Posted on 06/05/2019 via BSH Home Appliances Group

“Different than expected” – Diversity Days at BSH

Whether it’s gender, nationality, culture, age or sexual orientation and identity – our differences are what makes us stronger as a community. At BSH, diversity is one of our core values. We strongly believe, that an open-minded environment and a diverse mix of employees is a key factor to a company’s success.

That’s why two weeks ago, for the second year in a row, we hosted the Diversity Days – an event not only celebrating diversity but working on the topic and moving it further. This time, the overall theme was “Different than expected”. Nearly everyone is capable of stereotyped thinking, even if it’s mostly unconscious. For this reason, we wanted to give much room for the topic of unconscious bias und the discussion of stereotypes and prejudices.

International participation
Even though the bulk of the workshops took place in our Munich headquarters, various other BSH-locations contributed all over the world with great activities, like e.g. Turkey, Northern America, Spain or the Netherlands. For example, the Netherlands exchanged workplaces in the office to connect with people who didn’t know each other. Several locations organized keynotes and diversity lunches about unconscious bias. More locations are currently planning activities.

Intensive discussions and workshops
In Munich, COO Silke Maurer opened the Diversity Days and subsequently discussed with colleagues and external guests on a panel discussion why they may be “different than expected”. For example, pilot Cordula Pflaum talked about how passengers might be biased when they hear a female voice from the cockpit. BSH employee Uwe Hauser from Regensburg reminisced about his time in Asia where he spent 15 years of his work life. Silke Maurer herself also took part in the discussion and talked about her experience in the automotive sector. Andrea Kellerer talked very personally about what being a transgender-person is like. The external Diversity expert Uwe Jablonski also shared his expertise about Unconscious Bias and Diversity in general.

The next day consisted of several workshops, such as “Intercultural Effectiveness” as well as sessions from employees who talked about their personal experiences with unconscious bias. Lunch time consisted of a brown bag session with three female managers who further addressed the topic of unconscious bias and stereotypes. The second Diversity Days ended with a keynote called “Bullshit that only women believe in” by Anna Rossi, author of the same name bestseller.

Looking forward
After two days of lively discussions, panels and presentations Marion Fischer from the Corporate Human Resources department comes to a positive conclusion: “Keeping in mind that we only just established the Diversity Days in 2018, we were absolutely delighted about this year’s achievement. We had a great turnout, very good feedbacks and exciting discussions in which we all learned a lot. I think it’s a great and important topic which we will continue developing for sure further on. So, we’re really looking forward to the future.”