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Gabriel Schumacher: About managing diverse teams and aligning values

Gabriel Schumacher: About managing diverse teams and aligning values

Reading time for this article: 5 minutes

Managing diverse teams consisting of different ages, genders, backgrounds and orientations is not an easy task. Ground values like Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (short: DEI) are therefore crucial to ensure that employees can rise to their full potential. Gabriel Schumacher, Head of Purchasing, Planning and Logistics in France, tackles this every day in his position. As one of the nominees in the BSH “Nominate Your Diversity Champion” campaign, he shares the keys to fostering DEI at workplaces further and talks about a real-life example on how to include colleagues with disabilities.

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

Since I started working at BSH in June 1999, my aspiration as a Manager was to set up diverse teams, and I was very happy to learn that my long-term vision was appreciated by my colleagues and that I got nominated as a Diversity Champion.

How would you define Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?

Allowing people regardless of their origin, background, gender, orientation or identity to succeed professionally. We must remain focused on the real skills and motivations of our employees. The rest is secondary. 

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

Future employees will always have the choice to stay or leave a company that does not suit them. When our values ​​are in line with their values, we remain attractive so that everyone - wherever they come from, and whatever their orientation - can find the place that suits them the best.

You have been working at BSH for over 23 years – regarding DEI at the workplace, what changed over these years? How was the situation when you started working, how is it now?

The management style has evolved towards much more openness and acceptance of others which is crucial if we want to succeed in creating a real team spirit. Those who remain closed in on themselves cannot open their minds in an increasingly globalized world. It was this style of management that seemed to be the norm at first, but thankfully, it has loosened a lot and we work in an accepting environment now.

What aspects of DEI are the most important ones for you in the position of a Director of Logistics – can you share your experience in leadership and in the department you are working in?

I want to show that everyone can succeed in the place they are working at. I set up an organization that consists of different origins, genders and orientations to show that it can work if everyone goes in the same direction. In one of the largest BSH warehouses, we can see a cohabitation of men and women, juniors and seniors in all positions representing more than 18 nationalities. This makes me very proud!

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

Communitarianism and withdrawal into oneself are brakes on the acceptance of the other. The company must lead by example. The rules allow everyone to live within a framework shaped by tolerance.

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

Our most recent success was being able to adapt the workstation of a blue-collar worker with a disability, so he was able to continue working after his accident. We also adjusted his schedule, so he could do sports and take part in competitions. We are very proud since he came back with two silver medals and is now vice-champion of France in para-cycling. He is now preparing himself for the Paralympic Games 2024 in Paris. 

What does a diverse and inclusive workplace look like for you? 

In the team, everyone must have the opportunity to express himself, to be listened to, to have access to information and being able to evolve or train.

For those who want to actively foster DEI at the workplace but don’t know where to start – do you have any tips, what can be a good first initiative for the beginning of a DEI journey? 

The first piece of advice is to meet the other; to have an open mind: each person we meet in life deserves to be taken a little way together!

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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.