As Aegon is a global company, we understand the importance of embedding inclusion and diversity in who we are and everything we do. We also know that allowing people to be their authentic self in the workplace stimulates innovation and positive energy!
By being open and inclusive, we reflect the customers we exist to serve, we enhance our knowledge, we attract and retain the best talent, and create a safe, productive and accepting work environment.
Our company-wide Statement on Inclusion & Diversity aims to create a productive and open working environment in which all employees are valued for their contribution and are able to realize their potential.
We actively protect our employees against discrimination and promote non-discrimination in the workplace, whether on grounds of race, disability, religious belief, sexual orientation, age or gender.
Like the wider world we serve, we are evolving, and we are happy to accept the responsibility we have as a global company to lead by example. This commitment goes to the very top of our organization and is echoed at every level.
See all the action around the Aegon terrace and a message from our CFO Matt Rider about allyship during the celebrations of inclusion & diversity at Canal Pride Amsterdam 2019.
One of our most active diversity communities is Aegon Proud, Aegon's global LGBT+ community. This is open to LGBT+ employees and colleagues who wish to show their allyship and support for the benefits diversity can bring to a company. The community has members from around the world, and regularly organizes social get-togethers and takes part in internal and external events to raise awareness about the importance of diversity in business.
Aegon earned Ambassador status from Workplace Pride for the second year running in 2019. The certificate reads: '(The) policies are clear and specific and there is ongoing focus the ensure that inclusive language is used in formal documents and communications. Outreach to the LGBTI community through the publication of their research on LGBT Retirement planning is a great example of LGBTI Inclusion impacting core business objectives."
For Matt Rider, CFO of Aegon, it means, "simple actions like giving a kind word of support, or calling out bad behavior when someone sees it. It is really important for our Aegon community to create a sense of inclusion where everyone feels that they can be their authentic self."
Transamerica, our US business, also scored 100 out of 100 in the 2018 and 2019 editions of the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI).This is the national benchmarking tool in the US in regard to corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. The top score places Transamerica among the best places to work for LGBT employees.
Note: While the abbreviation LGBT commonly stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, Aegon Proud's policies also include and are not limited to those identifying as Queer, Intersex or Asexual. Therefore, Aegon Proud generally uses LGBT+
Aegon is a signatory to the Talent to the Top initiative in the Netherlands, which aims to increase the number of women in senior management. In the United States, the company is a member of the Corridor Women Connect group, which helps develop leadership skills among female managers. We are also active in Women in Financial Services, an organization that seeks a better balance between men and women in the financial sector.
Among senior management, the proportion of women is just under a third. Women are under-represented on the company's Supervisory and Management Boards. We do, however, have a number of women in prominent positions within the company, including our Global Chief Risk Officer Allegra van Hövell-Patrizi and our Global Head of Human Resources Carla Mahieu.
When it comes to disability, local regulations make establishing a concrete number of disabled employees at Aegon difficult, however Aegon's local initiatives paint a very positive picture.
"Globally, we don't measure how many disabled employees we have, because that would be discrimination in itself. We take the best person for the job," says Head of Global HR, Carla Mahieu, adding that this includes people with physical disabilities, but also numerous employees with less obvious disabilities, such as visual impairment.
Specialist recruitment agency
Aegon has worked with Dutch recruitment company Onbegrensd Talent (Unlimited Talent) since 2012. The recruitment agency has around 3,000 disabled job seekers on its books.
In 2013, Arjan was the first Aegon employee to be recruited via Onbegrensd Talent. "I only have 20 percent vision," he explains. "You might not think it, but working with a computer is actually an advantage. I simply make everything larger on the screen. It's much quicker than putting all sorts of paper under a magnifying glass," he says.
This year, Sanja, who suffers from severe arthritis, was one of a number of new recruits. "My disability is immediately obvious. I walk strangely," she explains. "This already sets the tone during a job interview," she says, "You can almost hear the recruiters thinking, 'She'll need assistance and she's slow', but I've got a lot of other qualities."
During her interview with Aegon she explained that she can't sit for long periods of time. Aegon's response was: "That's no problem, our desks can be raised to standing height with the press of a button."
Aegon businesses also regularly conduct training on diversity issues. In the United States, for example, Transamerica organizes training session for managers on integrating and improving the working environment for disabled employees.
At Aegon Sony Life, the company's joint venture in Japan, they've also taken this enthusiasm for inclusion out of the office. Groups of volunteers from the company are helping to map all the public bathrooms which are wheelchair friendly and suitable for people with special needs, into a Smartphone application with geo-location function.
Not only are the toilets mapped, but details about the facilities offered are also uploaded, such as if the bathrooms have support handles, if there is space for helpers to enter, and if emergency alarms are available.
Creating an enabling environment
Initiatives like this, which support inclusion, often fall 'beneath the radar' but are commonplace at Aegon. As Carla says: "Putting a number to the people in our organization with disabilities is not helpful, we'd rather work toward creating an enabling environment not only for our employees but in the communities we serve."
It's a view, Aegon CEO Alex Wynaendts shares: "I'm a strong believer that our company must reflect the society we serve, and that means being as inclusive and welcoming a place to work as possible."
Aegon is a member of the Agora Network, a foundation where talents with roots from all over the world come together. Together with them, Agora facilitates the exchange of knowledge, experiences and networks. In this way the foundation inspire talents and organizations to benefit from the power of all these different backgrounds and perspectives. In addition to the labor market, the diversity of customers from many organizations is also growing.
Agora Network website (in Dutch)