“It is important to raise awareness among employees and let them know what the company´s values and principles are. We need to make them fully aware that accepting diversity is essential and enables them to set up a respectful and inclusive work environment in which everyone can show their skills.“
direktor Jošt Rupnik & prokuristka Sara Čučnik, ebm-papst Slovenija d.o.o.
Could you share with us some key milestones in the D&I journey of your company?
The first milestone happened in 2016, when the company was fully integrated into the ebm-papst Group, which operates 29 production sites all over the world and therefore employs people of different nationalities, religions, genders, beliefs, races, and so on.
We reached the second milestone recently, at the beginning of 2021 when the company refined the brand, its basic values and principles, that among other things emphasize humanity, collaboration, flexibility, and living a global culture.
What aspects of diversity management have the highest priority in your company?
The highest priority is employing people based on their knowledge and skills, character, and work enthusiasm, regardless of their nationality, religion, race, gender, handicap, etc. Having a diverse work environment creates new knowledge, openness, and views that drive more innovation, growth, and satisfaction.
Which D&I activities have been implemented in your organization so far?
We regularly employ people of diverse nationalities, religions, genders, etc. We also recently signed the Diversity Charter and organized an entire week, dedicated to diversity in the workplace.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by your sector in creating a diverse and inclusive workforce?
One of the biggest challenges is how to make sure that employees not only accept diversity in their workplace but that they internalize these values and respect each other, as this is reflected in the work atmosphere.
Changing opinions and breaking down prejudices is a demanding process. It is important to raise awareness among employees and let them know what the company´s values and principles are. We need to make them fully aware that accepting diversity is essential and enables them to set up a respectful and inclusive work environment in which everyone can show their skills.
What business benefits do you see as a result of increasing D&I?
It is primarily seen in the satisfaction and well-being of employees, which also affects their work process and motivation that further contributes to the growth and success of the entire company. Other benefits include easier and faster staff recruitment and improved reputation in the marketplace.
Can you name three diversity challenges that companies have to pay attention to?
First is the actual acceptance and nurturing of diversity in the work environment by employing strategy and company values, so the process does not only take place on paper. The second is the company´s management needs to be the one serving as an example to others. Last but not least, it is important to establish clear operating principles employees need to follow and appropriate communication that ensures any discrimination in the workplace doesn´t stay ignored, hidden or unpunished.
What do you do to convince your colleagues to see the value in diversity management, or even more to truly get them on board?
We set a personal example that shows proper leadership has a great impact on the work of employees and the company´s success.
Any plans for the #EUDiversityMonth this May?
From 17 to 21 May we had a whole week dedicated to diversity. As part of the international project One, which took place at the level of the entire ebm-papst Group, we organized various activities to raise awareness of diversity among employees and encourage them to think about this topic. We prepared a diversity quiz, enabled our employees to try a variety of traditional dishes from different countries in our restaurant throughout the week and much more. We encouraged them to come dressed in their favourite colours and so on.
This interview was produced with the financial support of the European Union (project Workplace Inclusion Champion WIC). Its contents are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.