The art of thinking together differently

Diversity and inclusion, keys to the growth of Cellnex.

Thankfully, the surge in inclusive, diverse and fair business cultures is much more than corporate ‘posturing.’ It is clear from the evidence that diverse teams, multiculturalism and a genuine acceptance of individual personalities in businesses structures produce better results and encourage multidimensional thinking, innovation and the search for solutions. More than just a recommendation, implementing diversity policies is now vital for any company with a sense of purpose that wants to ensure long-term sustainability and success.

At Cellnex, a group that in just five years has integrated diverse teams in the 8 European countries where it operates following thirty acquisitions -soon to be 12 after the recent agreements with Play in Poland and CK Hutchison at European level, they know this full well. By its very nature, it is a corporation where diversity reigns supreme.

“Things are changing, and all of us who work at Cellnex are noticing that the company is radically different. Different nationalities, different times, different cultures… the acquisitions have helped and in the countries where Cellnex has been present from the start (such as Spain and Italy) they are aware that now we are a melting pot”, explains Yolanda Menal, Global People Director at the telecom infrastructure group.

“Every time we welcome a new team, we exchange our vision and the ways we see and do business and we share our values.” But, as Menal acknowledges, diversity does not offer significant benefits on its own if the other essential values of equity and inclusion are not also driven. “Diversity means different points of view, inclusion means they are taken into account’, she explains. ‘When we listen, we integrate and rejoice in differences, we become more inclusive and open and better as an organisation.”

A measurable plan

“Diverse teams reflect the society where we operate. If we have people of different sexes, ages, experiences and cultural backgrounds, we will undoubtedly be better placed to identify the trends and needs for which we can deliver solutions with our services”, explains the head of people.

Cellnex joined a large group of European companies in signing the Diversity Charter, a declaration of principles to highlight their commitment.

The firm’s board of directors undertook a pledge earlier this year by adopting the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy for all the companies that make up the group, with the aim of furthering diversity and rejecting any type of discrimination affecting selection, retention or professional and personal growth and promoting inclusion for the people who perform their activities within the group.

“People are our most important asset”, explains Menal. “Our equity policy aligns directly with the values of the company; we want to foster a collaborative and integrated organisation that creates opportunities for growth, which can only be achieved with diverse teams where everyone can be the best version of themselves.”

 Commitment, innovation, integration and cohesion are the four basic Cellnex values and the foundation of the programme, with quality and number targets in four essential areas: Gender, generation, sexual orientation, cultural and functional diversity. The progress made – with tools such as blind CVs, intergenerational mentoring and inclusive leader training – is reviewed regularly by the executive committee and presented each year to the board for monitoring and evaluation.

Growing together

We don’t believe we can grow unless we do it together”, says Menal about the ‘Growing Together’ maxim etched in stone in Cellnex’s company principles. “Innovation stems from disruption which is achieved not by repeating the same solutions, but through divergent thinking. And that comes from teams that are capable of thinking outside the box, given their different backgrounds and different experiences, but also different ways of working. Interconnectedness is incredibly important in this respect; diversity comes not only from the team, but from your ability to create agile environments where different points of view are presented.”

Indeed, Cellnex pursues disruptive collaboration in its business practices not only with its own employees, but also by working with start-ups and other companies on innovation projects and a variety of experiments with new technologies.

The particularities of stem

In a sector that is overwhelmingly male, Cellnex understands the need to pursue social and awareness-raising actions in various areas outside the company to help to change the status quo.

“Only 20 percent of women graduate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. This is a major challenge. We have to make sure that these women do not stay hidden.”

“As well as positioning ourselves as a company that provides equal opportunities, we have to inspire women to take STEM degrees because they are the future. We want to inspire and reach out to the next generation…”

The executive also explains that it is vital to ensure internal career development for women and increase the percentage of female management roles. “Teams with more women and diverse profiles in managerial environments further boost the importance of creating diverse teams at all levels and, in turn, become role models, revitalising and quickening the pace of diversity policies.”

As well as participating in programmes with a variety of universities and business schools, the company engages actively in any forums focusing on women and technology.

While advancing goals that it considers essential, the company, which has also proudly coined the motto ‘one team, one Cellnex’, is reaping the benefits of natural multiplicity every day with group dynamics that not only value but applaud difference. “Sometimes different ideas, sometimes very similar visions, but always revealing a great wealth of knowledge and highlighting the value that every voice counts.”


Carlos Ruano

Journalist and Founder of Newsbub

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