On 28th September 2020, Sophie CRIQUELION and Jens DE BOECK organised the first Diversity & Inclusion International Meeting. It was a 2-hour digital meeting gathering Decathlon countries who are actively working on this topic to share their best practices and strategies. The team believed the diversity of this meeting itself should also be attained, so it was made open to externals. The meeting finally attracted 140 participants from 46 companies and countries respectively, including “competitors” such as Intersport.
From a local project to a global network
Sophie and Jens have been working on the Diversity Project in Belgium for 2 years and they realised the insufficiency of information and knowledge on this subject in the company. They aim to connect the network within and outside Decathlon to provide inspiration and empower each other to drive concrete actions.
Provide a safe house environment
Participants were greatly inspired and some Decathlon countries like the UK and Kenya decided to start their own diversity projects locally right after the meeting. Jens described it as a Safe House for all companies to get together. Since human projects are usually not considered as sales-generating or they give negative energy while striving for a change to the current situation, many companies do not value them. Companies who felt scared or alone before could now get together to regain encouragement and empowerment. They can work together to create a bigger impact on the community.
The meeting had a successful start, so the team decided to keep it running every two months. The second meeting is scheduled on 14th December 2020. It will also include external speakers to animate workshops. Flavia Monteiro, Product Manager from Intersport Group, is also invited to talk about how inclusivity is being improved by sports product design in her company.
In the long term, the team has an objective to change people’s mindset that diversity and inclusion can actually help business for value creation. It does not only focus on employees but also customers, as many of them nowadays connect themselves to the companies’ vision and values. Sophie also gave an example that the plus size market was first considered a niche in Belgium, but the data shows that 50% of the Belgian population is overweight and there is a significant market value. It reflects that companies have to reconsider carefully their personas and not neglect the potential customers.
“Being an inclusive company is saying to the teammates and customers that you are being seen.”
– Sophie CRIQUELION, Project Leader at Decathlon Belgium
Diversity & inclusion international meeting 1
Diversity & inclusion international meeting 2