Many organizations have ramped up their efforts to improve the working situation for women, minorities and all employees. Especially in the past years with the rise of women’s movements against discrimination, in and outside the work sphere, the interest in gender issues has become a focal topic for all business. This is the reason why we have invited Putri Realita to this edition of the “Career Success Podcast” so she can shine some light on what today’s diversity and inclusion efforts look like and how it can help any organization
Putri Realita is leading the Diversity & Inclusion program globally at Danone. She started this role at the Danone HQ in Paris in May 2016 and has initiated D&I at global level and deployed it into 30 clusters in 5 different regions.
Before joining the global team in Paris, Putri worked at Danone Nutricia business in Indonesia as Head of Regulatory & Corporate Affairs, and before that she held various roles in Corporate Affairs, CSR & Communications at British American Tobacco in Indonesia & Malaysia. In her various roles, she always has a passion in cultural transformation, especially for changing people’s mindset and ways of working. She studied at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, majoring in Biotechnology. Since February 2019, Putri has joined the Education Committee of the LEAD Network, intending to contribute to transforming people’s mindset through education for the LEAD Network’s members.
She is a proud Indonesian who enjoys yoga and exploring the world, together with her German husband, Christian. So far, she has visited 52 countries and still counting.
On this Podcast we cover:
- What is D&I and how to define it?
- How does the Danone D&I Program work?
- What is her motivation?
- What things still need to get done and improve?
- Advice for companies in early stages of their D&I programs.
For further information on Inclusive Diversity at Danone please go to https://iar2018.danone.com/performance/extra-financial-performance-towards-danones-2030-goals/entrust-danones-people-to-create-new-futures/
Hi! I’m Lauren Stibing and welcome to this episode of the “Career Success Podcast”. Joining us today is Putri Realita who’s leading the Diversity and Inclusion Program globally at Danone. D&I can be a big and scary topic and Putri will help us pin point why diversity and inclusion is important and how it can help your organization. Welcome Putri!
Thank you, Lauren thank you for having me here with you today!
Yes, thank you for joining us. And I just like to start, as I was mentioning in the introduction, that diversity and inclusion is a very broad topic or at least that’s how I see it, maybe you’ll tell me otherwise, and I was wondering how you actually define D&I?
Well for me, Diversity is a fact, is a fact that each of us is different and unique in our own way, but inclusion is a choice so every individual has a choice to be inclusive. I see that diversity can be achieved through policies and KPIs, such as recruitment policy, talent review policies, but inclusion is delivered through individuals, you and me, through our behaviors every single day. During my first year in this role someone told me about an easy way to remember D&I and said something like: “diversity is inviting people to a party and inclusion is asking them to dance together”. So, I think this is a perfect way to illustrate how diversity and inclusion has to be mentioned or has to be done together at the same time
And how does Danone see diversity and inclusion? I know from speaking with many different people in many different companies, that it can be seen in very different ways.
Yes, I agree that D&I is a very broad topic and it is very important to have a clarity on what D&I will bring to the company. In another word what is D&I business case. In Danone we call it Inclusive Diversity as we believe in the importance of inclusion, as without inclusion diversity will not bring any advantage for business. And I think for us Inclusive Diversity is a key driver to achieve our big ambitions. This is also aligned with our new “One planet, One Health” vision to really fully embrace the Food Revolution and to help a more sustained more healthy eating and drinking habits globally. We truly believe that Inclusive Diversity will drive this in three different ways. So, first is by creating an inclusive environment: we want each employee to have a voice so they can co-create and co-own the company’s agenda. We are doing this with our “One Voice Program”, where we did a survey to our employees globally asking their feedback about our 2030 company goals. Also, second, we believe that Inclusive Diversity will definitely create high-performing teams that are more innovative and more highly engaged and that will drive our growth not only as a business but also as teams and as individuals. Third one, is that we believe that Inclusive Diversity is not only good for our people but also for our brands. And as we believe that our brands need to have purpose, a brands purpose, and Inclusive Diversity could be one of the big purposes our brands can stand for. For example, we have our water brands in Mexico and Spain It’s called Bonafont and Fontvella which both stand for gender equality whatever the brand speaks through their communication or activations it will stand for gender equality. And so, for Danone Inclusive Diversity is both a lever for people and business.
And what really motivates you to do this role?
