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In conversation with SABRINA PAULON

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Sabrina Paulon

May is the month that the European Commission and the EU Platform of Diversity Charter dedicate to promoting and celebrating diversity in the workplace. Sabrina Paulon, Group HR Director at Marcolin, following the company’s recognition as Italy’s Best Employers for Women 2023 in the eyewear industry, talks about the three key words for successful human resources management.

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1

Marcolin has more than two thousand employees worldwide. 57% are women. What are your actions aiming towards in terms of inclusion?

Marcolin has always supported company policies that promote work-life balance. This was already the case before I joined the company in 2014. Since its foundation, Marcolin has implemented policies aimed to support its female employees with nursery fees, for example, to prevent women in an area of the Belluno district lacking in services from abandoning their jobs and deciding to take care of their families, either by choice or out of necessity. There’s always been a willingness on the part of the company to encourage gender policies, in a broad sense, because at the time women made up more than 60% of company employees, especially in the production sector. Over time, Marcolin has grown into a managerial company, with an international dimension, and is no longer family owned. This new set-up has also affected human resources management. We’ve developed several policies to support not only female but also male employees, who also play a key role in family management. Again, in support of work-life balance, we have included several benefits, from parental leave also being extended to fathers to the development of in-company and digital focus groups on parenting pathways, addressing, for example, the challenge of the new world of teenagers. These are initiatives that focus on the wellbeing of the individual. With a balanced family life, people can bring more energy into the company and transfer the same balance to it. To promote inclusion, we decided to write a charter, which we have called the ‘Diversity and Inclusion Charter’, to be handed down as part of Marcolin’s DNA, enshrined in a second-level agreement, because one positive thing we have today, among others, is that we consider diversity an added value. But we did not stop there. The Charter will be followed by actions and projects that will emphasise Marcolin’s commitment within this sphere.

2

What company policies have been put in place to foster the professional growth of staff in the company?

This is another important aspect of actions to support human resources in Marcolin. We have set up Leadership Academy pathways with the aim of nurturing the leaders of tomorrow. This year, for the first time, we have put on a session dedicated to female leadership, although the class will be inclusive and mixed. We will continue to actively support the ‘Empowering Optical Women Leadership’ project run by ANFAO – the Italian National Association of Optical Goods Manufacturers. In addition to addressing classic topics, such as soft skills and financial brand finals, we will focus on the typical value characteristics of female employees and how they interchange between the two genders. Without forgetting that this year we have been recognised as ‘Italy’s Best Employers for Women 2023’ in the eyewear industry, according to the report conducted by the German Quality and Finance Institute.

3

What are the three key words for successful human resources management? And in what way is Marcolin unique?

When we talk about human resources, we are talking about people, not just employees or working relationships. It is important for us to be able to listen to the needs of new employees because we have realised that they have changed profoundly over time. We have moved from welfare-related requests, i.e. relating to services, such as rewards in terms of remuneration to be used for forms of recreation or welfare, to agile working, a policy that Marcolin had already envisaged for its employees before the pandemic precisely in order to help create a work-life balance. Today, there are those who wish to have more time at their disposal and those who wish to grow quickly within the company. That’s why we have facilitated agile working solutions even five times a week and professional growth pathways, through job protection policies and the Academy, but also with work challenges abroad, for those people who wish to prioritise their professional fulfilment. As far as I’m concerned, it’s important to deal with human resources with flexibility: this allows me to accommodate all employees and to be able to build an organisation that can reconcile all needs.

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