#PrideMonth22 – Seeing differences as opportunities
June is international Pride Month and is dedicated to diversity and inclusiveness. We spoke to Jan Rohde, Junior Expert Employer Branding at thyssenkrupp, about inclusiveness in everyday working environment and about thyssenkrupp as an employer where diversity is promoted and valued.
As Junior Expert Employer Branding at thyssenkrupp, Jan Rohde ensures that the topics of equality and diversity are promoted in the application process for new employees, for instance. "For me, inclusiveness means accepting people and understanding them as equal and full members of the team," the expert emphasizes. In the Employer Branding Team at thyssenkrupp, Jan Rohde and his colleagues are committed to a corporate culture in which differences between individuals are seen as opportunities.
Promoting diversity in companies
As part of the works council and the LGBTQIA network at thyssenkrupp, it is important to the employer branding expert to create visibility for the topic: "I pay particular attention in the application process of our apprentices to ensure that inclusiveness is lived at thyssenkrupp," says Jan Rohde. In his opinion, it is extremely important for companies like the thyssenkrupp Group to deal openly with the issue of inclusiveness. Jan Rohde emphasizes, "Only if we set an example of an open attitude can it be perceived and lived by other people." An open exchange about diversity issues therefore already helps to break down prejudices.
Awareness creates tolerance
Raising awareness of and actively promoting diversity and tolerance are important ways to reduce and prevent violence against people from the LGBTQIA community or other minorities, says Jan Rohde: "Because even today we experience discrimination and prejudice on many levels - be it on social media through insulting or exclusionary comments, or through physical violence in 'real' life." The tragic events from Sweden, where several people lost their lives to anti-LGBTIA attacks at Oslo Pride in June 2022, brutally demonstrate how important it still is to promote diversity, tolerance and inclusiveness, today.
Inclusiveness starts with a mindset shift
This high visibility of the topic of inclusiveness has created a protected space at thyssenkrupp for diverse, queer and disabled people where they can feel comfortable and safe. In the event of problems, employees have the support of the works councils or the representatives for severely disabled employees.
These are important levers and instances, but for the employer branding expert it is also clear that profound change can only take place through the rethinking of each individual person themselves: "The greatest challenge, in my opinion, is that the process of inclusion and inclusiveness must take place in the mind of each person. So as a company and society, we can only try to influence - but ultimately, you don't have a fixed lever here to effectively implement change immediately or make it recognizable."
Everybody benefits from a tolerant work environment
Jan Rohde knows: "Employees can only give their best when they don't have to hide or pretend." A working environment in which everyone feels safe and integrated has other positive effects besides a healthy culture. According to Jan Rohde, employees are generally more productive when teams and companies are tolerant of each other and diverse teams are encouraged: "The feeling of team spirit increases performance. More efficient and higher-performing teams produce better results and thus promote the standing of a company in the long term."
Living diversity 365 days a year
Jan Rohde is particularly concerned that diversity and inclusiveness should not only be addressed at special times, such as Pride Month in June: "The topic of inclusiveness should not only be focused on special events but should be pursued throughout the year and lived out in everyday life. Inclusiveness is also very important outside the workplace and should be promoted."
At thyssenkrupp, Jan Rohde is in good company with this opinion - with the Diversity Charter we have committed to promoting a corporate culture in which everyone feels comfortable and can realize their full potential - not just on Pride Month, but 365 days a year.
For more insights into our work for diversity and inclusiveness or the LGBTQIA community at thyssenkrupp, check out our People & Culture Stories.