Diversity as a strategic topic

We consider diversity in our team a fundamental factor in developing the best products, delivering the highest quality service and building the finest company we can. Therefore, we consider diversity not only a topic for society but essential to our strategy. We are committed to creating an inclusive culture and an ethical framework that makes all of us in the AlisQI community feel welcomed and appreciated as we are.

The two big motivators for our set goal to have a diverse and inclusive company are ethics and economy. AlisQI is headquartered in The Netherlands, and we are proud of the progressive and open-minded reputation our country has. We feel that we as a (growing) company have the responsibility to contribute to not only acceptance but celebration of our different identities and backgrounds, however big or small our impact will be.

Apart from the moral and social motivations, pure economics validate the business case for creating a diverse team. Within this economical motive, we see two drivers to create a diverse team. First of all, it is not companies that buy our software, nor do companies use our software. It is the people within companies that buy and use our software. And these people are diverse. We are proud to serve customers on all six continents. In order to be successful on this global market, we need to create a culture and a team that is a melting pot of cultures.

The second economical driver for diversity is to create the best team possible. Only when we make everyone feel at home in our community, we can build the finest team, an outstanding product and the best company possible. This directly connects diversity and inclusivity to our long-term commercial successes and strategic goals. In order to practice what we preach, we decided to formalize our vision and beliefs in a code of conduct. We are proud to explicitly communicate about our standards regarding anti-discrimination and harassment, and we invite all our partners, peers and competitors to do the same. We truly hope that very soon this will be commonplace and no longer be a differentiator for us as an employer or partner.

Team AlisQI

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AlisQI anti-discrimination & anti-harassment
policy

At AlisQI, we are committed to a diverse, inclusive and harassment-free workplace, which extends to all interactions with the AlisQI community, including third parties and partners. We aim to provide a healthy work environment and culture: one where everyone is respected, welcome and included, and one free from discrimination, harassment, and intimidation for any reason.

To create and maintain this culture of respect, this document lays out our expectations and outlines a process for anyone to raise concerns about behavior.

Our code of conduct has the following parts:

  • Protected characteristics: the characteristics of an individual or group that may need protection
  • Unacceptable Behaviors: the behaviors that we deem unacceptable
  • Scope: to whom and where this Code of Conduct applies
  • Reporting and enforcements: how we deal with deviations of this code of conduct

Terminology

We start with a definition of the key terminology in this code of conduct.

Diversity

Diversity in the workplace describes the variation in personal, physical, and social characteristics, such as gender, ethnicity, age and disability.

Inclusion

Inclusion refers to the rules and procedures organizations implement to integrate everyone in the workplace, allowing their differences to coexist in a mutually beneficial way. The goal of inclusion strategies is to make everyone feel accepted and comfortable, ready to share their opinions and thoughts without hesitation.

Workplace harassments

Workplace harassment is the belittling or threatening behavior directed at an individual worker or a group of workers.

Protected Characteristics

AlisQI requires the highest standards from the team in their general conduct. This includes a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and harassment, and equal treatment regardless of an individual’s characteristics including:

Age

Discrimination based on age (ageism) means that people are unfavorably treated based on their age and stereotyped as too young or too old for an activity or certain work, or suggested that mistakes or misjudgments are due to their age rather than normal human factors, such as that everyone can make a mistake regardless.

Disability

Discrimination based on disability (ablism) is unfair treatment based on knowledge or perception of a visible or invisible disability. Examples of visible disability may be: partial paralysis, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, usage of a wheelchair, partial sightedness, Parkinson’s disease. Examples of invisible disability may be: ADD, ADHD, autism, anxiety, depression, OCD, diabetes, bipolar disorder.

There is a lot of stigma in society against illness and disability, where often people are seen as less productive or able to work. However in many cases, disabled individuals are able to work and be valuable employees if their individual needs are met. For instance, an office should be wheelchair accessible, company outings can have structured downtime or less physically or sensory intensive activity options, quiet spaces should be available. Employers can play an essential part in enabling their disabled employees.

Gender and gender reassignment

Gender-based discrimination (sexism and transphobia) is unfair treatment based on the known or perceived gender of someone. Gender stereotypes are particularly leveraged against women to withhold financial compensation as well as their concerns and ideas dismissed in the workplace, and being expected to pick up caring and cleaning tasks. Men however can also experience the downside of gender stereotyping when for example displaying emotional affectation, or being allowed less time off for paternity.

In addition to women, transgender individuals and gender-nonconforming people such as non-binary and genderqueer people are also disproportionally targeted by gender-based discrimination. Harassment of these groups often includes asking about the attributes of their body, surgeries, ignoring their pronouns, bullying and exclusion based on them not conforming to a perceived gender. Gender identity is also different from sexual orientation, and harassment includes not making that distinction or stereotyping someone based on their gendered appearance (for example, assuming that a feminine looking man is gay).

Sexual orientation

Discrimination based on sexual orientation means unfavorable treatment based on a person who is known to or perceived to be homosexual, bisexual, or otherwise not heterosexual.

Race, nationality and ethnicity

While all of these refer to the distinction of one community from another, they do differ from one another.

Race refers to a group of people who possess similar and distinct physical characteristics such as skin color or hair type. In other words, race constitutes a human population that is distinct in a way from other human groups based on their physical differences, imagined or not.

Nationality pertains to the country of citizenship, meaning it generally refers to where a person was born and holds citizenship. It is the legal relationship between a person and a sovereign state.

Ethnicity or ethnic group refers to a category of people who regard themselves to be different from other groups based on common ancestral, cultural, national, and social experience. One must share a common cultural heritage, ancestry, history, homeland, language/dialect, mythology, ritual, cuisine, art, religion, and physical appearance to be considered as a member of an ethnic group.

