The Recognition Act can be seen as part of a new welcoming culture in Germany. A company culture that embraces international staff and diversity offers many advantages for your business, too. It will help you position yourself as an attractive employer as you compete for the best talent, appeal to qualified candidates and make sure that existing staff stay with your company in the long term. A diverse workforce will also make your business more innovative, offer new perspectives for entering new markets and enhance public perception of your company. And finally, an open and international company culture will also appeal to your customers.
A welcoming culture
Everyone benefits from a warm and welcoming corporate culture. On the one hand, it will help international staff adapt to their new jobs and facilitate their smooth integration. On the other hand, the existing workforce will also benefit from a friendly and open corporate culture. As they interact with their new international colleagues, they will acquire intercultural skills which are crucial to a company’s long-term success in an increasingly globalised world.
Companies which have already established a welcoming culture as part of their corporate philosophy use various different strategies and measures to help their international staff integrate and make sure they stay with the company in the long term. Experience has shown, for example, that it makes sense to support international staff with mentors . That way, new members of the team will know who to turn to with questions about their new job and the country they live in. These measures should not be temporary, though: even after your new staff have settled in, you can continue to support them by offering language courses or intercultural team building activities, for example.
- The portal of the “Kompetenzzentrum Fachkräftesicherung” [in German], a competence centre aimed at securing a skilled workforce in Germany, offers comprehensive information, implementation guidelines and useful best-practice examples for creating a welcoming corporate culture.
- The Federal Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA) also offers guidelines for companies [in German] wishing to establish a welcoming corporate culture. Here, you will find lots of useful advice, ideas and best-practice examples.
Managing diversity means that companies embrace their staff’s diversity as a valuable resource. As an integral part of corporate culture, diversity management encompasses much more than merely counteracting discrimination and promoting equality.
You can also publicise the fact that your company supports diversity: by joining the Diversity Charter [in German], German companies show that they are committed to embracing the diversity of their staff. More than 1,000 companies, including small and medium-sized ones, have signed the charter so far. It is aimed at promoting a corporate culture that accepts and respects everyone, irrespective of their gender, nationality, ethnic background, religion or outlook, disability, age, sexual orientation and identity.
A Synergie Consult online survey found that diversity management is particularly successful if its approach is holistic rather than focusing on individual areas only. Initially it may make sense to start off in a single area that is of crucial importance to your company, but this should be followed by a sustainable change process encompassing all other areas, too. Only then will diversity management become an integral part of your corporate culture.
A survey by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) on the relevance of integration for the future (“Integration sichert Zukunft” [in German]) found that almost 40 percent of companies are already promoting diversity among their workforce. Some companies provide additional support to help their international staff integrate, for example by offering further training (23 percent) or work-related language courses (15 percent) and establishing integration officers (16 percent).
Further information and practical guidelines for implementing diversity management at your company is available on the portal of the “Kompetenzzentrum Fachkräftesicherung” [in German].
Additional information and support can be found on the following pages:
- The prize-winners of the “Vielfalt. Wachstum. Wohlstand” (“Diversity. Growth. Prosperity”) competition [in German] by the former Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology make interesting best-practice examples of companies which already employ international staff, illustrating the benefits small and medium-sized companies can derive.
- The “Integration through Qualification (IQ)” network [in German] provides expert advice and comprehensive information on diversity management.
- Detailed information on diversity, as well as studies and current trends are also available on Diversity Consult’s “ungleich besser” (“different but better”) information portal [in German].
- The “Synergie durch Vielfalt” (“Synergy Through Diversity”) network [in German] is aimed at promoting the exchange of know-how between company representatives and offers practical support for implementing diversity management.
- The website of the International Society for Diversity Management (IDM) also offers valuable information and lets stakeholders share information and know-how.
Employer branding will help you establish your company’s “employer brand”, so that it stands out from the competition. After all, if you are perceived as an attractive employer, this will give you a head start in the competition for the best talent.
Employer branding will let you build on the existing strengths of your company. Many companies are not aware of the fact that they are attractive employers, as they are taking their traditional approach for granted. In fact, it is often small and medium-sized companies which promote measures to reconcile work and family life and offer flexible working hours, but often these companies do not perceive this as a noteworthy achievement.
That is why it makes sense to include your employees in the employer branding process and ask them what they think. Their feedback will let you identify areas which are already doing well and others where there may be room for improvement. That way, you can emphasise your strengths and work on your weaknesses. Satisfied employees are the best “brand ambassadors” to communicate your new image to the outside.
- Additional advice is available on the “Kompetenzzentrum Fachkräftesicherung” portal [in German], which offers practical tips and guidelines on establishing your employer brand.