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Why Diversity and Inclusion Matters to SES

Diversity Management
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Corporate
Why Diversity and Inclusion Matters to SES
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Evie Roos
Evie Roos, Chief Human
Resources Officer at SES

SES is committed to diversity and inclusion in every area. The Diversity Award Lëtzebuerg 2021, recently received by the company, recognises our efforts towards instilling diversity as one of the key values into the company culture. Evie Roos, Chief Human Resources Officer at SES, shares the hows and whys.

First, congratulations on receiving the Diversity Charter Lëtzebuerg award. For those that aren’t familiar with this initiative, could you give more background please?

In October 2020, we signed the Diversity Charter Lëtzebuerg – a Luxembourg country-wide initiative that has been making a huge difference on the Diversity and Inclusion front locally, over the past several years - as a commitment to promote diversity through concrete actions that extend beyond Luxembourg to all our offices worldwide. Winning the award less than a year after we have joined the charter is a great honour and a strong confirmation that we are taking the right steps as a company. And we aren’t stopping here.

Can you tell us more about SES’s Diversity and Inclusion initiatives that led to the award?

We received the Communication and Organisational Values award. With 2,100 employees from over 70 different countries, SES is intrinsically a diverse company. Since signing the Charter, we have taken additional steps to ensure that inclusion and diversity is an integral part of our company and the way we conduct our business.

Diversity at SES

At SES, we believe in doing the extraordinary in space to deliver amazing experience everywhere on earth. Making the world a better place is something that drives a lot of us at SES. We want to do this both within the company and for our customers. As such, we wanted our employees to take charge, feel empowered and drive changes from the grassroots. We’ve created three Equality and Inclusion Working Groups, with the aim of breaking down barriers and bias. These employee-led Gender, Ethnicity and General Working Groups have one key objective – which is to tackle diversity and inclusion in the broadest sense by contributing to our strategy. Our first groups, established last year, have come up with some great ideas which have now been handed off to the second groups, so they can further build on, develop and execute the initiatives.

Since these groups have been established, we have been getting a lot of concrete suggestions from our people about how we can increase awareness, create engagement, and promote a working environment that supports and encourages everyone equally. Some early success includes identifying ways to develop our talent pool, such as mentorship in the technology domains, and adopting an even more diverse and inclusive recruitment process. SES is an active participant in dedicated events and webinars, building links with a wider pool of women in technology. Most recently, we also introduced a “job analyser,” which helps with writing more inclusive job descriptions and reaching a more diverse talent pool.

SES is one of the leaders in our industry when it comes to providing outstanding services to our customers. Similarly, we intend to inspire the rest of the industry, by adapting more diversity into the way SES operates.  

How else are SESers engaging with Diversity and Inclusion?

We are encouraging and enabling our people to do their part in promoting inclusion and equality. For example, we have a colleague based in Africa who was inspired by Google’s #IamRemarkable initiative. She wanted to introduce this initiative to SES and encourage women and other underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements. She came to us with this idea, and we love it! Since then, in addition to her regular work, she has been running workshops to inspire others.  

We also celebrated our first Diversity Day last year where we had an external speaker and our own SES people telling their stories. Additionally, we celebrate other Diversity-focused months or days in the year so that our team members can come together to share their experiences and hear from others – both internal and external speakers. Among multiple employee-driven initiatives we have for example, the “Walk in my shoes series of videos”, where SESers are sharing their personal experiences about what Diversity and Inclusion means to them. We believe that by offering a safe space for shared experiences, we are encouraging SESers to bond and better understand where we all come from.

In addition, we also organise trainings to educate and inform SESers about Diversity and Inclusion.

What would you describe as a successful company?

We believe that diversity is a key driver of long-term progress. It is only by embracing differences, that we are able to attract a diverse and talented workforce - so important, as any company is only as good as its employees. More than ever, this year we are delighted to see that we are on the right track with adoption of the best Diversity and Inclusion practices within SES. As of end of 2020, 24% of SES’s workforce were women, which is well in line with the overall representation of women in the technology business. Our ambition is to grow this further, achieving 30% by 2024, through implementing additional initiatives and working towards increasing representation of women and other underrepresented groups at all levels in the organisation. Because strength is in diversity and learning from each other’s experiences. This is a solid foundation for a longer-term growth.

Photo credit: IMS Luxembourg