Diversity (in German “individuelle Verschiedenheit”) is the focal topic of this issue of „Perspektiven“. Former federal chancellor Gerhard Schröder might be tempted to ask: “once again women and ado?”. Well, corporate diversity is all but different from ado and surely better than naivety. By all means, diversity is not the latest piece of business jargon, but rather a necessary element of good corporate leadership.
It is often overlooked, that diversity is indeed nothing entirely new. The difference between diversity below the threshold of perception and the current understanding of diversity is that contemporary diversity is fostered willingly and consciously. Also until now, our employees have been different so individually, as human beings intrinsically are, even if many major companies have being striving seriously to educate the aerodynamically styled employee who is oriented to law and order as well as to system conformity. These people are – in the very meaning of (the German word) employee – “work-takers” and to a less extent co-worker and surely no intrepreneurs, i.e. entrepreneurs within a company. Making co-entrepreneurs out of work-takers is only successful, if we fully accept people in their diversity. Only in this way companies will make use for themselves of people’s multiple capabilities.
Making it crystal clear, when speaking about diversity, we mean also but not solely the equal participation of women in jobs and management positions. Diversity is substantially more. E. g., it is also about relations between younger and older employees and at managerial staff, how to optimize the development of younger employees towards responsible portfolios, whilst safeguarding employability of older and experienced staff for the company. It is advisable to develop in time a set of intelligent ideas to let younger and older employees collaborate in efficient teams. In this way, a younger worker can take on responsibility gradually and her/ his older colleague can release it in the same pace. By doing so, appreciation is shown vis-a- vis the younger colleague and assures, that the older one is still energetic aged 63 or 65.
Women and men, young and old – much more examples can be found, in order to place people’s diversity in companies. To date, no one can allow any discrimination, let alone the damage to one’s image. Who dares to exclude employees owing to political, religious or sexual orientation, has already lost with her/ his customers. And this is true - against the background of current discussions on refugees - also for the origin of people. Let’s be grateful that these people want to join us because peace, security and prosperity prevail in our country. This is not a given in the context of German history in the previous century and does by far not hold for many other countries. To date, we can give back something. Let’s take in these people with open arms, as they will help us to secure our standard of living and they deserve to participate in it. We should not forget that Germany itself is the result of migration over centuries and many of us would find their roots in it. Let’s take care that we can perceive this diversity as a gift, too.