A diverse team brings more ideas to the table and ultimately better solutions and results. At least according to Lucie Drabkova, who has been with Chr. Hansen for 15 years, currently as plant manager of our production of animal health products in the Czech Republic. Lucie is one of Chr. Hansen’s six female plant managers in Global Operations – three years ago, there was only one.
Some would argue that a technical production environment is a typical man’s world. But not Lucie:
“I don't care about gender, age and background. It is important to me that people in my team want to learn and find the solutions to every given challenge. I think a diverse team in terms of gender, age and background brings more ideas to the table and more discussions which in the end leads to better solutions and results. Of course, it can end up in disagreements and discussions, but the outcome is always better,” she points out.
I think a diverse team in terms of gender, age and background brings more ideas to the table and more discussions which in the end leads to better solutions and results.
Lucie has not experienced problems being a female manager in an environment with many men.
“It’s about making yourself heard and not being afraid to ask questions or ask for help when necessary. Don’t expect that you can handle everything on your own. When I started in the company, I collaborated with an older colleague and he helped me a lot. I still follow his advice that all problems have solutions, we just must want to find them.”
During the time Lucie has worked for Chr. Hansen, she has always felt that people were very supportive in general:
“I’ve never experienced anything like this at other workplaces. Colleagues simply like to help! We have an unbelievable amount of trust and autonomy at Chr. Hansen. You can discuss things openly and even ask top management for help. It's absolutely unique, and that’s a culture that attracts women as well as men”.
What are your reflections on diversity, equity and inclusion, and how is Chr. Hansen doing in this field?
“We need to strive for a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. In my opinion, we have fair hiring practices and a welcoming culture in Chr. Hansen despite background, age etc. We are fortunate to work with many nationalities and learn about different cultures. In Chr. Hansen Czech Republic, we are almost an equal number of men and women in managerial positions and in general among employees.”
What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
“Be confident! Young people are inexperienced and often doubtful about their own competencies and performance, and possibly torn between domestic and professional demands on them. But don’t be – go for what you want to achieve and don’t be afraid to accept support from colleagues. And remember to have fun along the way!”
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – a focus area for Chr. Hansen
We must rise to the challenge of raising awareness against bias every day to forge women's equality and fight for a world that’s diverse, equitable and inclusive.
“Nothing comes from nothing. If we want to build and maintain a strong employee base, we have an obligation to ensure that we are unbiased and open in our recruitment, promotions, development and retention efforts,” states Alice Larsen, Corporate Vice President, Human Resources.
What it all boils down to is that we rely on a diverse workforce to bring innovative science and develop new sustainable products to our customers.
“In our recruitment processes, we insist on meeting a diverse pool of candidates with different educational backgrounds, gender, age, nationalities, etc. Internally, our succession pipeline for top level positions is close to being gender balanced. This is a result of a focused effort with diversity and inclusion being high on the agenda during organizational review processes, promotions and organizational changes.
What it all boils down to is that we rely on a diverse workforce to bring innovative science and develop new sustainable products to our customers. Inclusion and diversity are simply instrumental to realize Chr. Hansen’s strategic ambitions, and therefore we have set six specific diversity targets towards 2025,” concludes Alice.
Read more about those on pages 50 and 51 in the annual report for 2021/22.