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Values Driven

– This Much I Know with Jesper Diget, Group Chief People Officer, emagine Consulting

The HR World speaks to industry leaders about their careers and life – what advice would they pass on and what wisdom brought them to where they are now.

Jesper Diget, Group Chief People Officer at professional services and solutions firm, emagine Consulting, believes in reinforcing company values to ensure it retains the best people.

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16 November 2023

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Jesper Diget, Group Chief People Officer, emagine Consulting

Jesper Diget, Group Chief People Officer at professional services and solutions firm, emagine Consulting, believes in reinforcing company values to ensure it retains the best people.

Increasing our attractiveness as an employer alongside taking our ESG efforts to the next level has been emagine’s goal over recent years. We have made it our mission to prioritise our ESG initiatives firm-wide to become an employer of choice and, by doing this, retention within the business has significantly improved. This will continue to be a focus for 2024. Being perceived as a company that continues to stay ahead of the curve with initiatives that directly impact employees and contribute to their wellbeing will ensure we retain a talented workforce.

People first

People buy from people, and people want to work for people. Therefore, your employees should always come first. And making a difference to people’s lives should no longer be an afterthought, but an organisational imperative.

Maternity and paternity leave, bereavement leave, mental health policies, and even dress codes, need to be in line with modern day standards. Not only do these changes attract the best people, but they make sure they are retained too. ESG-focussed initiatives, such as a promise to utilise green energy across all emagine’s offices, has been appreciated amongst our employees and, in 2023, we introduced a sustainable procurement and travel policy of using only electric vehicles.

Culture is crucial

ESG has assumed a much more prominent position in emagine’s everyday operations and business initiatives, and in our overall strategy and policies. The structure of our company is based on Nordic leadership, with a flat hierarchical model and a significant emphasis on empowering each individual employee. This is something we have striven for in the past, and continue to do every day, by applying measures that support this vision.

Maintaining an exceptional workplace is essential. High levels of employee involvement are linked to motivation, empowerment, and ultimately better results. Respecting employees and providing them with a safe, secure, and healthy working environment is a key priority for us. Like I said, people come first, and once you master culture and environment, everything else begins to fall into place. Furthermore, when you start showing the positive results of your ESG strategy to clients and employees, trust and transparency unfolds.

Give employees what they want

We put a lot of effort into educating our employees about the importance of cybersecurity, following requests for training, and we hold regular, mandatory data-privacy courses for all our employees to ensure they are at the top of their game.

Today, ESG compliance is increasingly demanded of businesses, and this demand comes not only from clients and external stakeholders, but also from our employees.

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On their behalf, it’s important to being a socially and environmentally responsible organisation.

Benchmark your progress

EcoVadis is the world’s largest and most trusted provider of business sustainability ratings, with a network of more than 100,000 rated companies across the globe. Its methodology is built on international sustainability standards, tracking performance across the four themes of environment, labour and human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement. EcoVadis assessments are evidence-based with an emphasis on documentation and transparency.

As the firm grows, especially geographically, it naturally becomes more complicated to incorporate sustainable practices universally. For example, we have made six acquisitions in the past three years and every new operation needs to be audited and aligned with our ESG policies and practices, including how the offices are powered, the suppliers we use in each market etcetera. We completed a rigorous audit to analyse our use of energy across the business and have made it our mission to cultivate strong partnerships with suppliers who share the same values as us.

Recognising the importance of ESG at top level, we have been steadily working towards integrating sustainability into all aspects of our operations, from recruitment to the partners we work with and our procurement practices. This pursuit of sustainability is an integral part of our strategy at emagine and we were proud to be awarded an EcoVadis silver medal earlier this year. Our employees also appreciate the fact that they are working for a company that cares about the impact it has on the world around us.

Commit to continual improvement

The EcoVadis assessment is highly regarded by our clients and other stakeholders we interact with, which is why we were keen to build on this journey. Continuous improvement is key to the pursuit of responsible practices, and EcoVadis provides feedback on where improvements could be made to support rated firms.

Last year, our attrition rate fell from 21.2 per cent to 17 per cent as a result of implementing a quarterly pulse survey. We are now able to listen to our employees’ needs and act on them more quickly and constructively to ensure a satisfied workforce. This will continue to shape our initiatives moving forward as we want to fulfil the needs of our workforce, whilst becoming an environmentally driven organisation.

After achieving our EcoVadis silver medal, we joined the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTI), committing to upload and disclose firmwide data and to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2030. The firm has agreements in place with several banks on sustainability-linked loans, whereby loans are linked to ESG goals. The firm must score certain points relating to ESG performance in order to retain fixed interest rates. This of course carries risk and demonstrates the firm’s commitment, but also ensures we stay on the ball and aligned with our goals.

Be sure to acknowledge the areas you aren’t doing well in

An area we struggle with is our supply chain for IT products and this continues to be a real focus. Our use of energy across the group is highly related to IT, and responsible sourcing of minerals remains a key challenge for the IT industry as a whole due to a multitude of external issues. We understand the impact IT has on the environment, however, with technology playing an essential role in the organisation, it’s something we have to accept and work hard to improve in the future. You can’t do everything, but you can make it a priority to improve and be sure to keep an eye out for better solutions.

Plan for the future

A focus on ESG has filtered through to every area of the business and will continue to do so whilst the group aims for an EcoVadis gold medal in the near future. Achieving the gold medal would place us in the top five per cent of firms worldwide. It is a clear ambition and will certainly be a challenging step, but we are ambitious and want to constantly strive to be better.

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