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Chen Peled: Fostering diversity by changing the mindset

Chen Peled: Fostering diversity by changing the mindset

Reading time for this article: 6 minutes

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (short: DEI) are not only plain values at BSH, but lived reality. This is especially obvious when speaking to our “Diversity Champions” about their experiences and the way they foster DEI at their workplace. Our Diversity Champions have recently been elected by their colleagues due to their outstanding contribution to DEI at BSH.

Chen Peled-Hanany is the first Diversity Champion we want to introduce to you: His journey at BSH started seven years ago and today, he is Head of Human Resources in Israel. He and his husband Roee are already parents of the three-year-old Adam and are expecting their second child through surrogacy, so he will go on parental leave.

For Chen, the key to enhancing diversity is the mindset: You have to look at the individuals and their needs and understand that already little things can make a big difference. In his daily work, he is particularly passionate about improving the HR processes to achieve equal opportunities for all genders and ethnic groups.

 

1. Do you want to share your personal motivation for pushing DEI at your workplace?

My personal motivation is rooted in my childhood, I guess. I grew up in a small town in the northern part of Israel, and from a young age, I felt different. At the age of 16, I came out of the closet. Back then, I could not imagine being able to get married and have a family of my own one day – or having a satisfying and diverse job. 

Though the attitudes and LGBT-phobia have been changing for some time now, there are large sectors and regions of Israel where incidents of prejudice and hostility are still a part of daily life for LGBT Israelis. For 10 years now, I have been volunteering at "Hoshen" (a Hebrew acronym for ‘Education and Change’), a nationwide, nonprofit organization that acts as the advocacy arm of the LGBT-movement in Israel. We meet with thousands of teens, medical staff, military and police personnel, and tell our personal stories to raise awareness.

In summary, my life story tells my motivation to push DEI at my workplace, and at BSH, I found a way to push DEI even more than before.

2. How do companies benefit from incorporating DEI at their workplaces, in your opinion?

As Head of HR, it is important for me to bring diversity to the organization. In my opinion, people are sometimes "stuck" in looking at employees from a limited frame of personality, productivity and professional experience. I believe that different life experiences and perspectives bring in more creativity, increasing the sense of belonging in the team. It's very important for me to make room for this diversity and uniqueness, expressing it openly and without feeling inferiority. 

The possibility to make colleagues feel their ideas are welcome, they are respected and their contribution is appreciated is what drives me in every single task I'm involved in. 

3. How do you personally incorporate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at your workplace?

I don’t think that working with a set of actions or a checklist changes reality. It's more about the mindset. You have to look at individuals within the group you're in and their individual needs and goals. This is the way for me to be inclusive, promote gender equality or take any small or big action. 

The challenge is not only to connect the people to the vision, mission and goals, but also to acknowledge that each individual has different needs and the goal has to respond to the needs of every individual. 

4. Do you have a special story or memory to share that comes to mind when thinking about pushing DEI at your workplace?

One topic, which is always in discussion when talking about equality in employment, is the income differences between males and females. A major project I lead was changing our remuneration IT system, so it is more transparent and understandable for the employees. I have simplified the payslip and trained the colleagues, so they can easily understand it. 

Knowledge is power and talking about salary is not easy, especially from the employer's side. Unfortunately, most employees are not familiar with the labor laws and regulations, and this is true for both genders. So, it was important for me as a first step, to make this data short, accessible and simple to understand.

Moreover, improving the recruitment processes is also an important issue to me. For example, I want that applicants will have an experience of transparency and openness during the application process. Granting equal opportunity to people of different genders and ethnic groups is essential. 

5. What do you think is the biggest challenge of fostering the incorporation of DEI?

In Israel, and other places around the world, we can see more and more fathers take an active part in their "home tasks" and raising their children. But the general perception is still that this is the work of the woman. In that sense, the family of gay couples can be a model for a more equal partnership. The balance of career and family has to be available for both genders equally. 

The challenge for an organization that wants to foster diversity is to create a commitment to the employee's work-life balance within the organization. The Covid-Pandemic has broken this balance, despite home office and mobile working. I think managers should put more emphasis on this topic and find creative solutions. In the long run, this imbalance harms productivity and motivation and increases erosion.

6. Creating a safe environment and gaining trust is a step to foster DEI. How do you achieve this with your colleagues? Do you have advice to share for other employees?

I believe that curiosity and real interest in people is a good start. This is how I do it. I openly share my thoughts with my colleagues and I feel they trust me and openly share their thoughts and challenges with me.

There are many other things to do, but I would focus on transparency as a value to foster diversity and increase trust. I think my colleagues appreciate this, and they know they can trust me when I communicate.

7. What advice would you give to employees who want to push forward DEI?

I think that if someone wants to push DEI, they should look at the small things which stand in the way. We don’t need to wait for big projects with high budgets. And we should also ask the colleagues what they would like to be changed, what's disturbing them and how the organization can support them.

Hebrew is a very gender-oriented language. One of the main things we can do to change the dialogue is to talk about ‘female colleagues’ and “female managers”, on top of “colleagues” and ‘managers”. This is also communicated internally and externally, in recruiting communication for example.

8. How do you feel about being nominated as Diversity Champion and what does it (the nomination) mean to you?

This nomination has filled me with a strong sense of pride and responsibility. It is a real honor to be nominated by my trusted colleagues. 

Thank you for your support and your daily confidence in me. I very much appreciate it.

 
 

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BSH Hausgeräte GmbH, with a total turnover of some EUR 15.6 billion and 62,000 employees in 2022, is a global leader in the home appliance industry. The company’s brand portfolio includes eleven well-known appliance brands like Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau and Neff as well as the ecosystem brand Home Connect and service brands like Kitchen Stories. BSH produces at 40 factories and is represented in some 50 countries. BSH is a Bosch Group company.