he IDAHOBIT 2021 slogan challenges us to rethink how everyone can feel included and valued in the workplace. Our Business Champions are leading the way toward a safe work environment where diversity is of the essence. As we join the fight against discrimination on May 17th, we should remember that stereotypes and prejudice must be battled every single day, thanks to continuous improvement of our choices and behavior.
May 17th is IDAHOBIT, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia. A reminder that the fight against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation is not over, IDAHOBIT also embodies the power of collective intelligence. It paves the way for a workplace where everyone’s input is valued and their well-being essential to the development of an inclusive culture within the company. If speaking up is becoming a regular practice and helping everyone to make their voices heard, the journey toward inclusion and diversity still calls for continuous improvement of our collective behavior and choices.
In order to strengthen the programmes already implemented by the Inclusion & Diversity team, new roles were recently created: the Business Champions. For each business area, the Business Champions design yearly objectives, based on the wider ones enacted for the whole group. Thanks to steady talks with their teams, the Business Champions are able to answer the employees’ needs and help them participate in the transformation of the company’s representation. With 13 Business Champions currently sitting on the Airbus Helicopters I&D Active Board, multiple initiatives are in the works to tackle the sources of discrimination in the workplace.
Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing
In 2021, IDAHOBIT’s theme came down to four words: Together: Resisting, Supporting, Healing. They can take on different meanings depending on our personal understanding of the slogan, but one thing is for sure: they embrace what every member of the company aspires to achieve through the I&D action plan of their business area. Jerome Combe, HO Product Policy and Strategy, says: “As a Business Champion, I believe it is crucial for us to see diversity in all its forms as a source of inspiration and growth. We shouldn’t deprive ourselves of the unique outlook every individual brings to the company.”
The IDAHOBIT 2021 slogan encapsulates what we have to accomplish in order for everyone to thrive at work. Just as we are pioneering sustainable aerospace in a safe and united world, we have joined the fight against discrimination to build more connected communities, while we all realise how much we miss being together to defend a common purpose. As a result, we must resist in the face of stereotypes and preconceived notions, or as Combe puts it: “Resist those who don’t respect our differences. When we need to hide because of these reactions, we waste so much energy. Our goal is to make sure it is smoothly redirected toward new ideas and projects within Airbus.”
As for supporting, according to Véronique Dalmasso, Aviation Safety & Quality Project Manager and Business Champion, it is the only way to ensure collective growth in all business areas: “We must bring our unconditional support to diversity in order to realise how strong it makes us.” When battling prejudice, we also shouldn’t forget that the wounds it inflicts need to be healed, so that those who were injured can show their true self to the world, without fearing other people’s reactions. Dalmasso added: “The consequences of these injustices have to be healed, so as to restore the transformational power of our differences.''
As a Business Champion, I believe it is crucial for us to see diversity in all its forms as a source of inspiration and growth. We shouldn’t deprive ourselves of the unique outlook every individual brings to the company.
Jerome Combe, HO Product Policy and Strategy
What’s next to build an inclusive and diverse workplace?
Our efforts shouldn’t stop after IDAHOBIT: discrimination must be fought at every turn to see the lasting effects of Inclusion & Diversity policies. Combe explains: “That’s why we need bold actions for IDAHOBIT: we must go further than just putting rainbow flags up on May 17th.” In addition to celebrating LGBTQ+ people’s uniqueness on that date, it is essential that we keep working on concrete ways to improve their well-being in the company. For example, as a means for each employee to realise how biases affect their decisions and behavior toward other people, multiple awareness sessions have been organized, dealing with unconscious biases and how to lessen their impact in the workplace. To contribute to the journey toward this ambition, the Business Champions are designing innovative means to build diverse teams and deepen solidarity between their members. Martin Werner, HO Central Operations, says: “People are different. And it is precisely this diversity that can help us develop new ideas and reach a common future.”
To support inclusive leadership through the application of Speak Up and Listen Up culture, each employee has to ask themself: what kind of change can I make to my business area, and more widely to our workplace, to guarantee that every team member can express themself and open up about how they feel at work?
Combe sums it up: “It is a great challenge for all of us. But in the end, what’s important is that we resist together and support each other, so that no one has to be healed again because of prejudice and discrimination.”