Last week, the fourth edition of the EVE Program was held in Evian. EVE is a management seminar dedicated to women, but also open to men, built around the idea that “to work on oneself and to be stimulated is the best way to increase one’s performances and to become an actor of change,” as the EVE website states.
EVE is an inter-company initiative based on an original idea from Danone. Crédit Agricole S.A., KPMG, L’Oréal, SNCF and Orange are official partners.
A collective and an individual approach
EVE works on two different levels: individuals and organisations. At organisation level, the EVE WISE Committee meets around ten times a year to share best practices within its partner companies.
At individual level, each partner company chooses 10, 20 or 30 participants each year to enter the program. As Marisa Guevara, Events Manager for the EVE Programme explains, it is crucial that a significant number of people from each partner company attend the seminar, so that they can subsequently become drivers of change within their own organisations, on a daily basis.
The strength of EVE is that it offers the attendees a “warm and friendly atmosphere and an open-minded attitude,” to encourage them to share thoughts and best practices.
Overall, one thousand women and men have already participated in EVE, and have found the approach useful to their own career paths. Before the seminar started, the 2013 participants were really looking forward to meeting other people, understanding their ‘common’ challenges and solutions, hearing about others’ experiences and seeking inspiration. All year long, participants will now be able to share their experiences and to network through the blog and on social networks (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).
Women in leadership, an axis of diversity, contributes to overall performance
This leadership program is an opportunity, for the partner companies, to nourish and deepen their reflection on diversity. As Laurent Depond, Director of Diversity at Orange, explains , he and his teams have identified “levers for economic performance that diversity could bring to the group.”
They now strive to activate these 5 main levers: mobilisation & commitment of employees; attractiveness of the company; productivity; relationship with customers; and exemplarity. For the companies, diversity is necessary and relevant in this many ways.
On the EVE blog, Olga Koenig, Open Sourcing & Career Path Director at Danone and a member of the EVE WISE Committee, stresses the specific importance of women in leadership: “Diversity concerns men as much as women, because it is a matter of efficiency for the organisation. And because at an individual level, it is a matter of balance. The benefits of equity and shared responsibilities (…) need to be understood as being part of the core values of the organisation, and perfectly integrated into career visions and team management. We wish to tend towards a balanced leadership. EVE illustrates this vision and this aim very well.”
On top of being profitable for the business, diversity issues are increasingly endorsed by employees, especially the younger generations. They pay greater attention to this specific aspect when looking at the organisations they wish to work for – and stay with.
The partner companies’ involvement in EVE thus reflects their ambition to keep improving diversity options for their teams… and their understanding of how diversity matters to the business. (You can read and watch testimonials from the other partner companies on the blog: Crédit Agricole S.A., KPMG, L’Oréal and SNCF).
With EVE having proven such a success over the past 3 years, Danone has created another inter-company program: The OCTAVE Program.
Octave, launched in 2012, brings together three generations to work on understanding their differences, to go beyond stereotypes and to discuss how to build the future.
In other words, the program focuses on what is needed to bring a company from a baby-boomer culture to one that can integrate generation Y. To learn more about OCTAVE, you can visit the website and read the article down to Earth dedicated to its last seminar, a few months ago.
Photo: © Pierre LE TULZO-PhotoProEvent, Octobre 2013