Catawiki: the complexity of diversity
Catawiki is an online marketplace and auction house for rare, vintage collectables such as art, jewelry, watches, & classic cars.
Industry: Private Equity
Company Size: +650 employees
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Extra: Most-visited curated marketplace in Europe
Topic: Diversity & Inclusion
Catawiki is an online auction platform for buying and selling special items and collectables. With more than 650 employees available in 60 different countries, diversity within the team is an evidence. Another evidence is the complexity of diversity. Think about diversity in terms of nationality, culture, gender, experience, personality, interests and more. As 78 percent of their employees find D&I a priority topic, being neutral is no longer a good idea. That’s why Catawiki organised a task group responsible for an inclusive workplace. As for this project, they wanted the workplace to be more LGBTQ+ inclusive. Changing policies and all that is important, but the real change is within employees' minds. Catawiki knew they had to express their unity, but Sunday helped spread the message in the most impactful way imaginable. By celebrating employee differences with unique personalized clothing, that everyone can wear on dedicated days or whenever they want to express themselves. Read more about the benefits of a diverse workforce. After all, a sound D&I strategy makes good business and economic sense.
At Catawiki you can find your next statement piece, timeless accessory, piece of the action, or road trip. But at Sunday Catwiki found a partner in their own challenge. Winning in diversity & inclusion.
Catawiki is the most-visited curated marketplace in Europe for special objects, offering over 65,000 objects for auction each week. With operations in 60 countries and customers in 17 different languages, they want to offer a global marketplace that feels like home.
As for their employees, Catawiki wants to build a home with a great internal culture. What this challenge is about is aligning their corporate culture especially with the LGBTQ+ community. This customer story shows different solutions we worked out for Catawiki that are critical to create truly inclusive workplaces.
Catawiki: an online auction platform for buying and selling special items and collectibles.
Founded in 2008 with a mission to make special objects more accessible. Catawiki now offers over 600 auctions each week, across multiple categories such as collectables, art, design, jewellery, watches, classic cars and more.
The 2020 corona year did Catawiki no harm, as many trade fairs, markets, galleries, auction houses and stores were forced to suspend their activities. On top of that, in recent years we have seen a shift from offline sales to online sales. Corona has certainly given Catawiki another boost. Last year they sold for a total of 450 million euros and this year they want to hit the 1,000-employee mark.
Diversity & Inclusion, a handful of challenges
Catawiki’s biggest strength? 250 experts specialised in a wide range of fields, and more than 650 employees available in 60 different countries. Which means that their workplace is therefore increasingly diverse in terms of nationality, culture, gender, experience, personality, interests and more. Despite diversity being their biggest strength, stimulating diversity and inclusion in the workplace do come with a handful of challenges.
According to a study by Forbes 6 in 10 employers say diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a priority for their company, only 1 in 3 employers have initiatives, policies or a D&I team in place. Catawiki does have a task group, responsible for diversity and inclusion and corporate culture and values, willing to overcome social issues in the workplace. Right now, there are many social issues at play, think about BlackLivesMatter or Gender Inequality. As for this project they want to make the workplace more LGBTQ+ inclusive.
Ready to drive their diversity, Catawiki have sent their task group to us. Being neutral is no longer a good idea because it could do more harm than good. Employees need to feel that the company chooses to stand with them rather than being passive. More than that, HR managers need to be aware of what is going on with their employees in order to take a stand quickly. Every employee wants to feel safe and supported by the company where they work. The diverse composition of different communities such as LGBTQ+ pose challenges for creating a corporate culture - but in this complexity lies the solution.
Dripped in rainbow solutions
Companies must take an active role in identifying and resolving intentional and unintentional biases toward minority groups as quickly as possible. In addition to changing policies to be more inclusive to their LGBTQ+ employees, companies should consider implementing diversity or pride days dedicated to celebrating employee differences. What better way to express your unity than with unique personalized clothing, everyone can wear on these dedicated days. It brings the team together and helps everyone to bond more.
With pride month coming up, we designed and produced a Merch box with rainbow colored sport socks, cardboards with QRcode to their own pride playlist and even personalized cards and stickers dripped in colorful sparkles. Catawiki organised internal pride days showing their support to their employees. And even after these days people can keep wearing unique clothing. This keeps it top of mind and reminds employees that they are an inclusive workplace.
Because Catawiki didn’t have to worry about offices full of boxes and the hassle of making and shipping boxes. We linked Merchbot® (our shipping tool) to Catawiki’s HR software to automatically send their employees a Merch Box®. We made sure their employees were surprised with the box on their desk. And not to forget their 700 personalized boxes, made sure we could plant 14 trees in Peru! Speak of tackling two social issues with one action!
Catawiki’s workforce has undergone a fundamental shift. To maintain an inclusive workplace means to consistently communicate and seek the feedback of all of your employees. Even though there is a learning curve in the process of diversity and inclusion. Following internal discussions with employees and their partners, only one conclusion could be made. This project was successful. Catawiki stood out during the event and felt like one team. With their unique items they were able to create one home for all employees scattered around the globe.
According to the Catawikians this pride month has allowed them to learn more about others as well as themself and inspired them to be who they are. They were able to share, listen and get involved in the community around Catawiki and everywhere. The benefits of a diverse workforce not only provides social harmony at work for the employees, but also increases productivity and profitability that will help the organisation to succeed in the global marketplace.