Timon De Graaff on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

HRBP Go To Market & Leadership Development Specialist bij Unilever

By Amanda Lopes Pacca

Timon is so kind that just looking at him makes you smile. It is not out of purpose that he is working with diversity & inclusion. Humble enough to admit the challenges of human nature and the possibility of a biased position, he drives you into a conversation that makes you feel that you want to stay and learn more.

We talked through different topics, including employer branding, innovation, creativity, and Diversity & Inclusion.

When talking about employer branding, Timon expressed that it is all about how you stay true to yourself, what is your value and what do you stand for. Social commitment, for example, is an important topic, giving equal opportunities to everyone in a fair way. He talked about the expectations of the stakeholders and the alignment of your ideas with the people around you. The change will happen by getting everyone on the same page. Timon said that we are not there yet, and people may feel scared or uncomfortable with the unknown, but consciousness is the first step.

In his opinion, the important thing to think concerning employer branding is: What is the higher goal of doing it? And to give people the opportunity to share their ideas, also aligning those ideas with the stakeholders. It is needed to start slowly and then go further. 

Talking about psychological safety, Timon stated that it is possible to drive diversity but the company has to have an inclusive culture for both sides to stay together. With inclusion, people will feel safe to speak up, bringing more innovation, business growth and performance. Diversity always exists in the environment, however, will just take the place it deserves if the company opens space for inclusion.

Timon also spoke about policies to drive diversity & inclusion stating that it is necessary to foster equity, giving everyone the same opportunity. Timon reflected by saying that people are not the same, in this sense, “we all start from different points in life”, we have different experiences. This fact needs to be considered from an inside perspective of the company, looking at the process and questioning the equal opportunities depending on the background and history of people that work there. Timon emphasizes how this is an important topic to start right and then work on top of it.

He also touched on important topics surrounding human nature and psychology, how we are individuals that feel belonging to people that are similar to us, and how we have to be careful about our biased actions in what we are doing since this is the path to be an inclusive company. According to him, that is why it is so hard to drive diversity. For this concern, an important question to ask is: How can we address bias? He also talked about us finding our truth and values, being able to have a voice knowing what matters to us.

When we talked about making mistakes, Timon brought an essential reflection about the peoples’ intentions and the importance of questioning those. Where are these intentions coming from?

When I asked him about guidance for recent graduates that want to join this path of diversity & inclusion, he talked about learning how to be resilient, knowing your personal values and what matters to you, also being open to realising your bias and exploring your feelings of discomfort.

We perceive that it is not easy to be resilient, to get to know your inner voice, and sometimes to have the courage to share your ideas. The important thing is to start to practice, and this will just happen through action. We cannot change the way we put ourselves into the world if we do not change the way we act towards it. Therefore, listen, observe and act- consciously and actively to build the life and future you wish for yourself.

Timon is so thoughtful and manages to touch us uniquely, bringing a comfortable environment for us to express our opinion. I hope that if you want and when you see the interview you can also be touched and reflect on how you are including and accepting the diversity of the world and your own being.

Interview Link on the PsychologyAtWork.Blog YouTube channel: 

About the Author

Amanda is a final year student of the WOP-P Master in Work, Organizational and Personnel Psychology. Brazilian by birth, her journey into psychology began before she graduated, at the age of 17, when she came into contact with Psychoanalysis. From then on, her passion for understanding the human mind expanded, and she graduated in Psychological Sciences at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. In her last year to become an occupational psychologist, her topics of interest cross all human nature, including leadership, psychological empowerment, emotional health, and mental problems. Her hope of contributing to the blog is that this vast universe of psychology could be accessible to as many people as possible through writing. Psychology has a long past but a short history. In this sense, psychology professionals owe it to the world of psychology and its precious knowledge to expand that so more people can think better about themselves, the world, and their desires.