation’s pledge of gender diversity and inclusion. In commemoration of IWD, we should all take a moment to acknowledge the sacrifices and hard work of the women in Knauf Insulation and in the broader community.”

Katja Pruša, HR Director, Systems Division: “I am committed to diversity and inclusion at Knauf Insulation because I believe our uniqueness is powerful and it’s the source of our innovation. I want to co-create an environment and culture where we feel safe to speak up and offer our opinion and ideas, where there are equal opportunities and treatment for everyone and where diversity is carefully nourished. To put it simply, an environment where we can truly be who we are. We know diverse teams and organisations can achieve high performance, but only if there is inclusiveness that enables this diversity to come to life. I am committed to help leaders at Knauf Insulation to understand the power of diversity, build inclusive leadership and create an organisation where people feel they simply belong.”

Magdalena Pyszkowski, Group Market Manager and Head of Non-Residential: “I believe that a company's culture should be built on a community of values, respecting different opinions, different attitudes and different origins. Even our communication should be based on the language of inclusion and respect for otherness. Meanwhile, involuntary associations cause unconscious bias in our subconscious, working in both directions: to create a bias that can be negative or favourable. For instance, in some work cultures, strong women may not be liked while a strong man will be seen as ideal leadership material. If we learn about the mechanisms of involuntary associations and work with them in everyday behaviour in the company, we will have a better chance to prevent harmful stereotypes and enable all employees — regardless of gender, age or origin — equal opportunities for development and career advancement. This is what I wish for myself and our company on International Women’s Day.”

Ondrej Sramek, Corporate Affairs Director, Eastern Europe: “Diversity, inclusion and gender parity make good business sense in terms of productivity, innovation and a positive company culture, but fundamentally on a human level, working in diverse teams is always more fun and more exciting.”

Jeroen Verweij, General Manager Benelux, Western Europe: “It is paramount that we create and nurture a working environment in which everyone feels welcome and where everyone’s talent is valued — regardless of background, gender, religion, education or lifestyle.”

Jane Curran, Commercial Support Manager, Northern Europe: “It’s well known that better decision making comes from a diverse workforce. However, diversity without inclusion means untapped potential for individuals and for the business lost opportunities. Having an inclusive workplace enables everyone to achieve their potential, strengthening both personal and business performance. I believe it’s a vital moral and business investment.

I choose to challenge in order to strengthen our working environment further, it’s important people feel a sense of belonging and are empowered to give their best every day. We must continue to evolve and together we can accelerate progress to become future fit and be ready to better support others by providing an inclusive working environment where everyone can thrive, not only for today but for generations to come.”

Yaprak Nayir, Sustainable Product Support, Central team: “Being committed to diversity and inclusion means understanding that everything and everyone is different and empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different. As humans, we are all part of a society which celebrates the beauty of these differences and grows with them. We are nurturing D&I in Knauf Insulation and I could not be more proud to be part of this continuous effort.”

David Liebermann, Plant Manager Bernburg in Germany, Central Europe: “I am convinced that we have performed at our best and have achieved better results when we have faced challenges together as a team. All opinions in the team matter and need to be heard, so that we can make better decisions together for a better world. If we care to ensure everyone in the team will challenge, we will create more value.”

Pascale Bruwier, Central Purchasing Manager: “I believe diversity and inclusion shape a better, brighter and more enriching future for everyone. It is vital each person is valued and recognised for their own merit regardless of gender, ethnicity, age or beliefs. Being able to evolve within a professional environment which fosters these values is inspirational and provides me with a sense of purpose within Knauf Insulation.”

Oleg Gorun, Plant Manager Tyumen in Russia, CIS: “Diversity and inclusion and gender parity in Knauf Insulation support my values and beliefs. An organisation inspired by D&I will not only thrive and deliver better results in a volatile world, it will also create an environment of trust, support and equal opportunity.”

Christoph Gmeilbauer, Head of Customer Service Center Austria, Central Europe: “International Women’s Day (IWD) is a reminder that when it comes to opportunities and rights, women are not treated equally to men in a lot of cultures and businesses. That has to change. Even the fact that there is a day called Equal Pay Day shows us something is fundamentally wrong in terms of equality. IWD is an opportunity for all of us to show our commitment to diversity and inclusion and gender parity.”

 

Picture in the header: resources shared for #IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge by https://www.internationalwomensday.com/