Valuing all our people: interview with Magali Castano
Magali Castano, Senior Vice President People & Culture
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March 8 marks International Women’s Day. We are working hard on becoming a fully inclusive company and have ambitious plans to achieve this. Magali Castano, our Senior Vice President People & Culture, explains why diversity is one of our key priorities.
Q. How committed is Technip Energies to increasing gender equality and diversity?
Magali Castano (MC): Equality and diversity is something that we are very serious about. We recognize that we’re not yet where we would like to be, however we have a set of targets we want to achieve.
This is a journey that we are on and we intend to measure our progress through key performance indicators (KPIs). We want to be a company with a culture of inclusion and to see diversity represented at all levels and across all parts of the business, no matter where we operate or are located.
Q. What’s our progress to date?
MC: Almost 30 percent of the people in the company are women. That’s way higher than the average in our industry. However, when we look across the various functions we see that our performance in operations still requires improvement. Also, in senior positions, the figure is less than 20 percent. So again, we can do better.
We’re convinced that equality and diversity can bring value into our organization, whether it’s internally or externally. We know it brings innovation and creativity, and that gender diversity leads to other forms of diversity too. It’s not just about our reputation – we’re doing it because we believe it’s the right thing to do. We want everyone to reach their full potential with us and our actions need to reflect our words.
Q. So in practical terms, what needs to be done in order to achieve our goals?
MC: For me, it starts with recruitment. We need to bring in more women, so we’re setting hard targets right from the start. From this year, 50 percent of the young graduates joining us will be female. That’s going to be a challenge, because there’s a general shortage of women studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, but I’m convinced we can do it.
We will achieve this by engaging with our managers, recruiters and People & Culture teams, and translating our commitments into hard targets across the organization. We will also ensure that we create the right environment for people to develop themselves and we’re going to work on that very seriously this year.
Our passion for the energy transition will also bring in new talent. The nature of our industry is changing and because of demands from our customers we are now seeing an acceleration in this. The fact that we want to create a better future and a better world is a key message, and a very appealing one to young engineers.
Q. You’ve talked about gender diversity, but what other forms of diversity are important and what is being done about those?
MC: We have 15,000 employees representing more than 100 different nationalities. That’s great because this means we have a pool of diverse talents. We need to develop even more local talent and to have better representation across all our nationalities – that’s particularly true across top management roles.
We're a global company with a very international mindset, and we will focus on making this more visible, particularly in the leadership teams.
It is equally important to enhance the way we identify talent and how we encourage people to grow. You can’t change your management structure or leadership overnight, so it’s a long-term journey that starts with stronger succession planning, for example.
Q. As a company, we’re very committed to collaboration and to making sure that every employee is involved and has a voice. How will employees be engaged in our diversity program?
MC: Our environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria are really important to us and we want to get these right, so we’re taking time to establish our roadmap in 2021. The social part is about valuing our people, in particular by promoting a culture of fair representation, meaning diversity and inclusion.
We want to give our employees a voice in taking forward the ESG agenda. This year, we'll be holding focus groups so we can hear what our people think and then translate those thoughts into action.
We also have Employee Resource Groups in different parts of the organization, several Women networks, as well as BOLD (Black & Brown Organization for Leadership and Development) in the US. These groups are run by employees and are a very powerful forum to create open and collaborative dialogue, and to raise awareness of equality and diversity matters.
Q. You say that there’s still quite a lot of work to do on diversity. What progress would you like to see having been made within Technip Energies in, say, 10 years’ time?
MC: I’d like to see us having achieved diversity and balance to the point where it’s no longer a target to aim for. It’ll be like where safety or HSE is now – we will have achieved a significant level of maturity and it’ll be embedded in our culture.
Nevertheless, like for Safety, we will need KPIs to be able to focus on improvement, look at what we could do differently, and ensure that the situation continues to be monitored.
Q: All this sounds really ambitious. Should people be excited by this, and why?
MC: They should, because it means creating a different and a better workplace where we can all express ourselves more openly. It’s about looking at what inclusivity and diversity mean, and overcoming matters such as unconscious bias. Improving on this is a great leveler and it contributes to the wellbeing of all of us. It is also a way to unlock potential for additional creativity and innovation.
We want to be a leading company in many fronts and the journey to greater equality and diversity will have challenges, but it’s an exciting one for us all to be on. I’m certainly excited about it!