Diversity is an opportunity for change
Why Bosch stands for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Even the company's founder, Robert Bosch, placed great value on diverse talents and perspectives – and on creating an appreciative environment for all associates. This is not the only reason why diversity is now an essential component of our corporate values and part of our corporate strategy.
“In a large, well-managed company, it is generally not the case that someone can say that they were solely responsible for a particular action. In such a company, cooperation is a must and each individual depends on the other.”
The world is changing. And Bosch is also changing – toward becoming a leading AIoT company. Especially in times of transformation, we need diversity more than ever: The uniqueness of our employees, their personalities, experiences and perspectives drive change.
We unleash this potential by including everyone and ensuring equal opportunities. Diversity then makes us innovative and agile. And so diversity becomes the key to our long-term corporate success and to the benefit of each and every individual.
Filiz Albrecht is a member of the Board of Management and Director of Industrial Relations at Robert Bosch GmbH. Her responsibilities include, among others, human resources and social affairs. As director of industrial relations, the issue of diversity is essential to her. “Diversity has always been firmly anchored within our corporate values,” she emphasized. “We work with diverse teams because we know they often develop better results and find solutions. Different perspectives provide important impetus for new ideas. For me, diversity, equity and inclusion are decisive keys to being successful as a company and attractive as an employer.”
“For me, diversity, equity and inclusion are key factors to be successful as a company and an attractive place to work.”
Petra Kama-Welle is responsible for Diversity Management at Bosch and Vice President Corporate HR Transformation Team: Leadership, Learning & Organization. She deals a lot with unconscious thinking patterns, so-called Unconscious Bias. “To achieve equity, for example, fair hiring processes are important because as interview participants in a job application situation, some people may quickly tend to fall back on unconscious thought patterns,” she said. “Quite automatically, for example, we find people more likeable who are similar to us. Of course, that doesn't mean they are therefore more suitable for a particular job.” In order to attract the objectively best associates to Bosch, for example, we have seminars available as a tool specifically for executives and HR managers that looks at the entire personnel selection process. They experience their own unconscious thinking patterns in various practical situations and reflect on them.
The range of over 100 working time models at Bosch also increases equal opportunities for associates: “This way, we allow everyone to be involved in the way that is best for them personally,” Petra explained. However, not only fair opportunities are important, but also a culture in which everyone can be who they are. Only in this way can all employees contribute their full potential and develop.
“Diversity can also be exhausting,” Petra said. “For example, when a team member has a completely different way of working than I do. But in an atmosphere of respect and trust, different opinions and ways of thinking lead to better solutions! That is why we are working in an international network to promote an open culture in which everyone can contribute their opinions and ideas and be heard. We are supported in this by our diversity networks and numerous communities working on these issues around the world.”
Ayfer Flora Teixeira works as Global Category Manager at BSH Hausgeräte in Germany in an international team and has often benefited from its diversity: “By having different perspectives, we always find the best way to deal with current demands.” She also sees the opportunities to learn from each other as a great advantage. But that was not always the case: When Ayfer moved from Turkey to Germany for BSH in 2011, she first had to get used to the new culture and way of working. But because not only she but also her new colleagues were open to each other's ideas and approaches, she quickly felt part of the team. “Inclusion always involves both sides,” Ayfer said, stressing the importance of openness from everyone involved. “As a new colleague, it was important for me to learn new things, but also to remain authentic.” This is in line with Bosch's understanding of diversity: Because this only works if employees can show their uniqueness and this is appreciated.
Hiromi Sato, HR Developer at Bosch in Japan, deals a lot with the topic of diversity. “Sometimes we focus too much on our differences,” Hiromi said. Above all, creating a safe environment where everyone feels heard and respected is important, in her experience. “I've experienced situations myself where I didn't speak my mind clearly because I lacked that safe atmosphere,” Hiromi recalled. That's why she believes it's even more important to create such an environment for others: “Just a little more empathy makes a big difference. Diversity often leads to surprises because, for example, a colleague approaches a topic completely differently than I do. I then take a brief moment to remind myself that this is exactly what diversity is. Then I think about how we can best benefit from that in this situation.”
“For me, diversity means being able to be myself,” said Dan Lazarescu, Head of the Hardware Engineering Department at Cluj, Romania. “For that to be possible, we also need inclusion,” Dan said. In his opinion, openness and curiosity are particularly important for this. He has experienced this himself, especially when working in international teams. “For me, diversity is both exciting and motivating. I've seen the benefits of diversity on many teams and believe that issues like diversity are essential to the future of business.”