31 May marks the anniversary of German Diversity Day. Last year, we celebrated this occasion by signing the German Charta der Vielfalt. Here’s an interview with Anita Lauter, Head of Organisational Development, Unite, which sheds light on our commitment and why diversity matters at our company.
Interview: Anita Lauter, Head of Organisational Development at Unite
“We know that diversity, equity and inclusion have a positive impact on businesses. That’s why we must create a work environment that is built on mutual respect and trust,” says Anita Lauter, Head of Organisational Development at Unite.
Anita, what does diversity mean at Unite?
Anita Lauter: ‘Diversity’ is one of our six corporate values that we at Unite have developed in close collaboration with our board and employees. Diversity means embracing individuality and taking it as an opportunity to learn about each other’s preferences. It helps us be creative and develop solutions beyond habitual thought patterns.”
What are the challenges to cultural diversity?
Anita Lauter: “It’s easy to wear diversity as a badge. Individuality, however, poses a challenge in our daily lives. Everything from time zone differences and cultural preferences to our personal biases adds to the challenge. This is when our corporate value ‘courage’ must come into play allowing us to step up and encourage each other to communicate our feelings, no matter how difficult or shameful they may be.”
How does Unite support its employees?
Anita Lauter: “As the Organisational Development team, it’s our job to help our colleagues think about our corporate culture differently. Every new employee learns about our values as part of their onboarding process. We provide communication training, such as the Marshall Rosenberg Nonviolent Communication (NVC) model. We also hold change workshops with our teams, and in case of conflict, we act as interlocutors and support our employees through coaching. We’re also putting together diversity training to address the pitfalls of stereotyping. Diversity is important to us; and it’s timely that the Diversity Charter has welcomed us into their fold so we can actively commit to the cause.”
‘Charta der Vielfalt’: diversity in the world of work
The ‘Charta der Vielfalt’ at Unite advocates an appreciative working environment for all employees – regardless of age, gender and gender identity, ethnic origin and nationality, religion, physical abilities or sexual orientation and identity. Diversity plays an essential role at Unite. The company employs over 700 people between 16 and 63 years of age from 47 different nationalities, 55 % of whom are women. Diversity enriches our workplace and creates opportunities for new solutions. Digitisation has enabled us to work together from across the globe. In addition to its 15 European office locations, Unite now employs many remote workers worldwide, such as in Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Taiwan and Argentina. Integrating remote workers into the company culture is a challenge Unite is happy to take on.