Our Diversity Strategy
"We want diversity on all levels and in every aspect, and it is my hope that the diversity of our businesses will be reflected in the diversity of people working for us."
Thomas Rabe, Chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann
Diversity is part of the 10 Point Program for the Future of Bertelsmann, presented by Chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe at the 2016 Bertelsmann Management Meeting.
Diversity is therefore also on the Group-wide HR agenda of Immanuel Hermreck, Chief Human Resources Officer of Bertelsmann and member of the Executive Board. The department of Corporate Responsibility & Diversity Management (CR&DM) reports directly to him, provides in-house consulting and is a strategic partner for Bertelsmann’s divisions and companies. CR&DM is supported by an international Diversity Working Group, with representatives from the divisions and Corporate Talent Management. The Executive Board and the Group Management Committee (GMC) regularly address matters of diversity – as do the Bertelsmann Management Representative Committee (BMRC), employee representatives, and other actors and committees at various levels of the Group.
As a decentralized company with a variety of business models, Bertelsmann's diversity strategy does not follow a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Each division targets its efforts based on the individual business case with the objective of further promoting Bertelsmann’s transformation process. Since individualized approaches offer the most added value, the implementation of concrete diversity objectives and measures is the responsibility of each of the divisions and their companies. The Group-wide Diversity Working Group provides support through its activities and impulses. Here you can find a divisional example for a diversity business case.
For Bertelsmann, diversity is among the keys to its economic success. A varied and diverse workforce has a positive impact on creativity and performance, as well as employee motivation. It enhances flexibility and success in the different markets. With their individual skills, experience and viewpoints, heterogeneous teams contribute to a diversity of perspectives in their company – with positive implications for business processes, decisions and innovation. Diversity also strengthens employer attractiveness. Diversity management helps to counter the risks resulting from demographic change. Additionally, it addresses the economic risks that arise where contracting governmental authorities require statutory quota compliance in public procurement processes, or with business partners having specific contractual requirements.
Diversity Management acts as a change agent and strategic partner for Bertelsmann’s divisions and companies. We see the cultural shift to more employee diversity as an evolutionary process, consisting of many measures and adjustments to the existing conditions. Changes require time and Bertelsmann prefers a systemic change model to quotas.
Bertelsmann promotes employee diversity through a variety of defined priorities and appropriate measures. The primary focus of Diversity Management is on gender, generations and cultural diversity.
We support a more diverse workforce through:
• corporate initiatives and pilot projects
• the design of decentralized measures
• sharing of best practice
• the integration of diversity factors into HR processes and corporate culture
For Bertelsmann, the diversity of its workforce is an basis for innovation and sustainable economic success in its various markets. But what exactly does diversity management mean? This section contains the most important questions and answers.
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What does Diversity mean?
Diversity means having, or being composed of different elements. In an organizational context, it refers to all characteristics and attributes that define the identity of an individual, with an emphasis on the inclusion of those different types of people.
Socio-demographic characteristics such as gender, age, ethnicity / nationality and physical ability are just some aspects of diversity to be considered. Diversity also includes less visible characteristics such as a person’s sexual orientation and identity, skill set, mind-set, social origin, religious affiliation, or communication style. Again, in the organizational context, diversity can even refer to ‘organizational dimensions,’ such as a person’s professional background, her/his function, or duration of company affiliation.
What is diversity management?
Bertelsmann Diversity Management addresses two levels:
• On the individual level, it is about recognizing, appreciating, and utilizing the different abilities of our colleagues.
• On the organizational level, diversity management works to anchor appreciation for differences and variety into our corporate culture and HR processes.
While primarily focusing our efforts on gender, generation and cultural diversity, we also develop measures and activities to address the inclusion of people with disabilities and issues around sexual orientation and identity.
The benefits for our businesses, such as greater innovation and stronger competitiveness, guide all our activities. Diversity management’s responsibilities are coordinated and shared with divisional representatives in our Diversity Working Group.
What are the overall objectives of diversity management?
The objective of Bertelsmann's diversity management is to foster appreciation for differences in our corporate culture, HR-processes and among our decision makers. Specifically, the Group wants to achieve the following:
• Transparency on employee diversity on all hierarchical levels
• Sensitize managers and decision makers to different diversity aspects, in particularly unconscious bias
• The development of tools to analyze the effects of demographic change
• Strengthen personnel policies to be "life-phase" oriented
• Building of a “Diversity Crowd” – employees who support diversity in their own area of responsibility
How can successful diversity management be quantified?
Diversity within the company can be measured by the statistical distribution of women, of international employees or disabled employees at several hierarchical levels of the company. Another indicator are the results of our employee survey. Indicators related to corporate culture demonstrate the extent to which diversity is embraced within the Group.
Ian Hudson, CEO of Dorling Kindersley (DK), talks about the Bertelsmann Management Representative Committee, diversity management at Bertelsmann, and the role of employee diversity at DK.
We have passed the stage of workforce diversity being only relevant for HR. Nowadays, it is a critical factor within almost all sectors of business.