Religion or belief

Discrimination based on religious or spiritual beliefs is treating others unfavorably because of their professed beliefs, rituals and customs; for example mocking or banning religious dress, not allowing prayer moments, or simply making offensive or humiliating jokes.

Appearance

Appearance-based discrimination occurs when someone is treated differently based on how they look, creating an imbalance between someone being evaluated for their performance versus purely based on the way they present themselves. Women and young workers more likely to face appearance discrimination.

Marital or civil partner status

One might think that discrimination based on someone’s marital status is no longer an issue in this day and age, but unfortunately cases do arise. For example, when an employer decides not to hire someone because they have just got married and would rather employ suit someone who is single and can dedicate their time to work commitments. This would result in treating one less favorably based on a marital status, and thus be a form of discrimination.

Pregnancy, maternity or paternity

Discrimination because of pregnancy or maternity means treating someone less favorably because they are (hoping to become) pregnant, breastfeeding or have recently given birth; or because they are a certain age and marital status (for instance, a young woman who just got married is assumed to want children soon and is then not hired because she might have children). Whilst statistically this affects women more negatively than men, all parents can be discriminated against and treated unfairly; for example, receiving a negative review because they took time off work to take care of a sick child.

Unacceptable behaviors

Discrimination

Comments or behavior that discriminates against, stereotypes, or harms members of the community will not be tolerated. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Exclusion or victimization based on the Protected Characteristics
  • Treating someone less favorably or limiting their opportunities based on any of the Protected Characteristics
  • Comments, slurs, jokes, insults, statements, questions or gestures that are derogatory or offensive to an individual’s or group’s characteristics
  • Promoting negative stereotypes relating to individual’s or group’s characteristics
  • Intolerance toward Protected Characteristics
  • Mimicking, mocking or belittling based on their Protected Characteristics
  • Declaring (‘outing’) someone’s Protected Characteristics or threatening to do so against their will
  • Deliberate, unwarranted exclusion from a business practice, policy or rule or mandating business attendance in a way that may constitute indirect discrimination

Harassment

Harassment is unwanted or unwelcome words, actions, or behaviors that create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for an individual or group of people. AlisQI will not tolerate harassment or discrimination based on any of the above Protected Characteristics.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is behavior of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for an individual or group or violates their dignity. This includes unwelcome sexual advances, obscene remarks, comments about an individual’s body and unwelcome physical contact. AlisQI will not tolerate conduct which amounts to sexual harassment.

Examples of sexual harassment include but are not limited to:

  • Suggestive or overly personal comments about an individual’s body or physical appearance
  • Sexually suggestive comments or gestures towards an individual
  • Invading personal space in a sexual way
  • Unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature
  • Persistent unwelcome questions about someone’s marital or relationship status, sexual preferences or sexual conduct
  • Treating someone unfavorably (or suggesting that someone will be treated unfavorably) if they do not submit to conduct of a sexual nature

Bullying

Bullying is intimidating or offensive behavior or an abuse of power which attempts to undermine an individual or group. All forms of bullying are unacceptable under this policy, not just that which relates to the Protected Characteristics set out above. Examples of bullying include but are not limited to:

  • Shouting, aggressive behavior or threats
  • Spreading malicious rumors about members of staff
  • Inappropriately criticizing or undermining workers in front of colleagues

Scope

We expect everyone associated with AlisQI to abide by this code of conduct including, but not limited to, employees, contractors, service providers, founders, shareholders, investors, mentors and advisors.

This code of conduct applies in any setting associated with AlisQI, including phone calls, video conferences, chat, emails, offices, work events, customer visits, social outings, conferences, homes, social media, blogs, or other online communication.

This code of conduct does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment, because we consider them common practice to such an extent that there is no need to enforce them by means of a contract. However, violation of this policy will be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure and could include sanction up to and including termination of employment.

Reporting and Enforcement

We strongly encourage everyone to report any violations of this code of conduct.

We take any incidents relating to the code of conduct very seriously and complaints will be dealt with in a discrete and confidential manner. Reported incidents will be investigated by AlisQI in a fair, impartial, timely, and thorough manner. People involved will be given the opportunity to present relevant information which will be considered as part of the process so that AlisQI can reach a reasonable conclusion.

There are grey areas both in terms of Protected Characteristics and Unacceptable Behavior. For example: is baldness or red hair a protected characteristic? And may someone from a certain ethnicity make jokes about his own ethnicity? Where are the boundaries between teasing, joking and bullying?

The essence of this code of conduct is: behavior that hurts other people is unacceptable. Hurt is a subjective emotion, so by definition we need to accept that if someone says they are hurt, unacceptable behavior has happened, regardless of the intentions of whom caused of this hurt.

Violations can be reported by the following procedures:

  1. If you feel comfortable doing so, tell the person or people who engaged in the harassing, discriminating or bullying behavior, that their actions are not welcome and must stop. You may also decide to explain to them the impact of their behavior on you and/or your co-workers.
  2. If you do not feel comfortable speaking directly to the person who engaged in the unwanted behavior, report the incident verbally or in writing to your supervisor/manager.
  3. If you feel uncomfortable with the above please contact conduct@alisqi.com which is monitored by our code of conduct team. This team is led by Daniëlle Suurlant and she is joined by Gerben de Haan

AlisQI will take the appropriate action to resolve the reported incident and will inform those involved of the conclusion that has been reached. Violation of this policy will be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure and could include sanction up to and including termination of employment. If a person with whom AlisQI does business engages in harassment or discrimination, AlisQI will take appropriate action to resolve the incident.

Monitoring and Review

This code of conduct is reviewed from time to time by the team. We will continue to review its effectiveness to ensure it is achieving its objectives.