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Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

Bianca Koene, 15 maart 2023

Last week, at Acorel, we organised a really cool event on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion. How to become more inclusive as a person and how you can become a more inclusive organisation. Just the organisation of the event already created some really interesting discussions on the topic between the employees within our organisation. “Why do we need this event”, “I do not see we have any problems”, “by focusing on groups you just create exclusion”, etc…

But this event was not at all about fixing problems (if any), it was about creating awareness on the topic, as we have grown from a small company with little diversity, to a medium sized company with a lot more diversity then 20 years ago. As many other companies that are struggling to find the right talent in the Netherlands, we are now looking over the borders, so we have become more diverse in nationalities for example, but over the years we also got a better balance between men and women and we have for example hired more juniors (whereas in the past we were more focused on hiring senior talent). These are just a few examples of our diversity, because we have learned over the event that diversity could also be for example in chronic illness, being a parent or not, appearance and many more.

Our main guest speaker during the event, who I will quote in this blog a couple of times, was Madhu Mathoera ( She guided us through many interesting discussions without judging any opinions, which was really appreciated by the audience. Also, we had a really cool introduction from Stephan Horn, Scrum master at Stedin, who gave us a few really interesting examples of his own experience on diversity and inclusion during his life and career path.

So what did we take away?

“Diversity is being asked to the party” but “Inclusion is being asked to dance”! I found that really interesting. Because it is nice to be invited to come and work for a company in the Netherlands, but if your diversity characteristics are not being considered, you might feel excluded. At Acorel, we have made the step at the beginning of the year to make our formal language “English”. This is just one way how we want to ensure that all people that we have invited to our party, are able to join all our activities (being formal or informal).

The difference between Equality (equal opportunities) and Equity (fair opportunities).

capture dei

When you give the same assignment to a diverse group, for example “climb the tree” you immediately exclude quite a few ‘people’ in that group that might have the right talent but are not equipped to execute the assignment. Whereas, when you focus on the result, for example “get me the coconuts”, you will notice that there are different ways to get to the end result and you can attract the right talent to get you there.

Unconscious bias, by which we unconsciously exclude people.

We all have biases and they can be categorised in:

Madhu Mathoera advises us: “When you feel a click during a job interview, run away or ask different questions”. Because of the click, there might be a tendency to some kind of bias, that might lead you to ask this specific applicant different (less critical) questions then you would ask somebody you do not immediately feel a click with, but who might actually be a better candidate based on talent.

Different kinds of diversity

The complexity of customers and markets has changed. We are no longer bound to borders and Internet and Social Media has made customers and markets more diverse. Therefore, for an organisation, it is important to focus on different kinds of diversity, being:

In order to be able to respond well to diverse markets and diverse customers you need:

You need to become more inclusive as an organisation.

How to become more inclusive as an organisation

So what would be the advice to organisations to become a more inclusive organisation?


Finally, what we have learned, “Becoming more inclusive is a personal journey” and everybody does it at his/ her own pace. And that is ok!

Bianca Koene

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