As part of our 2020-2025 strategy, we are making positive interventions to embed the ethos of diversity, equity and inclusion into policies, processes and everyday practice, working to eliminate barriers to participation and success. An example of this is blind recruitment, which is the practice of blocking out some personal information from candidate applications, in order to prevent recruiter bias, both conscious and unconscious. This is now our standard practice for selecting new employees.
In 2021 we started to analyse the gender dimension in our mode of operation, based on the Gender Equality Assessment Implementation (GEAI). The data we collected showed that Penta had achieved 54.15% of GEAI in 2021. Our goal is to achieve even greater equality rates in the coming years. The way we will achieve this has been outlined in our Gender Equality Plan (GEP), which is our structural plan of objectives, actions and targets. As part of the Plan, we appointed an Equality Officer and set up a Gender Equality working group to implement and monitor the progress of the GEP. In 2022, the Gender Equality working group and the Equality Officer started planning and realising initiatives to engage the Penta Foundation staff in enhancing gender equality within the Foundation and, in general, in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.
Our commitment to high levels of equity does not stop with our employees. We strive to build gender equality in research and training, both on the side of researchers and trainers, and on the side of patients and trainees day by day.
In 2022 we significantly improved our Company welfare. Penta’s paternity leave package was strengthened: we added 21 days of fully paid leave covered by the Foundation to the 10 days fathers are entitled to under Italian law. We also introduced a four-month remote working option reserved for new fathers.
As a new measure to improve employees’ wellbeing at work and ensure equal opportunities, we introduced a 2-day per month paid menstrual leave option for women with certified dysmenorrhea. “This initiative is the result of an internal reflection on how to guarantee a balance between work efficiency and our employees’ health and wellbeing,” said Giuseppe Bonura, Chief People, Communication and Culture Officer at Penta Foundation. “We realised that women with dysmenorrhea may experience challenges in achieving such balance, and that it is our responsibility to support them in any way possible. Our view is that an organisation should be able to support employees during difficult personal circumstances, whether they are temporary or permanent. An inclusive workplace environment is one where personal difficulties do not hinder career progression, and we are committed to taking further steps in promoting such an environment.” In 2022, 10% of the Foundation staff used Penta paid menstrual leave.
Regarding career progression, Penta increased the number of paid study hours available to employees for educational courses. While the national contract guarantees 150 hours of study permits over three years, Penta increased this to 400 hours, with 250 usable in a single year. In 2022, 15% of the Penta Foundation employees used study permits for a total of 423 hours.
Because we believe our success relies on highly qualified and motivated employees, in 2022 we launched the second edition of the Penta Education call to support their individual career plans in a transparent manner. The call was open to all our employees, with at least 50% of the funds reserved for female employees. The 2022 Education call provided € 17,900 to fund job-specific training: 53.8% of our employees received financial support, with a total of 97.5% applications accepted.
The core competences Penta funded are related to project planning, proposal writing, international financial reporting standards, science writing, public health, health economics, people management, international commercial terms. In addition to this, all Penta Project Managers attended a Prince2 Project Management course and obtained the certification.
To support the Foundation’s digital transformation, we invested in continuous learning for our employees to improve their IT skills. By nurturing new tech talent, we managed to move our file managing system to the cloud, and thus strengthened Penta’s cybersecurity. A total of 12 staff members (sorted by area of competence based on the topics) were involved in these trainings, of whom 46% were women and 54% were men. A total of 60 hours of training aimed at improving IT skills were issued.
“No matter how many policies Penta implements to improve our employees’ wellbeing, nothing can match the effect and value of a collective effort to embrace the topics of diversity and inclusion. Inclusion, team spirit, responsibility and transparency are our guiding principles: the research that we promote is global, independent and inclusive, therefore it is imperative that these features are reflected within our organisation.”
Eleonora Brugiolo, Penta Foundation HR Specialist and Equality Officer