Diverse + inclusive + innovative = resistant

Werner Lapage, Partner BDO Belgium and Chairman of the Editorial Board

Are we plunging into a recession? Not yet if we stick to the narrow definition of such an economic downturn – negative GDP growth for two or more consecutive quarters. But on the other hand, when we look at all those economic indicators lighting up red: inflation fever, the extra cost for resources over and above wage indexation, the sharp rise in the wage cost handicap compared with our neighbouring countries, the postponement and decrease of business investments…

And even though hope is growing in Europe that the recession will be shallow and short, the question is: how can you as an organisation prepare for such a slump? Find the answers in our cover story, an enlightening conversation with Pieter Timmermans (CEO VBO FEB), Nadia Jansen (CEO Group Jansen) and Peter Van Laer (CEO BDO Belgium).

“It is important to take steps that in the short term support business continuity and yet proactively support the long-term strategy towards a sustainable business model,” Peter writes in his opinion article ‘Shock-resistant handling of scarcity’. Precisely because talent is becoming ever scarcer, we joined forces with the internationally acclaimed Chapelle Consulting agency, an authority in the field of risk management. And we brought the 40 experts from Cynex in Hasselt on board.

In addition to partnerships or acquisitions, SMART Business Solutions and innovation can provide a solution. This is the motivation for us, BDO Belgium, to start Dragons’ Den, a new internal innovation project. Genius in its simplicity: cultivate an environment in which employees can freely present and develop their ideas.

Among other things, the ESG Hub project is a product of this creative thinking, which supports awareness-raising and knowledge about sustainable entrepreneurship. For example, how inclusive and diverse leadership can be created. The more diverse we are and the more inclusive we manage talents, the stronger we can respond as an organisation to the challenges of modern society.

These challenges are at least as far-reaching for multinationals as they are for local family businesses. Even so, research by Professor Pursey Heugens and Dr Hans Wilmots has shown that family businesses are more resistant to crises. Let’s hope so…

“The more diverse we are and inclusive we manage talents, the stronger our answers to the challenges will be.”