Yes, there is a kind of personal story behind. Personally, I really live Inclusive Diversity by being married to a German husband, now living in France, I also studied in Australia. I personally really believe the more you are open to new things, the more your mind and heart will be open to innovative ideas. There is also a personal story when I started my career maybe in my first year of the career, it was my previous company. I used to be an operations Department before we used to have this Head of Operations, he is Sri Lankan and he always liked to include different kinds of people and his team. At the time there was a big project in the factory, and he asked the questions to the kind of the operations board who the best person is who can do this project. At that time, I was Management Trainee, people who just graduated enjoying this management associate program, a fast track career program. Everybody either said my name or another colleague of mine who was also in the Management Training Program and his question was would was very interesting he asked back who do you think will not do this project well. So, the team was confused by this question, but they started mentioning some names and he decided one of the names, ok, let him do this role. Let him do this project and let him report to me in this project. There was a very big shift in the mindset of the team and this person managed to do the project very well and this is the bias he broke as a team leader and thought outside of the box. So, this is what motivated me to take this role.
And what things have you seen that have worked for Danone and things that you have seen that haven’t worked for Danone?
In Danone, we believe that the D&I needs to be approached and driven both bottom-up and top-down. At Danone, we first built a bottom-up movement, you’ve seen the power of our people to have a voice and it has been amazing to see how this can drive the topic in an authentic way. Using this bottom-up feedback we co-create the global road maps and we ask the people what they want to focus on at Danone, and we want to focus on three things until 2020: so it is gender balance, cultured nationality and inclusive behaviors with clear KPI’s for each of this. And then the next step is to deploy it in two branch approach: first, is by function for Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance etc. Because we believe that each function has a different need in terms of what kind of diversity they need within the function. And also, another approach is by clusters, so the cluster is a region or countries. We ask each function to build their functional road map and each cluster to build their cluster road map. For example, there is a sales roadmap, operations roadmap… for inclusive diversity. And there is also China’s Inclusive Diversity, Mexico, Italy, etc. This approach works so far, people feel the ownership about their own road map and KPI’s and they also like this approach because it is relevant with our local context.
And what do you think it still needs to be done, or where is Danone in their journey?
Of course, we’re not there yet we’ve just started three years ago and we need to make it sustainable, so this is the biggest challenge. This should be done by really creating a clear governance that puts clear rules and responsibilities for everybody. When I say everybody is mostly engaging Middle Management: to make it really clear to them what is expected of them in a simple way. Because, yes we have to engage the Top Management and I think it’s much easier to engage the Top Management, in this case CEO, the Comix, etc. And then engaging the Middle Management because you know the Middle Management are the people who have business pressure from the top and also pressure to manage a team, so they really need to grasp the topic in a simple way that they can contribute that they can use it to help them have a better team and a better job in their roles. Therefore, through trainings or regular contact during teams meetings so you know like a 5 minutes at the beginning of meetings we ask people to do inclusion to the woman’s and this really helps bring the topic to the table because Inclusive Diversity doesn’t really ring a bell and it can mean different things to different people and that’s okay to have different understandings in this. Therefore, in the world of Champions with the bottom-up approach, we have 200 Champions globally and these Champions are by functions, so they are not only HR but also coming from the other functions from like Sales, Finance, etc. And they are the ones who helped shape the conversations and teams so the conversation should have what does it mean to have an inclusive leader. For example when you recruit, when you develop people, when you review performances, when you are a meetings with your team, when you’re expected to come with new ideas so this kinds of scenarios, we identify this scenarios and together with a Champions we develop short videos or short anecdotes that they can use to bring the topic to the table.
And for those companies who are in the early stages of D&I what advice would you give to them?
First of all, when you’re working at D&I because it’s diversity and inclusion, we need to make sure that our approach to D&I is inclusive is not top down because then if D&I is only top down, I mean we do need top down commitment, but it also has to be inclusive. So, it’s very important to involve people and co-build with them on what and how they think we should address D&I in the company.
Second, I think benchmarking is very important because we did a lot of benchmarking before we started. So, we know where the companies are and it would give us a picture of where we want to be.
Then third, engaging the Top Management in this case you CEO, Comics…
Forth, build a clear governance and provide opportunities for people to contribute in this process.
And last but not least, we should deploy it in an inclusive way because different countries have different priorities. For example, gender might not be a topic in Russia or China and they must be allowed to focus on other topics for example in China they focus on young talents, on how to improve young talents into the conversation, for example. What we need to do is to give frameworks but make sure we give freedom for the local teams to own their programs based on their local contact
Ok, well Putri thanks so much for joining us in the “Career Success Podcast”
Thank you, I hope this was useful.