Tobias von Reiche on
March 6, 2023
The word diversity has become an integral part of the conceptual repertoire of modern companies. They have long been committed to this topic, but in our opinion the potential is still not being exploited in many cases.
An article of Tobias von Reiche, partner and member of the Diversity Task Force at EO Executives
On their websites, on their billboards in our streets and in their radio and TV commercials, we see a colourful diversity of people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and gender identities. Although diversity has arrived in most large companies, there is also the other side:
Many medium-sized companies are still unfamiliar with the topic and there is general uncertainty about what exactly diversity stands for, how it can be lived and what it actually brings to take the topic seriously. So it often remains a mere commitment to the diversity approach without strategy and operational implementation.
Diversity – underestimated potential
The German term for the English word diversity is "Vielfalt". And that is what it is all about. What many people don't know, but what numerous definitions agree on: Diversity goes far beyond ethnic-cultural aspects of people and beyond the quota of women on the board. Basically, it also refers to dimensions such as:
- age, disability, gender, religion, geographical and social origin, skin colour, sexual identity, physical and psychological condition.
And there is another level of diversity, its so-called deep level. This includes characteristics such as values and norms, personality, competencies, knowledge and perspective on reality that describe a person.
To clarify characteristics at this level, we and many other companies have for decades also relied on the potential of personality analyses for team building and development, for example the DISG model to identify the personality type or the Insights Discovery model to identify a persons's communication style and behaviour patterns. These tools promote self-knowledge and lead to a better understanding of others – the first step towards appreciative, respectful, and productive working relationships.
»In my view, the diverse approach stands for the realisation that we can benefit from the diversity of people. However, this requires that we learn to accept all people regardless of their personal characteristics. Only when the factors diversity and commonality are no longer played off against each other but are placed and perceived alongside each other in an appreciative and equal manner, will the basis be laid for the social participation of all people – the goal of diversity.«
Tobias von Reiche
Diverse Approach – today and in the future
Our world has never been more fast-moving and complex than it is today. We are confronted with issues such as globalisation, digitalisation, the climate crisis, immigration, and demographic change. The sense of security has been violated in many areas of life and our traditional code of values has been shaken.
These enormous challenges and transformations require national and international answers and solutions. Companies are challenged to question and adapt their structues, values, and views. More diversity ensures a better understanding of others, reduces labour shortages, and leads to better business results. Diversity will therefore become increasingly important.
Diversity = corporate success
Internationally active companies have been convinced of the diversity approach for many years and continue to expand it. They are therefore anchoring diversity management as a leadership task in top management. The labour shortage in many sectors makes it indispensable for them to find talent outside their previous target groups.
Small and medium-sized enterprises are therefore also as well advised to react to the changes in society and to become more diverse. It is important to do justice to the changes in values, which is also expressed through a changed understanding of hierarchy, career, and gender roles.
International studies prove the connection between lived diversity and economic success:
»Companies with a high level of gender diversity have a 25% higher probability of being above average in terms of profit. If we consider the factor of ethnic diversity (internationality of the board), this value is even 36%.«
These are the results of a study by the international management consultancy McKinsey, for which it surveyed more than 1.000 companies in 15 countries.
EO Executives successful with diversity
The Diversity Charter is one of the most important initiatives of employers for a prejudice-free working environment. EO Executives shares the values of the Charter and is committed to fighting discrimination. For us as a global executive search consultancy, diversity has become an important key to making better decisions. Diversity in practice enables us to look at different perspectives and in this way enriches decision-making processes.
Today, young employees in particular demand respect for equity and diversity. They attach great importance to corresponding corporate values. From my years of professional experience as a personnel consultant, I know how important it is for companies to take up social issues. Otherwise, they currently run the risk of completely losing the interest of the younger generation.
EO Executives: Results through People
At EO Executives, we help our clients build the best leadership team they ever had. We know from experience that a respectful, appreciative, and inclusive culture leads to better business decisions and better results. For us as executive search consultants, the diversity approach is the key to sustainable success.
Anchoring diversity in companies strengthens their resilience in a fast-moving an complex environment characterised by change. Our 22 global offices, the 9 languages we speak and our particular expertise in filling leadership positions are the key drivers because 96% of EO appointments are still working in their new role after 12 months.