In 2021 the Italian municipalities of Novellara, Reggio Emilia, and the union of municipalities “Rubicone e Mare” were awarded an ICC intercity-grant to develop “Diversity Management approaches in the public-private partnership industry”, a project aiming to promote greater inclusion of employees from different backgrounds. After its very successful implementation, the project report contains all elements that will enable transferring to other public institutions the broad knowledge acquired and the methodological approach to a real inclusive diversity management in the workplace.
Diversity Management is a managerial practice that aims to maximise the potential of diversity in business and promote greater inclusion of employees from different social and cultural backgrounds in the structure of an organisation.
However, in many organisational contexts the diversity management practice is translated into simple declarations of intent, through standard communication and awareness initiatives, far from achieving effective inclusion and empowerment of the identity and of the experiential background of the workers. Besides, the predominant approach continues to be that of paying attention to vulnerabilities in a restorative perspective which, in some cases, may even strengthen the position of vulnerability, and inhibit workers’ recognition and valorisation of skills.
Public organisations are also concerned by this issue, but with more limitations and restrictions as they are subject to specific rules, in particular with regards to recruitment and career development processes. At the same time, as political bodies they can promote the topic in the public debate and incentivize companies they have contracts with, to adopt effective Diversity Management strategies.
The “Diversity management approaches in the public-private partnership industry” collected experiences and best practices at European level and analysed the approach of S.A.Ba.R., a company with a significant experience in Diversity Management, providing services to the municipality of Novellara.
The project showed that engaging diverse workers in the implementation of the diversity management strategy of the company, further enhance their potential as agents of change in their own communities. Companies that will be able to valorise workers’ diversity will also ultimately boost inclusion and a sense of belonging that – in return - will improve the company’s performance.