Formalising a diversity and inclusion policy within a hospital is possible!

The Cliniques de l’Europe is a reference hospital complex for Brussels and its surroundings.

In 2019, they concluded a global diversity plan with Actiris. 13 actions are undertaken in the fields of recruitment, staff management, internal communication and external positioning. If the final evaluation of the plan in 2022 is positive, the Cliniques de l’Europe would be the first hospital to obtain the diversity label in Brussels !

Interview with Dorien De Man, training officer and coordinator of the diversity plan.

Diagnosis and challenges in the health sector

The Cliniques de l’Europe have noted that although the diversity of the Brussels population is globally reflected at the level of the staff, it is much less apparent at all levels of the management.

Other phenomena common in the health care sector can also be observed:

  • Personal care professions are predominantly occupied by women
  • People from specific backgrounds are concentrated in certain functions (ethnostratification)

In addition, cultural differences can be a source of conflict in teams.

Understanding with action

Aware of these different challenges, in 2019 the Cliniques de l’Europe joined the working group on diversity management in the health care sector organised by BRUXEO to initiate a collective reflection on the subject.

Strengthened by these achievements, the Cliniques de l’Europe then turned to Actiris to implement their action plan.


Communicating in job offers for which we have an active diversity policy is a strong incentive

In order to attract applications from the various target groups, the Cliniques de l’Europe include the following sentence in their job advertisements:

« Diversity in all its dimensions is an essential value at the Cliniques de l’Europe. We strongly believe that gender, origin, age, sexual orientation, life philosophy and disability are all elements that shape our individuality and make the strength of our teams. »

« This allows different target groups to apply without fear that their own preconceptions would lead them to believe that they could not be hired by us, » explains Dorien.

Communicating effectively about our commitment means taking into account the characteristics of our target audience

The Cliniques de l’Europe have been thinking of innovative ways to communicate internally about their commitment to diversity and inclusion in order to get staff on board.

  • Creation of a digital space for exchange on diversity and inclusion issues: An email address dedicated to diversity has been created to enable anyone to communicate thoughts, ideas and suggestions with regards to diversity actions taken or to be taken.

“This is a positive space for sharing. It should not, however, replace the presence and training of a trusted person who is able to prevent and react to offensive or even discriminatory acts and comments.” Dorien reminds us.

The Cliniques de l’Europe have noted, however, that the impact of a communication by electronic means only has a limited impact insofar as it does not take into account the diversity of profiles and their use of digital technology. They therefore decided to create a non-digital communication event :

  • Each employee will receive a reusable bottle with the Cliniques’ own diversity logo. The handover will be an opportunity to verbally convey information about the current diversity plan. A flyer explaining the diversity plan will be attached to the bottle.

This action will allow us to reach the 2,100 workers and doctors of the Cliniques de l’Europe directly.

Successfully implementing the diversity policy

Raising awareness before taking action

Before bringing about change, it is important to understand why change is needed. Before bringing about change, it is important to understand why change is needed. As is often the case, a restricted vision of diversity (limited to origin or background, for example) leads one to question the need for a diversity plan: “we are already a diverse team!”. That is why increased reflection and awareness-raising among employees on the lexicon of diversity is underway (What is diversity for the Cliniques de l’Europe? What is a stereotype? An unconscious bias?). And these sessions are a real success: “We get very positive feedback on the awareness sessions, so much so that we have decided to include them in the training package for every new person who joins the team,” says Dorien.

Involving the different stakeholders in the development of the diversity and inclusion policy

One of the success factors of the Cliniques de l’Europe’s diversity policy is the involvement of the different stakeholders in the institution. A diversity working group was set up to monitor the progress of the actions, bringing together management and employee representatives. “The plan is alive and well at every level of the Cliniques de l’Europe and this is an important success factor,” Dorien emphasises.