How can companies encourage diversity?
reading time: ca. 4 minutes
- Diversity expresses the variety of people and ways of life. It aims to create equal opportunities, equality and inclusion,
- Every person belongs to us as a matter of course. Neither your language, your appearance, nor a disability is important.
- The “Charta der Vielfalt“ provides the basis for diversity management by advancing the world of work in the areas of recognition, appreciation and inclusion.
- Further it offers huge advantages for the future viability of companies. Young employees are increasingly looking for employers who live diversity.
Perfect? No. Corners and edges? Yes, of course! Diversity is common – and that's a good thing. Our world is becoming more diverse and colourful every day. Our society is characterized by variety and enriched by it. For young employees, diversity plays a major role in their decision to choose an employer.
Diverse teams are the driver of innovation, knowledge and advancement. Each team member has personal strengths and thus promotes creativity in projects. As a result, companies become more efficient and successful.
What does diversity actually mean?
Diversity expresses the variety of people and ways of living – and to recognize and value all of them. The discovery of similarities is as important as the differences. Synonyms are often used with terms such as heterogeneity, difference, or variousness.
Our personal characteristics define us as individuals and distinguish us from each other. Two people may have the same age and background, but their education or religious beliefs may be different. Many personality attributes are unchangeable, but some change during life. These include work experience, ideology or marital status.
These characteristics are also associated with negative aspects such as stereotypes and prejudices. As a result, they are often reasons why certain people are disadvantaged. The term diversity, on the other hand, provides a positive view of differences. It aims to create equal opportunities, equality and inclusion.
How we live diversity at OVB
OVB not only employs people with corners and edges, we specifically target them. We are not looking for perfect people. Firstly, no one is perfect and secondly, that would be pretty boring. OVB is diverse and colourful – and we take responsibility for that. With us, no personality has to fit into a one-size-fits-all scheme. That's why our credo is: "Be just the way you are – honest and authentic."
Everyone is welcome at OVB. OVB is represented in 15 countries over Europe. Thus, we are the only financial service provider which is active throughout Europe. In Europe, we stand together and take responsibility for each other. The focus at OVB is on people. And that is exactly where our strength comes from: from each and every individual who works with us.
We support equality: Everyone is welcome to work at OVB – whether as a financial advisor, in one of our national headquarters or directly in our holding company. Different personalities enable us to gain different perspectives. And that is crucial for us as an employer.
How are diversity and inclusion related?
We need less stairs. Why? In order that the heavily packed mother doesn't have to lift the stroller all the way up the stairs by herself. Instead, she can take the elevator without stressing out. In order that elderly people don't have to climb all the stairs effortfully and feel like an obstacle. Instead, they can simply take the elevator. That's what inclusion is about: we are open to others and it is normal to be different.
Everyone counts, and everyone is allowed to join in. Neither your language, your appearance nor a disability is important. This is true at school, in your leisure time and at work. Together we are different. Everyone is accepted just as they are. Inclusion is a human right that is written into the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Germany has signed this treaty along with many other countries. However, in order for the treaty to be upheld, there is still a lot of work to be done in all countries.
The terms diversity and inclusion overlap regarding their content. They only differ in concept: diversity refers to a level of observation and inclusion deals with the concrete goals of action.
How can companies encourage diversity management?
In many companies, diversity involves a cultural change that is often met with resistance. Yet diversity management has enormous advantages for the future viability of companies. Young employees are increasingly looking for employers who focus on social and cultural support. Companies should therefore take the initiative and actively encourage diversity.
There are concrete actions that companies can implement to encourage diversity management – and to address diverse target groups whenever possible.
- Celebration days on diversity: International days that celebrate diversity can also be celebrated in the company.
- Diverse job postings: In HR, jobs should be staffed regardless of specific characteristics, such as gender – it's the people themselves that count.
- Working across departments: When teams work together across disciplines, it boosts their creativity and innovation potential.
- Intercultural offerings: These include breaking down dress codes, offers for families or flexible working hours, for example for prayer times.
- Workshops: Diversity workshops can be offered in companies to raise awareness.
What is the “Charta der Vielfalt“?
Variety has many dimensions. When companies establish diversity management, they need a foundation. The German “Charta der Vielfalt“ provides this by advancing the world of work in the areas of recognition, appreciation and inclusion. In this context, the similarities are as important as their differences. At their core, the dimensions relate to the following areas:
- Social origin
- Ethical origin and nationality
- Gender and gender identity
- Physical and mental abilities
- Religion and belief
- Sexual orientation
Why should companies encourage diversity management? They reach out to new target groups and markets and develop an understanding of them. Diverse teams create improved and more innovative solutions. And the shortage of specialists can be addressed.
The world of work is constantly changing as a result of new economic and social trends. The sooner companies respond to these trends, the better. Diversity management is the key and shows new ways to take advantage of these trends. Internally, we can increase the satisfaction of our employees through diversity. This in turn has an impact on the performance of our managers and employees. Diversity management is the foundation for diverse teams to work together successfully – and thus achieve a better result and increase their productivity.
Diversity as a success factor: Five tips for more variety in companies
These five tips reveal how companies can create more diversity.
Tipp 1: Training managers
We can't take for granted that everyone is aware of diversity in the workplace. As the link between employees and directors, managers need to know how to support and encourage each individual. Cultural awareness workshops are a good first step.
Tipp 2: Encourage engagement
Whether work-related activities or company trips – if employees want to volunteer, they should have the opportunity to do so. This could be a site visit to another location or a journey with the team.
Tipp 3: Mentoring programs
Mentoring programs allow everyone the opportunity for personal development. Each new employee is assigned a mentor, regardless of gender, age or other factors.
Tipp 4: Inclusive HR policy
The application process must also be designed barrier-free so that, for example, people with disabilities can apply for jobs. This also includes a barrier-free working environment and trained staff to promote inclusion.
Tipp 5: Support families
For parents with children, flexible working hours with the option of working from home make sense. In addition, companies can create internal offers for childcare.