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Elif Haliloğlu Ürkmez: Her Pursuit for Inclusion at BSH

Elif Haliloğlu Ürkmez: Her Pursuit for Inclusion at BSH

Reading time for this article: 4 minutes

Dive into the heart of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at BSH with Elif Haliloğlu Ürkmez, our new Diversity Champion. Discover the transformative power of storytelling, the value of every individual voice, and the impactful moments that define a company’s journey towards true inclusivity. Whether you’re curious about BSH’s DEI evolution or seeking insights on how to start fostering DEI in your workplace, Elif’s insights are a source of inspiration. Learn more about change, growth, and the future of workplace inclusion.

How do you feel about being nominated as Diversity Champion and what does the nomination mean to you?

Elif Haliloğlu Ürkmez, Head of Section Cooling Factory Controlling Çerkezköy: Diversity has become a buzzword in recent years but it is more than just talk. Being nominated as a Diversity Champion is both humbling and inspiring as well. Being chosen as an example in the field of diversity, which I have worked for, and especially strive to create in my team, reminded me once again that I’m on the right path. This nomination isn’t just a personal achievement; validates the importance of fostering diversity and creating a space where everyone’s voices and contributions are valued. Even small actions can contribute to a more inclusive world, and it encourages me to continue championing DEI in all aspects of life.

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

DEI offers new perspectives for the company and individual teams. Creativity is one of the business world’s future skills priorities. We can only achieve this through DEI, by considering and evaluating various ways of thinking. Putting aside prejudices and giving every thought a chance makes a difference. This approach helped me to have an opinion on issues that I had no chance to experience. This is exactly what motivates me in particular: benefiting from the knowledge and experience of others.

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

A few years ago, I had a valuable teammate with extensive experience at BSH. We were conducting cross-country benchmark studies, which we hadn’t done in years. Unfortunately, my experienced colleague couldn’t join the international team due to language limitations, highlighting a DEI challenge. When we encountered a roadblock during the study, we decided to include them in our meetings, embracing diversity and promoting equity. We approached the situation positively, offering our assistance, and our colleague made a significant contribution to the project. It was a perfect example of mutual support and inclusion, showcasing the power of DEI principles in action. Afterwards, I noticed that they were more motivated and confident in their work. This incident always brings me joy, reminding me of the profound impact small acts of support and a commitment to DEI can have on both individuals and the team.

You have been working for BSH for over ten years now. How did the incorporation of DEI at the workplace evolve from your perspective?

Over my more than ten years of experience at BSH, I’ve observed a significant evolution in the integration of DEI in the workplace. Since the day I joined this community, there has been a visible change on both, global and local sides. The most important change that I really care about, was that colleague’s ideas were taken on, evaluated and included in the process – regardless of country and position. With this change, employees started to feel more valued and contributed to the important issues facing the company. As a result, engagement grew and more people associated the company’s success with their own success. While there’s still work ahead, the journey reflects our commitment to creating an environment where diversity is celebrated and equity is a lived reality.

In your nomination, a central part was your ability to weave storytelling into your work, especially when presenting complex topics. What role does storytelling or sharing stories play in the support of the DEI values and their implementation into everyday work?

Incorporating storytelling into DEI initiatives allows organizations to create a more inclusive environment by fostering understanding, empathy, and open dialogue. By harnessing the power of narratives, individuals and workplaces can move closer to embodying the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in their everyday practices. I have always loved sharing stories or knowledge with people as a personality style; whether it’s about private life or business life. I especially like to share what I know in my daily routine with colleagues and find it valuable if they share their findings with me. Such information exchanges can be a source of motivation by increasing the sincerity and well-intentioned approach between individuals and teams. I think being motivated means contributing to both company and individual development outputs.

What is your advice for people who want to start fostering DEI at the workplace but do not know where to start? What can be a good first impulse? 

I’m among those who believe that implementing DEI is achievable for everyone. It doesn’t require monumental actions. For instance, you can initiate it by simply holding a brief meeting with a colleague you haven’t interacted with previously, discussing a relevant topic. The ability to do this, irrespective of department, nationality, or position, represents a significant stride toward justice. When you engage people in such ways, you embrace the inclusivity aspect. Embarking on DEI is primarily about shifting your perspective. I believe that considering people’s viewpoints and experiences can strongly support the development of a DEI culture – whether in significant or minor steps.

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BSH all over the world.

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.