The Other “Glass Ceiling”

diversity is the key

The emerging Diversity Management scene in Germany is still in its infancy. If you live and work in Germany, what do you see when you walk through the halls of your office building or factory? Do the people all more or less look alike (and just like you) or are several different nationalities, races, religious groups, etc., represented?

If the former is true, the case for a bold diversity management program is easy to make. In the latter case it can be much more difficult. Why? Because some executives confuse the mere presence of a diverse group of people within their organization with real diversity management and – if left to their own devices – choose to leave well enough alone for as long as possible.

Developing and implementing a bold diversity program that is an integral part of your company’s mission and bolsters your bottom line is hard work! You have to be brave enough to critically analyze the internal situation to identify and find solutions for existing weak spots. That means looking beyond the surface and not letting yourself be placated by the existance of one or two female department heads, a gay colleague in sales, plenty of Turkish people in production, and a nice Afro-German woman at the reception desk.

Although it should be obvious, let me say it anyway: Having a diverse staff says nothing about the quality of your diversity management program. Instead you have to ask yourself what (subconscious?) limitations and stereotypes push members of your staff into preconceived roles – and positions – within your company. And although I’m sure it’s not written down anywhere (that would be illegal), has there always been an inofficial qualitative/quantitaive ‘tipping point’ for specific groups within your organization?

In other words: How low is your corporate glass ceiling – for ALL the people who work there?

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