“By raising awareness on the topic such as equality and respect we are creating a more inclusive and friendly and creative environment for all the employees.”
dr. Simona Topolinjak, podsekretarka, Mestna občina Ljubljana
Could you share with us some key milestones in the D&I journey of your company?
The Mayor of Ljubljana always emphasises that Ljubljana openly welcomes diversity, does not exclude difference and promote the preservation of social equality and basic human dignity.
In 2014 the City of Ljubljana established the certificate LGBT friendly that, with which we want to raise awareness of the LGBT issues. The private companies and public sector organizations that receive the certificate oblige themselves to:
- Better understand basic human rights of LGBT community;
- To create inclusive environment of LGBT co-workers;
- Raising awareness among the employees regarding the services provided for LGBT community;
The leaderships of the city administration were the first that went through the education to obtain the certificate.
In 2018 we have signed Diversity Charter.
In 2019 the City Council adopted the second Action plan for gender equality for the period 2019 – 2022 (First action plan was adopted for the period 2016 – 2018). The Action plan represents the city engagement for inclusive society of all genders. Action plan contains 8 priorities and goals for achieving gender equality within the city administration and among the general society. Also the coordinator for equal opportunities and her deputy have been appointed.
Currently the city is in the process of adopting a Certificate socially responsible employer. The city is also employing people with disabilities within the city administration. According to the law we are obliged to employ 12 people with disabilities (2% of all the employees). The city of Ljubljana is exceeding the quota given by the law.
On the basis of the agreement about the measures for the protection of employees from sexual and other harassment at the workplace, signed by the Mayor and the president of the worker’s union and was amended in 2009 and 2018, the Committee for the Prevention of Mobbing was established within the city administrations. The Committee has 3 members and is responsible to deal with reported cases of mobbing. There was also education held for the city administration leadership on the topic of mobbing.
What aspects of diversity management have the highest priority in your company?
The aspect of creating an inclusive and equal environment for all. Besides that, the proportion of women within the city administration is also seen in the leadership position. 72% of the administration leadership is represented by woman.
Which D&I activities have been implemented in your organization so far?
As already mentioned above the City of Ljubljana established the certificate LGBT friendly that, with which we want to raise awareness of the topic. The City council adopted an Action plan for gender equality for the period 2019 – 2022 and the city is in the process of adopting a Certificate socially responsible employer. Besides that, the city administration is promoting the use of inclusive language within the city administration and towards the public. The city is also promoting cooperation between different generations. Newly employed co-workers are given an introduction file the same goes for those co-workers that retire. In the administration newsletter (called URBAN) different stories of different co-workers are presented and highlighted regularly (the stories are about their hobby’s, personal activities etc.)
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by your sector in creating a diverse and inclusive workforce?
In our opinion one of the biggest challenges is how to attract more man to be employed in the city administration and how to harmonize professional and private life.
What business benefits do you see as a result of increasing D&I?
By raising awareness on the topic such as equality and respect we are creating a more inclusive and friendly and creative environment for all the employees.
Can you name three diversity challenges that companies have to pay attention to?
- Trying to provide inclusive working environment;
- Striving to achieve gender equality (by harmonizing the professional and private life, attracting more man to be employed in the city administration, etc.);
What do you do to convince your colleagues to see the value in diversity management, or even more to truly get them on board?
We believe that by being a role model in this issues will have the biggest impact among the employees and within the general society.
Any plans for the #EUDiversityMonth this May?
On May 17th 2021 we have organized a round table ‘Integration of diversity in the working environment’ in the City hall. The event was followed by presenting the LGBT friendly certificates to the recipients that went through the procedure of obtaining the LGBT friendly certificate in the last year. Besides that, we are constantly working on promoting and raising awareness on diversity.
This interview was produced with the financial support of the European Union (project Workplace Inclusion Champion WIC). Its contents are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.