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Het is essentieel om iedereen te betrekken bij inclusie- en diversiteitsinitiatieven

Van Lanschot Kempen is a renowned name in the financial world and one of the oldest financial institutions in the Netherlands. Though we have been in business since the 18th century,  it’s essential to adapt to change with the times. And that’s reflected in our growing focus on workplace inclusion and diversity. Ibo Metz, head of HR, talks about our approach and ambitions.

“Having been in (fin)tech for years, I got used to working in highly international and diverse settings”, Ibo says. “I brought that mindset with me to Van Lanschot Kempen, and in the past few years we’ve been able to put inclusion and diversity firmly on the agenda.” Not only to attract and retain talent, he notes. Client expectations are also evolving, making these factors more important than ever. “Wealth transfers to the next generation, and hence to new clients. Those clients are more diverse, resulting in new profiles that our company needs to be mindful of and cater for.”

Apart from client considerations, Ibo is quick to stress that the wellbeing of their own staff is paramount. Being from a minority background himself, Ibo says it’s easier for him to see things from someone else’s perspective and what they have to contend with in the corporate world. And also that he feels a personal mission to build strong ties between diverse communities: “You can take a certain stance as an LGBTQI+ community, or stand up for something as a woman, or speak up against something as an ethnic minority, but the key is to recruit allies within the majority. If they understand where you’re coming from and see the benefits, you get traction.” To spread this mindset in the corporate world, the firm started working bottom-up, by deploying inclusion and diversity ambassadors. But, instead of women advocating for a female-friendly working environment or having a gay member of staff appeal to the LGBTQI+ community, “We actually asked colleagues in positions of influence to take an active lead. With their involvement, the policy then starts to resonate for the whole organization.”

This support has already borne fruit in quite a number of initiatives and networks, Ibo is happy to report. “A Pride community, - a Women’s network, a pay gap analysis, all kinds of external partnerships and collaborations (with Workplace Pride and WOMEN Inc for instance). But we try to do all these things in coordination and collaboration with our male colleagues.” This, and taking things one step at a time, is vital for getting the whole organization to embrace these themes, Ibo reasons, because “it’s better to spark something in the organization first before imposing it topdown. When you do that, people are more willing to get behind this important topic.”

This focus on inclusion and making space for a diverse pool of people is reflected not only in the workplace, but also in the firm’s employment conditions. Van Lanschot Kempen for example leaves employees free to choose when and how to use their days off (meaning they can also choose which holidays to celebrate) and all new parents get several weeks of ‘partner leave’. “Regardless of their situation, so we can support all settings in which a child joins a family.” Added to that, employees have the freedom to work hybrid. This gives flexibility to those who need it – for example due to family circumstances, or for internationals wanting to return to their home country for a while. “We support everyone who, for whatever reason, is looking for a more flexible set-up”, Ibo says. “In our industry, the forty-hour-workweek mentality can be pretty pervasive. But, as always, the best way to lead is by example. Our leadership is proving that it is possible to do it all in a way that feels right for everyone.” Bit by bit, Van Lanschot Kempen is becoming a progressively more inclusive and diverse company; a company that gives all of its people room to grow and to have impact in what they do. “At Van Lanschot Kempen our commitment to inclusion and diversity goes hand in hand with our ambition to contribute to a sustainable and more inclusive world.”

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