Diversity – from the compulsory to the voluntary

Why this topic is important to me

Admittedly, diversity is not exactly a “light-footed” topic and is certainly controversial. The call for more diversity sometimes comes across as instructive or with a raised forefinger. That’s really not what I’m talking about.
Rather, I would like to try to understand diversity in such a way that diversity can help companies – to use a sporty term – to take off in freestyle positions that we might not have been able to imagine before.
And who among us would not like to make his project, his team, his company fly?
So let’s move from the compulsory to the freestyle

Diversity as a duty

In sporting competition, the compulsory part includes mandatory elements to make it easier for the judges to directly compare the performance of the competitors.
Diversity is often still limited as a compulsory task to a balanced ratio of male and female employees and leaders in management and governing boards. The introduction of a mandatory quota of women on German management boards of listed companies with more than 3 board members and with equal representation can be cited as an example.
– Have you already addressed the issue of diversity in your company?
– Are you affected by legal regulations or are you convinced of a real added value?
– Do you have a network at your disposal to fill management positions in a balanced way and perhaps according to a quota?
– What is the situation in your company with a talent pool so that internal careers are also possible?
– Do you already have role models for lived diversity in your environment that others can follow?

Diversity as a multidimensional value system

Diversity is so much more than the relationship between female and male employees and managers. It can be seen as a valuable addition in areas such as demography, value system, character, social status and knowledge. Differentiated perspectives, an understanding of the concern for alternatives and the openness and acceptance for visionary lateral thinkers who can drive innovation well ahead of their time have been proven to lead to higher productivity. As early as 2015, McKinsey documented a sustainable increase in EBIT of 3.5% with a simultaneous increase in diversity of 10% in the study “Why diversity matters”.
– Do you already have diverse teams and what are your experiences?
– Would you like support in setting up diverse teams?
Diversity management as part of the corporate strategy
Many well-known examples of international companies prove that diverse teams work more successfully, that employees feel a stronger connection to the company, feel perceived and understood in such a way that they can develop and unfold their performance and willingness to perform to the advantage of all participants and to increase the success of the organisation.
The approach to management lies in the targeted perception and use of the diversity of people, organisational environments and stakeholders in order to create structural and social conditions based on this.
The expected increase in diversity, e.g. also due to legal obligations in companies, the possibilities of positive and also negative effects on team and company success make an actively controlled diversity management necessary.
– Have you anchored diversity management in your corporate strategy?
– Are you interested in the Diversity Charter and would like more information?
– Does your company have a diversity officer?

Diversity in management

The management recognises diversity, actively meets it with appreciation and thus enables itself to react to changes at short notice. The management bodies take responsibility and become orchestrators of diversity in their own company.
Inclusion, the open involvement of all stakeholders and their acceptance play an important role in this. Diverse teams want to be led in an inclusive way. Inclusion is not just a method here, but rather a necessary interaction.
– Do you work with diagnostic tools to be able to perceive and visualise the diversity in your company more efficiently?
– Do you take the time to better understand your own leadership and thus put together your team in such a way that you have the right mix of people in your team depending on the situation?
– Do you assemble teams in your company according to agile methods and situational contexts?
– Do you need personal tools to be able to perform your task as an orchestrator of diversity?

Diversity has to be measurable

To ensure that diversity is firmly anchored in the company, key figures that are measurable, sustainable and important must be integrated into the overall system. This is the only way to meaningfully formulate and evaluate diversity goals in a corporate strategy.
There are various criteria for making diversity in the company measurable. While some take a look at the employee structure and increase the percentage of women in management positions, others measure the motivation of their employees by means of the fluctuation rate. Other measurements can include KPIs (percentage of women in management positions, percentage of women in 2nd and 3rd management levels), feedback systems including 360 degree feedback, competence matrices, HR reporting tools, surveys or income reports.
– Do you have measurable diversity data in your company?
– Are you interested in making diversity measurable in your company and implementing appropriate measurement tools?

Diversity becoming voluntary

In the freestyle part, athletes choose their movement sequences freely and vary them according to their own discretion and ability. They draw from their full repertoire and thus makes the difference. Not only are their performances less easily comparable, they also create a real competitive advantage.
If diversity is lived as part of the corporate strategy, leadership is then defined and lived, and it is anchored in the relevant performance measurement systems and thus becomes measurable, then diversity has the potential to become an important lever for corporate success. The more open a company is to diversity, the more diverse the people who work within it and ultimately enrich the corporate culture.
Do you want to use and expand diversity in your company to gain a strategic competitive advantage?
Then you are very welcome to arrange a personal appointment at your company or via zoom or team meeting with me:

Birn + Partners, Germany

Nicola Oetker-Hilker

+49 172 6464785 or noh@birn-partners.com

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