“Companies should first consider their part in social responsibility, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also to have diversity in their company, which brings new views, different opinions and expertise.”
David Ivanetič is the manager of the institute and travel agency Premiki, where he started working in 2017. He was working in the classical travel industry for the last 15 years, but in 2017 he decided to accept a new challenge and started working in the field of accessible tourism. As he was mainly working in classical tourism he found that accessible tourism is a very interesting and diverse field, which gave him a lot of motivation to research this field, as it is very unknown in Slovenia. He also realised that working with people with disabilities gives him great personal pleasure and that his work will hopefully lead to a more inclusive society.
1. Why and since when does your company believe and invest in diversity management?
We have been investing in diversity management from the beginning of our establishment in 2010. As an institute, employment centre and travel agency for people with disabilities it is our main goal and social responsibility to include them in the work process and provide them suitable travel options. With this activities, we strongly believe that our company has a great impact on social inclusion and that we play our part in creating an inclusive society.
2. What aspects of diversity management have the highest priority in your company?
The main priority is providing employment for people with disabilities and enabling our guests who have access requirements to travel. The main goal for the future is to provide new employment for people with disabilities, as we believe their employment is the most important factor in providing diversity in our company.
3. Which D&I activities have been implemented in your organisation so far?
The main activity is the employing people with disabilities, including them in the work process and educating them to work in the field of tourism. We also invest our resources in providing mentors, educating them and preparing them to work with our employees. We also work with a lot of organizations in the field of social inclusion and providing them with information, assistance and organisation of travel for their members/people with disabilities. We are very active in participating in EU projects, where we study the field of accessibility and inclusion and bring good practices from abroad and implement them in Slovenia. And the most important activity inside our company, and we think any company that works in the field of inclusion, is to promote diversity, tolerance and respect to all people, no matter the gender, disability, race or religion.
4. Many companies aren’t prioritising inclusion and diversity initiatives right now. Why should they reconsider?
Companies should first consider their part in social responsibility, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also to have diversity in their company, which brings new views, different opinions and expertise.
5. In your opinion, what tangible benefits does diversity bring to your company?
Firstly, the main benefit is employment of people with disabilities, which is very important for our social responsibility as an institute. And as we are also a travel agency for people with disabilities we can understand better their needs as we are working with them and they can give an insight on their views and needs. We also receive some financial benefits from the government which also helps the company to operate better, and we can fully focus on the inclusion of our employees in the work process. Also working with people with disabilities gives employees a different view on work and life in general.
6. Can you name three diversity challenges that companies have to pay attention to?
Firstly, in our case, everything we do has a slower pace, if we want to include all our employees in the work process, this sometimes can take a lot of time. Secondly, there are health issues when you are working with people with mental issues and there are sometimes a lot of days off. If you are working with, for instance with people with hearing impairment, it is sometimes difficult to communicate with them, but we found an easy solution, we learned the sign language.
7. What do you do to convince your colleagues to see the value in diversity management, or even more to truly get them on board?
It is very hard to convince someone who does not see the benefits that we mentioned above, and this is mainly connected with a mindset of a specific person. So we want to set a good example with our company and hope that others will see the benefits and follow.