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Christian Campanella

Christian Campanella: the D&I truth is in the numbers

March 4, 2020
By Ioni Doherty

The Chair of the Drinks Association’s HRD Forum, Christian Campanella, HR, Communications and Sustainability and Responsibility Director at Pernod Ricard Winemakers, discusses embracing difference.

Five years ago, Pernod Ricard Winemakers invited a workplace diversity consultant from UK consultancy 20-first to present the case for why a diverse and inclusive workplace is better for business.

For a number of years, it had been argued that diversity and inclusion was the way to go because, quite simply, “it is the right thing to do”. Namely, we have a moral obligation that all workers – no matter their age, gender, sexual orientation or disability – should be valued, included and treated as equal.

But for Chair of HRD Forum in the Embrace Difference Council, Christian Campanella (pictured above with members of the HRD forum), this presentation five years ago signalled a shift: “All of a sudden, we had a business case for doing the right thing because balanced teams created organisations with better inclusiveness, which in turn led to better business performance.”

An economic rationale was a far easier sell when it came to getting engagement from business leaders.

As Chair of the HRD Forum, Christian attends all council meetings and acts as a conduit to the 20 plus HRDs who make up the forum, communicating with them about progress being made, the initiatives of the three workstreams and exploring how the objectives of Embrace Difference can be brought to life within individual organisations.

“For the drinks industry to strengthen its value proposition, it must rely on informing and working closely with the HRDs, the ones who will champion the principles and initiatives within each organisation,” Christian says.

He agrees that support from CEOs and business leaders is essential and that the push for diversity and inclusion must exist beyond the HR departments of organisations. However, he asserts that there is no doubt that HRDs will be the ones to implement programs for improved diversity and inclusion as well as being the ones to educate businesses on the case for change.

“It is one thing for a CEO to stand in front of their team and put forward the case for diversity and inclusion,” he notes. 

“The reality is that there are many things HRDs do to support and drive mindset within an organisation.”

These include recruitment processes, eliminating unconscious bias, parental leave policies, mentoring and professional development and leadership opportunities.

Now that the Embrace Difference Council has set its objectives, Christian anticipates that this year he will work closely with corporate partners on data analytics and garnering better data insights.

“We have to ask ourselves and investigate, is the drinks industry competitive? How do we compare to other industries? Are we structuring packages in a way that attracts, rewards and retains talent? Where are we in terms of pay equity and the gender pay gap?”

Further data insights will be available using the tools that are currently being designed, having been authored by the See Difference – Diversity (led by Madelyn Ring) and Leverage Difference – Inclusion (led by Nicole Stanners) Workstreams.

Assessing this data will be essential for HRDs so they can move forward and chart a course of action.

“It is the numbers that will give us the knowledge and in turn guide the push for how the drinks industry builds a more diverse and inclusive workforce and strengthens its value proposition,” he says.

Get ready for information and action, with the roll-out starting next month.

Christian Campanella was named HR Director of the Year at the Australian HR Awards in 2018.