3 min

Advancing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Efforts through Inclusive Leadership

At Kiwa, our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI) are intertwined with our core company values — We ARE Kiwa: Ambitious, Reliable, and Engaged. These values form the foundation of all our actions and guide our leaders in fostering inclusive leadership. Additionally, our values strongly link with our parent company, SHV, emphasizing integrity, inclusivity, trust, curiosity, and passion.

Marrianne Groeneveld, Chief Human Resources Officer at Kiwa, offers her insights into DEI at Kiwa: “At Kiwa, we firmly believe that creating an inclusive environment is key to achieving true diversity — where all individuals feel welcome, supported, and given equal opportunities regardless of their differences and backgrounds. We are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace, evident through our specific DEI targets, ongoing initiatives, and, importantly, our core company values.”

Embedding DEI into our core strategy for lasting impact

“It’s important to highlight that we are also working towards rooting DEI strongly within our company’s identity,” says Marrianne. “What is more, our own people need to understand the purpose and strategy of Kiwa and how this relates to DEI. DEI must lead our purpose. Only then can it have a ripple effect and reach the hearts and minds of our people.

DEI Action Plan 2024 and goals 

Strong and actionable DEI objectives benefit teams and are crucial to company success. We have developed a DEI Action Plan for 2024 to strengthen our commitment to DEI within our organization and the wider community. This plan outlines actions and best practices to foster an equitable and inclusive culture aligned with our core values. It focuses on establishing a strong DEI foundation, promoting learning and development, enhancing recruitment, and prioritizing career growth. Key initiatives include encouraging open communication, ensuring fair compensation, supporting cultural knowledge training, and partnering with DEI-committed vendors. The plan will be reviewed and updated annually with our Diversity Taskforce to ensure its continued relevance and effectiveness. 

As part of this plan and in alignment with upcoming CSRD requirements, our goals include increasing female representation in senior management and achieving an overall gender balance, with targets of over 30% women employees and over 25% in senior management by 2030. Despite progress, women held only 15% of senior management roles in 2022, so to address this, as of 2023 already, we require women candidates to be included in shortlists for senior roles.

"The work I do as an HR Manager allows me to objectively look at our hiring practices to ensure we are removing biases from hiring, which includes removing barriers for under-represented groups, improving job descriptions, and moving toward skill-based interview questions. We always look for areas of improvement that may not be tangible but can still track progress (i.e., employee engagement and sense of belonging), consideration toward overlooked diversity such as age, bias against disability including mental health, and including a cross-functional DEI Committee to ensure that we have voices from all aspects of our organization." — Tracy French, Human Resources Manager, T2 Utility Engineers, part of the Kiwa group. 

Moreover, our company supports the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 5, ‘Gender Equality.’ We offer certification to the UNI/PdR 125:2022 standard to eliminate gender discrimination, extending our influence on gender equality to our customers. Regarding nationality diversity, we aim to have at least two nationalities represented in our Executive Board and Extended Executive Council, a target met in 2022 and 2023. 

Furthermore, our DEI policy and comprehensive 2024 Strategy Plan support our gender-oriented goals together. We also have a DEI task force that meets monthly to ensure consistent focus and progress and regular feedback loops, including Pulse Surveys, to measure and monitor DEI efforts. We have created a shared calendar of important events and a Monthly DEI Minute Newsletter featuring employee contributions.

“Our efforts are part of our broader strategy to integrate DEI principles into our corporate culture and daily operations. Small actions like translating information to accommodate local teams can make a big difference in fostering a strong and inclusive company culture,” states Marrianne.

The role of managers in fostering DEI for organizational success

“We all know that having a plan is one thing, but ensuring its implementation is another,” furthers Marrianne. “Management has the influence to facilitate and encourage DEI to reach all employees. It is important to organize DEI training courses and initiatives, but it starts with inclusive leadership and with management driving and promoting DEI to create a tangible difference.”

Tracy believes DEI should be a continuous process focused on inclusion and belonging, embedded in the culture: “Business unit leaders should have objectives for diversity in representation (hiring, promotions) and inclusion/belonging based on employee experience. DEI is not just an HR initiative.”

Rashi Mor, Consultant in Hydrogen and Energy Transition at Kiwa Technology, followed our leadership development program last year, where each participant pursued their own project: “My project focused on women at Kiwa. We see more women in some departments and very few in others. The gender gap is more evident in management and higher management levels. When it comes to diversity, there is still a lot to do, and hopefully, we can do some fruitful work this year. Last year, I discussed my ideas with a colleague, who then asked if I would join the DEI task force at Kiwa, to which I agreed. Going forward, I would like to see workshops organized on diversity topics like unconscious bias and understanding different viewpoints. There is less awareness on the work floor about this. We need to spend more time and energy talking about diversity, not just through blog posts we read online but also through more personal interactions.”

Becoming better, together

“I’m excited about the possibilities of DEI — diverse and inclusive teams offer perspectives and ideas that homogeneous teams cannot,” states Marrianne. “Placing people at the heart of everything is imperative to our journey forward. This aligns with the Kiwa Leadership Profile, which unites us through shared values and behaviors, putting people first, inspiring ambition, nurturing a positive culture, and ensuring future readiness. By fostering diverse perspectives and encouraging initiative, we can shape a culture that values everyone and drives excellence and sustainable growth.”

Tracy explains, “For example, at T2 Utility Engineers in Canada, our next steps are developing a tailored approach to DEI by continually evaluating and adjusting our efforts to meet the needs of our employees and communities. This may include customized initiatives like community partnerships and memberships with DEI-driven organizations. In our male-dominated industry, we can educate under-represented groups, such as women in engineering or trades, to bolster their job entry and promotion."

“DEI is crucial as we work toward creating an enriching experience for all employees,” concludes Tracy. “It allows us to learn, expand our worldviews, and examine biases. People drive our company’s success, and recognizing and celebrating our differences in a safe and inclusive manner benefits both individuals and the collective. And this can be achieved when we place a strong emphasis on inclusive leadership.”

Read more about our DEI goals highlighted in our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Report 2022.