Companies and Organisations/Companies

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[edit] Variety through diversity management

In recent years, companies and organisations increasingly introduced diversity management as a quality criteria of their concepts and activities.

The diversity management approach was a response to and result of the US civil rights movement in which African Americans and, later the women's movement, fought for their human rights and for equal opportunities in society. Against the background of the resulting anti-discrimination legislation, demographic change, globalisation and demands of the knowledge society "Managing Diversity" was developed as a means of shaping diversity in companies and institutions. Around 90% of the 500 leading companies (Fortune 500) use diversity management approaches. Studies confirm that diversity management not only has a positive effect on co-operation between the varied members of the workforce but is also proven to bring about greater efficiency and economic advantages. This led to a spread of the approach (e.g. in a growing number of public agencies, universities, NGOs).

In Germany diversity management is currently practiced above all in big, international companies, but also in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and in public agencies there are now projects for its implementation, too. Their spread is encouraged in Germany through studies by European companies which confirm that they can improve their image through diversity management, can attract and keep highly qualified staff, can raise motivation and productivity and fare better when it comes to service orientation and customer satisfaction.

The change in paradigms in Europe from top-down "standardised corporate identity" towards real diversity is promoted by the anti-discrimination directives (2000/43/EC, Anti-racism Directive 2000/78/EC, Employment Directive 2002/73/EC, Equal Opportunities Directive) which are also the foundation for an Anti-discrimination legislation in Germany .

Companies which have already turned their active attention towards diversity management comment that they feel they are better prepared for the new legal provisions. Since diversity management in Germany is currently a predominant topic amongst (big) companies, the development partnership "Berlin DiverCity" looks at the challenges of diversity also on other economic and social levels (e.g. SMEs, education and health institutions, public administration). It has set itself the goal of linking the diversity management approach which is largely adopted in the business community with gender equality strategies (gender mainstreaming and positive actions on behalf of discriminated female or male target groups ) which are to be found more in public institutions.

[edit] "The business case for diversity - good practices at the workplace"

In September 2005, a study commissioned by DG Employment of the European Commission dealing with the benefits for companies resulting from the implementation of diversity strategies was published.

Resulting from an extensive survey being carried out within a large number of companies from all over Europea, among others, the following benefits were shown as of utmost importance:

  • enhanced employee recruitment
  • retention from a wider pool of high quality workers
  • improved corporate image and reputation
  • greater innovation
  • enhanced marketing opportunities

The study is illustrated by case studies on companies across Europe which have succesfully implemented diversity management. Altogether 19 companies are presented more in detail as "best practices".

[edit] "8 Steps to a Diversity Strategy for SMEs"

The publication "Diversity at Work - 8 steps for small and medium-sized businesses" was written by Dr. Peter Garside and Bob Townley from the Centre for Economic Research and Intelligence of Kingston University, London.

The aim of this document is to help owners and managers of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to adopt and implement diversity policies and approaches within their business, in alignment with their evolving business strategy and ‘needs’. The guidance is designed to be flexible and general so that it can be applied to the majority of SMEs irrespective of sector or location and is mostly about formalising procedures to avoid staffing problems, freeing up time and increasing profitability. The 8 points do not need to be considered in order but the first point is a natural introduction to the range of issues that follow.

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