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Innovation through diversity: Investing in diversity as a gain for corporate culture

The world of work is changing rapidly and with it the requirements Company . Long-term economic success depends crucially on the ability not only to keep up with new developments, but also to help shape them creatively. Diversity offers many opportunities here.

Diversity or the new social dimension of work

What opportunities does diversity offer for innovation, productivity and the attractiveness of companies? What role does the discussion about the women's quota play in this? And how can and must the management of a company reposition itself?

Because the accelerated digitization of work brings the social aspect of cooperation into focus. This increased awareness of interpersonal dynamics primarily affects corporate culture and thus leadership.

New understanding of leadership: openness to diversity, flexibility and empowerment

When dealing with the worries, but also the wishes and ideas of employees, the question arises about the opportunities of diversity: How can the potential be realized that arises from opening German management levels to women and other “diverse” candidates?

In international comparison, Germany has a lot of catching up to do in terms of equality, for example with Sweden and France - but is slowly catching up. According to the DIW female manager barometer, for the first time more than 10 percent of board positions in Germany's 200 top-selling companies are held by women. Forced by politics, the problem of the lack of professional equality for women is receiving ever greater public attention. Rightly. But can equality be achieved through legal regulation?

The women's quota can discriminate against women

In fact, this can lead to even more stigmatization of women. Candidates who take on leadership roles through performance are thus considered to be “quota women”. At the same time, the controversial debate about gender parity in top positions is causing men to start feeling disadvantaged. If the quota does not exist, this discussion is undone. Instead, the parameters should be improved that enable women and other “diverse” candidates to have a career.

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This not only means that flexible working has to be established in everyday working life over the long term. A leadership is required that allows and enables diversity and can provide a direction. It's about placing trust and taking employees accountable. This form of empowerment enables employees to make a contribution to the overall success of the company.

This is how companies can benefit from diversity

The reorientation towards a broad or “diverse” profile of employees offers decisive advantages for companies. 92 percent of German company managements are convinced of this. This is the result of the study in which we at Signium in cooperation with Performance and Engagement Ltd. surveyed executives around the world on diversity and inclusion.

In fact, according to a McKinsey study, companies with female executives even record significant increases in profits. This financial advantage underpins the strategic relevance of diversity. But other areas of the company can also benefit from it.

Innovative strength: local know-how for greater competitiveness

Mixed teams are better able to cope with the increasingly complex requirements of our new working world. Especially in economically difficult phases, they help to make companies crisis-proof and successful in the long term. For this, their different opinions have to be heard, and their perspectives have to be integrated into the corporate vision. This is a central task of corporate management.

Instead of the classic "alpha" sole decision maker, agile managers are required who recognize the local know-how of their employees and support them in applying it in the right areas. Our study shows that managers are less likely to be held responsible than they say they are committed to promoting diverse teams. The pressing question that companies and their managers have to answer for themselves is: How open to diversity and innovation do they want to be?

3 tips for promoting diversity in the company

How can companies now specifically promote diversity? To do this, you should follow the steps below:

1. Develop a consistent diversity strategy

This requires a corporate culture with clear regulations that are coordinated by the diversity officer.

  • Communicate your goals and expectations: The cultural change affects language and work regulations at the same time. Promote the participation of all employees in the joint project.
  • Include leaders and teams: Further training offers form the basis for implementing a “diverse” corporate culture. Regular meetings on the topic create solutions to possible obstacles. Team building workshops promote productive collaboration between “diverse” teams.
  • Make diversity a central HR topic: Whether in recruiting or in personnel development, you can rely on a wide range of talents and skills. Develop a “talent roadmap” with concrete steps and measures that will help you to develop those skills that would otherwise remain hidden.

2. Work culture: performance through more openness and cohesion

The successful implementation of diversity as a corporate guiding principle means using talent correctly: filling the right candidates for the right job. In addition to technical competence, it is often a matter of “cultural fit”.

A company that promotes heterogeneous teams increases the chance that future talents will find connection and become productive. Because candidates who are versatile, experienced and interested are generally more positive and open towards diversity.

3. Employer branding: The charisma of various workforces

Diversity is also becoming increasingly important for employer branding. Today more than ever, candidates check where they are going, how their employer acts and what appreciation is shown to employees. According to our study, corporate management is less aware of this dimension of diversity (89 percent) than HR managers (94 percent).

The shortage of specialists and managers will persist in various fields, regardless of the consequences of the pandemic for the labor market. Our study illustrates the urgency that this topic has for German corporate management in an international comparison: When asked "Is your company successful in recruiting 'diverse" executives? ", Only 84 percent of the executives surveyed in Germany answered" Yes "while it is 98 percent in Canada.

Conclusion: Diversity determines the competitiveness of companies

The long-term competitiveness of companies depends on better assessing performance, smoothing career paths, and driving the necessary change in corporate and leadership culture. In order to take advantage of the opportunities offered by diversity, it is not just gender or nationality that counts. Especially with candidates with a socially disadvantaged background, it is important to be open to their individual talents and abilities.

It takes courageous managers who stand up for the company. Candidates who started through the second educational path or who come from a simple background often present themselves with this motto: "I have achieved my own success, I face the challenges and I am ready to make a contribution to the company". Exactly this hunger for success is a great opportunity for diversity that must be used.

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