3 questions for…Karsten Ottenberg about Diversity
Last year, BSH was one of nearly 2,500 companies in Germany to sign the Diversity Charter. The content of the charter states that we see diversity as an opportunity.
That is true, but it’s naturally not limited to Germany. For BSH, the topic is very important on an international level. We firmly believe that we can only enjoy business success if we recognize existing diversity and utilize it for the goals of the company. That includes our suppliers, partners and consumers, and our employees in particular.
Each individual brings different talents and skills as well as strengths and weaknesses. That can only benefit all of us. And studies have shown that diverse teams are more successful. Although that might occasionally lead to friction or disagreements, I would like to encourage all of you to address these issues, see them as an enrichment, and learn to appreciate them.
Our Guiding Principles include the statement: “We appreciate and encourage diversity for the enrichment it brings, and see it as essential for our success.” Yet simply including “diversity” as a value does not in itself make BSH diverse, does it?
It is a clear signal that diversity is important to us. True, diversity does not exist simply by virtue of being part of a statement. It is something that we need to openly embrace and put into practice every single day. And it affects each one of us, every day. Diversity has many facets, from gender, nationality, ethnic background, disability, and age to sexual orientation and the various personalities already mentioned. Let’s join forces to create a working environment that is free from prejudice and in which we all can feel respected and valued for who we are.
Working in international teams is very important to you. Where do we stand?
I think we are well on our way. This is due in large part to the fact that we are now giving more responsibility to the Regions. That strengthens international collaboration. In addition, many colleagues are taking advantage of the opportunity to relocate to another country for several months or years to share their knowledge there. After gaining extensive professional and cultural experience, they return to us richer than before. This approach pays off for both parties.
These are powerful concepts to stand for - which make a great impact on the BSH team. Proud moment for me to be apart of this amazing team and family.