AEG Europe, a subsidiary of AEG Worldwide, is the world leader in sports and live entertainment. From operating venues like The O2 and Mercedes-Benz Arena, to entertaining fans with renowned festivals like All Points East and American Express BST Hyde Park, the company is well versed in operating in rich and diverse geographies and communities. Internally, with over 1000 employees across 12 different offices and venues, creating a business that is as inclusive and representative as the fan base it entertains each and every day, is of paramount importance to AEG Europe.
One of the ways they have cemented inclusivity at the heart of their culture, is through the rollout of their 2019 ‘We All Make a Difference’ initiative – a comprehensive action plan which sets out a clear set of priorities and accountable actions to foster a culture of inclusion. With the aim of ensuring employees feel a sense of belonging, connection and – most importantly – are respected, a subsequent addition was the introduction of eight Employee Network Groups (ENGs) in 2021.
Meaningful employee network groups
Inspired by the companies four values – We Play As A Team, We Raise The Bar, We Wow Our Customers, and We All Make A Difference – the ENGs help drive change by giving employees a greater voice, as well as fostering a culture of shared accountability.
Perhaps most relevant to us at BYP is the company’s ‘We All make a Difference’ subset of ENGs, focused on families, women, embRACE, Pride, as well as a group centered around mental health and wellbeing. These focused ENGs provide identifying and representative employees with a voice and help to ensure issues are surfaced, barriers are eliminated, and employees can reach their potential – irrespective of who you are and how you identify.
Ensuring they’re walking the walk, the ENGs also launched an employee-led survey in the summer of 2021, with the results used to shape further initiatives across the business to continuously improve upon their culture. One such example can be seen in the introduction of a new forum titled ‘ENGgage’ driven by the Women @ AEG Europe ENG. The ENGage events – with titles like Allyship in Action, Bias Breakers and Choose to Challenge – allow the company’s female and female-identifying employees to share experiences, build awareness, educate and engage with one another.
In close collaboration with the People & Culture teams, the work of the ENGs filter down into important people-facing initiatives, such as the development of a mentorship and leadership program, as well as creating a new approach to performance reviews. The Women @AEG Europe ENG are in close consultation on actions needed to mitigate any potential gender pay gap for example, as well as the investment in the Inspire Program, which provides further career development support for female and female-identifying employees.
Sadly, all too often it is marginalised groups and junior employees bearing the brunt of DEI work and commitments – not the case at AEG Europe. What sets the business apart is the company’s commitment to its ENGs at all levels of the business, with all Groups represented by an executive sponsor. In placing leadership at the heart of each ENG, the company ensures a commitment to an inclusive culture from the top down, as well as bottom up. With researching leaning towards the fundamental importance of buy-in and belief in DEI at a senior executive level, AEG Europe’s commitment to its ENG groups is empowering.
“When we first rolled out our ENGs, it was extremely important to us that all employees had a voice and that those voices had a microphone. We feel that in directly involving our senior most executives, it drives greater accountability and that resources are allocated to address these. It’s helped to eliminate any ‘bottle neck’ so to speak,” says Kirstie Loveridge, EVP, People and Culture, AEG Europe.
“We mean what we say – it’s not just lip service – and the simplest way for us to demonstrate this is to lead by example,” Kirstie adds.
The Company are in constant dialogue with the ENGs which form a core part of decision-making. AEG’s vision, ‘Best in Class, Always,’ means they’re relentless in their pursuit of a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture and are frequently reviewing and evolving their practices to ensure they’re reflective of best practice and continue to raise the bar.