Hi and welcome to my blog! I am excited to share with you my latest experiences and insights into sustainable projects at Evonik. Now that you are ready, let’s dive into >> Diversity & Inclusion <<!
A brief story
Before I give you an insight into the work of the Diversity & Inclusion team, I would like to tell you a little story. Get involved and visualize the situations!
1) You have been invited to a conference in another city, which you are very much looking forward to, because the keynote speech will be given by a highly innovative startup CEO.
2) During the flight to the conference, something very unexpected happens, there is a problem with the plane's engine, the situation is a bit turbulent, but you eventually land safely. You are so grateful that you decide to thank the crew & pilot team for a great job.
3) The conference ends and you go out for dinner with some nice people you've met. During the dinner you sit next to a table where a couple recently got engaged;
4) Back in the office, you make an appointment with your line manager, one of the most respected executives in the company, to report on your trip.
And now, visualize the following questions. Afterwards, feel free to look at the pictures.
Who is the CEO of the start-up?
Who lands the plane safely?
Which two people got engaged in the restaurant?
Who are you reporting to?
Don't worry, I felt the same way when the D&I team gave me the impulse on the topic of "unconscious bias" and I felt pretty much caught. I realized how strongly society thinks about stereotypes without being aware of it.
We meet diversity with diversity - that is Evonik's motto. Since 2016, the Diversity Council - consisting of representatives from the divisions and regions - has been managing and bundling Evonik's diversity-related activities and defining mid-term goals and key figures.
As a part of my internship, I was able to spend two days with the Diversity & Inclusion department, which advises and supports Evonik in implementing the goals set by the Council. Here I visited a workplace that supports and employs people with barriers to employment, took part in a meeting of the representative body for employees with disabilities, and during a presentation for new employees, caught myself and many other participants thinking in stereotypes. Do you also feel caught when you think back to the short story?
Responsibilities of the Diversity & Inclusion Department
Diversity and inclusion is a very important concern for Evonik and this also applies to the employees I met during my two days with both the D&I team and the representative body for severely disabled employees. And I can only say that these people are fully committed to the topic and are driving the implementation of diversity and inclusion goals for employees' benefit.
The Diversity & Inclusion team is basically there to raise awareness of Diversity & Inclusion issues within the company, whether through mentoring, training, lunch & learns, in-house fairs or presentations. It is also available at all times to provide advice and support throughout the entire employee cycle and coordinates collaboration between the various departments.
Networking, empowering together and learning from each other
Evonik now has seven so-called Employee Resource Groups/ERGs, such as groW, the women's network, and FoNeMa, the forum for new employees. You can read more about this in my first report. I also learned about the Femtec initiative in the Employer Branding department where I work. Femtec offers women the opportunity to start a successful career in industry and science after studying STEM subjects.
Behinderten Werk Main-Kinzig - Workplaces for disabled people (WfbM)
The visit to the workplace on the company campus in Hanau was my personal highlight. This is a workplace of the BWMK (Behinderten Werk Main-Kinzig) organization. It was fantastic to see how happy the people were to be starting their jobs and how warmly we were welcomed and shown around.
It is worth mentioning that they take care of the digitalization of all kinds of contract documents, files and other things for a wide range of customers in the region. During our visit, we tried to gain an insight into the day-to-day business of the workplace and to see how the needs of the employees can be combined with the conditions at the company campus. Here, attention is paid to ensuring that the employees from the workshop feel just as comfortable as the employees at Evonik, as they use the canteen and the health Centre together.
Diversity at Evonik includes not only gender and nationality, but also dimensions such as origin, generation, people with severe disabilities, culture and different ways of thinking. The two days showed me once again that the diversity of people at Evonik, coupled with respectful and tolerant interactions, are a key pillar of success.