September BEAP Value Creation: Embracing Collaboration to Support Diverse Opinions

The Novolex Broad-based Employee Award Plan (BEAP) provides eligible employees with an opportunity to participate in the growth and success of Novolex, offering cash rewards to Plan participants based on any increase in valuation of the company over time. BEAP recognizes the thousands of hardworking Novolex employees that are the backbone of the organization.

To highlight BEAP and how common values help grow and scale the company, Novolex is featuring a regular series focused on how our employees embody our values to create value for the company. This month, the series focuses on the Novolex value of Embracing Collaboration to Support Diverse Opinions.

This August, Novolex convened a panel to discuss Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) strategic objectives and hear from several members of the DE&I Council, a cross-functional leadership group that helps drive the company’s DE&I strategy, promoting inclusivity and belonging within the Novolex Family. Led by Katie Hendrix, senior director of Employee Experience, the virtual panel discussion covered the Company’s progress on reaching its DE&I goals and captured the fervor of participating council members, Matt Burroughs, Steve Kapantais and Helen Mathieson, and the impact they have had. Novolex is proud to share updates on its DE&I strategic objectives and where the company is looking to grow and expand. The August panel discussion represents just one snapshot of how Novolex is spreading the word among employees.

Successful Novolex employees pride themselves on being open-minded, believing that constructive feedback is key to improving operations. For Helen Mathieson, managing director of Novolex brand Vegware – a leading provider of compostable packaging – based in Scotland, creating an organizational framework that promotes fair treatment and participation from everybody was a great place to start. At Novolex, this manifests in two ways: through inclusive recruitment and company culture.

“At Vegware we’ve identified that people with neurodiverse conditions may find typical interview processes particularly difficult. A typical interview relies on certain “soft skills” – skills that often are not typical for neurodivergent candidates. This means that a talented person may be overlooked if they are not prepared for the types of questions presented to them,” said Helen. “So, we’ve provided additional information in advance of interviews, examples of the type of questions people could expect to be asked, and we did it with this kind of focus.”

On the product development side, Steve Kapantais, technical director of Waddington North America, spoke candidly about how sitting in a room with like-minded engineers may not result in a product that works for everybody. He believes that it’s important to have a diverse view of products, for, say, food packaging, because a package is going to be opened by all different types of people from all different walks of life and age groups and with different capabilities. “If we don’t include these people from the very start, we’ll never have their perspective on how to design products and we won’t be successful,” said Steve.

These shared values of inclusion also impact the work of all communications and human resources employees. On Novolex internal communications that spotlight a particular holiday, Novolex has now added a note that asks, “Did we miss a day that’s important to you? Let us know.” Since then, Novolex has received feedback on days that are important to certain employees and has taken the initiative to work those days into the recognition calendar. “That’s really the spirit of what we’re looking for,” said Katie. “To be inclusive and help all our employees feel like they can be better understood for their background and culture.”

Novolex utilizes unique perspectives to adjust and strengthen operations, including in the cybersecurity and technology space. As Matt Burroughs, chief information security officer at Novolex, explained it is a matter of combining book knowledge and real-world knowledge to cover all bases. Matt sees value in listening to the perspectives of younger team members who are newer to the company and might be on the cutting edge of cybersecurity developments.

“A culture where people feel like, in a meeting, they can speak up and share an idea and not be criticized for it or ignored, is so important,” said Katie, speaking to the value of hearing these perspectives.

The shared goal of the Novolex DE&I Council, and the message its members are instilling among colleagues and those just joining the company alike, is to demonstrate that Novolex is eager to listen to and embrace multiple perspectives. “I’m excited about being a part of change, being a part of something that’s moving the company in the right direction,” said Matt. “The Novolex Family is strengthened by these inclusive values, which directly impact the growth and success of Novolex.”