The first of a new European label on gender equality (GEES - Gender Equality European Standard) has been presented to Randstad Group, with the audit praising the company for its innovative approach to the issue.
A ceremony was held at the European parliament in Brussels to give the first awardees the standard in recognition of internal policies they have implemented in order to ensure both sexes receive fair treatment in the workplace.
Randstad France, Randstad Belgium, Randstad Italy and Group HR at Randstad Holding were all audited in order to gain approval for the GEES standard. It was awarded to the group on June 29th 2011 and certifies good level of achievement in practices related to gender equality for a period of three years.
In their assessment of the company's gender equality policies following an evaluation during June 2011, the examiners from Bureau Veritas concluded: "Randstad's HR process has been in place for a long time and includes gender equality. This project is supported by top management and is based on innovation and trust in talents."
The GEES is a bid to create a harmonized standard for gender equality that acknowledges efforts by organizations to develop a common European culture in this area.
In terms of the future evolution of Randstad's gender equality strategy, the audit recommended: "The main challenge for the future consists in pursuing the roll-out of best practices European-wide, building on experience gained in France and Belgium."
Major strengths identified by the report included the Baby Randstad Policy in place in Italy to assist women returning to work after maternity leave. It has resulted in 91 per cent of employees taking up their roles at the company after having a baby, compared with an overall average for the country of 73 per cent.
In addition, Randstad in Belgium was praised for its "Cable blanc" system, permitting workers to operate from any branch in the country and the French subsidiary was noted for its training programs dedicated to tackling stereotypes and promoting diversity and gender equality.
Furthermore, the company won praise from the third party evaluator for initiatives such as its talent review and people survey, in addition to incorporating gender equality into its strategic statement.
Other international firms that received GEES accreditation on June 29th 2011 were BNP Paribas, General Electric Energy, L'Oreal, Orange and PSA-Peugeot Citroen. The groups worked alongside Randstad and gender equality association Arborus to develop the new management tool, described as "the first genuinely European label" of its kind.
The Arborus endowment fund was created in April last year and used to produce a legal framework which was the basis of the GEES, unveiled in November 2010. It complements existing standards in EU member states, with awardees assessed against a series of criteria including gender equality-related management education programs, salary polices and general strategy.
European authorities have given their backing to the international standard, which it is hoped will be adopted by many other companies and organizations in order to ensure equality between women and men in the world of work.
GEES certification is intended to enhance the performance of businesses, increase motivation, reinforce a positive image, contribute towards sustainable development, provide benchmarking tools and facilitate transfer of skills.
It is applicable to organizations of all kinds and sizes and certificates are issued following an evaluation by independent Bureau Veritas Certification.
CLICK HERE FOR CAREER ADVICE & JOB OPPORTUNITIES FROM OUR DIGITAL MAGAZINE