ISS. WOMEN SERVICES AND QUALITY
This September the Milan Design Week ended with a great number of people visiting Superstudio Più, 35.781 to be precise. These are important numbers that tell us more than a thousand words. Indeed, they prove to be a positive response to those who strongly wanted this edition, reminding the whole world of the strength and appeal of Italian design and its international capital, Milan. ISS Facility services took part in the Superdesign Show 2021 Special Edition, supporting the DONNE&DESIGN exhibition, conceived by Gisella Borioli, founder of Superstudio, and curated by Silvana Annichiarico. A first collaboration focused on a very topical issue and realized along with an important educational reality in Italy, the IULM University. ISS, a leading company in the service sector, tells us the reasons for its commitment to equality and inclusion through the words of its head of marketing activities for ISS, Nicolò Abbate.
Women working as designers, architects, design professionals are becoming more and more. Often, still today insufficiently recognized. That is why the initiative DONNE&DESIGN wanted to focus on the role and creativity of these women. ISS embraced our vision, supporting the project: could you explain us why?
ISS has always been committed to the enhancement of talents and the promotion of gender inclusion, which is why we have enthusiastically supported the DONNE&DESIGN project. As one of the largest private employers in the world, ISS is committed to promoting, raising and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion. At ISS we encourage diversity in its broadest terms, including age, gender, nationality, culture, language, religion, physical ability, education and abilities, recognising gender inclusion as a key competitive advantage. We recently signed the Women Empowerment Principles, a document aimed at promoting and empowering women in their workplace. At ISS we embraced the best initiatives reflecting our desire to foster and ensure the development of female talent in their workplace and community.
D: This is the first collaboration of ISS with the Milan Design Week. How did you live this experience? How important is for you to collaborate with realities active in the field of culture and training such as Superstudio and IULM?
Our mission is to play a proactive role by adapting, training and learning the needs of people in different countries, ensuring that they acquire the skills necessary to succeed both in the social and in the professional field. It is becoming increasingly evident that the skills required are evolving rapidly as a result of the deep changes due to digitalization and globalization. In addition, we believe that the processes of emancipation and inclusion should pass through culture and training: for this reason, the opportunity to collaborate for the first time with realities active in different areas such as Superstudio and IULM proved to be a unique and more than positive experience.
D: Design nowadays applies to increasingly different areas. “Designing” does not only mean designing products, but also designing services, methods and experiences. Do you think it is important for ISS activities to use service design? Applying it, for example, to rethinking places and work practices, which are necessary today as a result of last year great changes?
Our motto is "people make places and places make people": the services we provide and the places we design are thought to put people and their needs at the center. The design of spaces allows us to face the management of all operating environments, guarantee health, safety, create a strong sense of belonging, increase productivity, but, above all, spread a feeling of well-being to all those people living in those places. Following the great changes of last year, the places and workspaces in which we operate need to be rethought and reimagined and design, in its broadest sense, plays a fundamental role in doing that, as it does not limit to the design of objects and spaces that contain them, but also includes processes and services stimulating us to rethink them in a creative way.
D: You currently work in over thirty countries, having a clear vision of how the role of working women has evolved in recent years. Is that so?
Compared to just a few years ago, the presence of women in the field of design has changed, as well as in the world of Facility Management. At ISS we are used to thinking about the individual as a person, beyond its gender. ISS is a global community present in more than 30 countries, composed by over 400,000 colleagues and this allows us to have an in-depth view of how the role of working women has evolved in recent years on a global scale. While they enjoy equal opportunities and rights in some parts of the world, in many other countries they do not see the role of women equally respected, for example for the significant difference in average gross hourly earnings, that is pay-gap. Although women make up 50% of workforce at ISS, they still represent only 25% of our leadership teams, which is why we are committed to achieving the goal of at least 40% gender equality in the company leadership by 2025.