Diversity – the term is currently on everyone’s mind, both on a personal and on an organizational level. To take a closer look at the topic here at Communardo, we organized Diversity Week, 5 days dedicated to multiple diversity and inclusion related topics, from 07 to 11 March.
But before we present the highlights of what the week felt like to you, here’s a brief introduction of the term and concept of diversity:
Diversity is equivalent to the phenomenon of variety. This variety results from the differences and diversities of human individuals. They may differ, for example, in terms of their externally perceptible characteristics, such as age or ethnic origin, but variety is not always externally perceptible. Characteristics such as personal worldview, religious affiliation, gender identity and sexual orientation are good examples of how diversity can also be “invisible”.
Many companies already recognize the numerous success factors associated with diversity management. A study conducted by PageGroup in 2021 proves this. 69% of the 300 respondents from German companies said that diversity was an important topic in the last two years and was actively integrated into the corporate culture.
We at Communardo also believe that diversity should be seen as an important topic – especially because we are an international company and serve customers from all over the world. For this reason, we are pushing the topic internally with our Diversity Initiative. Within the initiative, we came up with the idea of sensitizing all interested Communardo employees to various diversity topics. That is why we organized a Diversity Week in the course of International Women’s Day. So, let’s take a look at what we did:
Day 1 – Diversity
The first day was all about diversity in general, diversity management and our individual privileges. The kick-off session began with an introduction to the topic. Amongst other things, we learned about reasons as to why many people are afraid of discussing diversity or even reject it. Afterwards, our colleague Jana Moeschke presented the 7 diversity dimensions and gave the participants concrete facts about each dimension. Interaction also didn’t miss!
Together with Niklas Klein we met virtually on a Mural board and explored the concept of privilege. Different statements were made and participants were asked to reflect on their experience. Based on their privilege, they moved on a virtual field either in the direction of “privileged” or “less privileged”. If you would like to question your privileges as well, you can get inspiration from this video.
Day 2 – Women and Gender Equality
For International Women’s Day on March 8, our Diversity Initiative decided to focus on the topic of women and gender equality. Via Microsoft Teams Posts, our colleagues Amelie Schiener and Pia Helena Kaffka drew the attention of our Communards to existing discriminations and inequalities by providing us with infographics and a small puzzle. They also started the voluntary “Just say thank you” challenge, which had the goal of thanking one or more female colleagues. In a video call, we participated in the #BreakTheBias campaign to #IWD2022. We crossed our arms in front of our bodies to express solidarity for gender justice on International Women’s Day (and beyond!). 🙅🏽
Tag 3 – Technology and Inclusion
The mid-week topic was Technology and Inclusion. We talked about the overlap between the two areas and how the bias of artificial intelligence can affect our society. As part of this, our colleague Annika Bülow took a closer look at the digital workplace tools at Communardo to evaluate their accessibility. Dea Mandija presented us with examples regarding biases in machine learning and also addressed the ethical debate around artificial intelligence. Finally, she gave helpful tips on how to reduce biases in machine learning algorithms.
Tag 4 – Cultural Diversity
On the 4th day of Diversity Week, our colleagues Megi Ymerllari from Tirana and Dorit Riemenschneider from Dresden addressed the topic of cultural diversity under the motto #CultureBuildsABetterWorld. In a brainstorming session, the participants were allowed to name terms that they associate with cultural diversity. The terms language, religion, food and music were mentioned mostly.
Then, we defined the term culture and talked about how it shapes our identity and influences our behavior. We also discussed cultural diversity in the workplace and how it can be promoted. In this context, we looked at high-context and low-context communication and learned how to recognize the differences. In an interactive session, we put our learnings into practice and formulated statements in high and low context. The personal exchange about the culture of each individual was also not neglected – so we all got to know each other even better and especially the different cultures that meet within Communardo.
Tag 5 – Casual and Institutional Racism
Our Diversity Week ended with the topic of casual and institutional racism. For this, our Diversity Initiative invited Gerardo Palacios Borjas. Gerardo was born in Honduras, but he has already lived in many countries around the world and gained a lot of experiences. Today, he is a member of the Dresdner “Bündnis gegen Rassismus” (alliance against racism) and works as a referent for Ökumenischen Informationszentrum (ecumenical center of information) in Dresden.
In his one-hour session, he shared his experiences regarding casual and institutional racism with us. Using concrete examples, he outlined how people of color are (often subconsciously) treated in a racist manner. Colleagues from our own ranks also shared their experiences. We would like to thank Gerardo Palacios Borjas for this impressive session and his openness to give us an insight into his experiences so far.
Now we can look back on a colorful week with instructive presentations, interactive sessions and lively discussion rounds.
Many thanks to our Diversity Initiative for the organization and your creativity in planning the sessions. We are already looking forward to the next Diversity Week!