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Diversity & Inclusion at imc

Diversity and Inclusion at imc: How We Are Continuing to Walk the Talk

From cultural diversity roundtable to tandem programme – Our summer highlights of 2022

Diversity and inclusion is now an integral part of our corporate culture here at imc. Our workdays are generally pretty busy, obviously, but we will always find the time to champion this important issue and generate awareness of our initiatives.

 

We: that’s the imc diversity team. Currently there are 22 of us. To ensure everyone can find what they are looking for, we have structured the diversity programme into three main elements: EmpowHER, a programme to connect and empower women at imc; the Cultural Diversity programme; and our most recent initiative, the Diversity of Interests programme.

 

To ensure that this diversity programme is genuinely accessible to all employees at all locations, we are planning to run most of the sessions and activities in hybrid or fully online form.

3 Pillars D&I Programme

The three pillars of the D&I movement at imc

EmpowerHER: Round two of the InspireHER tandem programme

Last year, the EmpowerHER team launched their passion project, the InspireHER tandem programme. It involved 20 imc women meeting in pairs over an eight-week period to share experiences, ideas and tips, and foster personal growth through mutual reflection and feedback.

 

The launch was a success, and InspireHER was held again this year, with 20 imc women pairing up for regular close dialogue and sharing. The matters discussed are confidential because the aim is to create a safe environment for open and frank exchange, whether on professional or personal topics.

imc Diversity and Inclusion Inspire HER Programme

InspireHER, the tandem programme for women at imc

“The closing session this year was a time of emotion for everyone, but also of laughter as many of us had humorous anecdotes to tell,” says imc communications manager Nadine Kreutz. “We all noticed that we had bonded with each other at a personal – as well as professional – level, and that’s what made these intimate and joyous moments possible.” Nadine and her tandem partner met up every Friday afternoon: “It was always such a wonderful way to end the working week, having a good laugh at ourselves and the things we discovered we had in common.”

How can we learn about and understand cultural diversity in our organisation?

This is the question our Cultural Diversity team asked themselves at the start of the year. A key focus of this year’s Cultural Diversity programme is on how we interact with each other in our day-to-day working lives. What keeps us from communicating with our colleagues from different cultural backgrounds in a natural and open-minded way? In the sessions and discussion groups on these topics, there’s one subject that came up again and again: stereotypes.

Diversity, cultural diversity

This prompted the Cultural Diversity team to look at ways of overcoming various stereotypes here at imc. For each of our company’s locations, they planned sessions dedicated specifically to cultural stereotypes. We still have one of these sessions to go before the end of October. It’s themed “Typically German”.

 

The Cultural Diversity programme kicked off in Australia with a session titled “Get to know more about ... Australia!” Samantha Mathews, business development manager at imc in Melbourne, led this session with warmth and disarming self-irony.

 

It pretty soon became clear that the Germans among us often find the laid-back Australian way of doing business rather off-putting. The fact that in Australia, meetings often start with informal chit-chat surprised the audience. "We consider it normal and even polite to ask people about weekend plans " Explains Samantha, "It's not uncommon for me to know what my clients do in their spare time, if they are married or if they have children."

Desk with family picture

This brought an ironic smile to the lips of most of the German colleagues present. After all, here in Germany, we generally start our meetings on time with the agenda and then get straight down to business. Or do we? We’ll have to wait until our session on Germany to see whether there’s any substance to this cultural stereotype.

Operation Christmas Child

This year’s programme featured the launch of our most recent diversity initiative. Called Diversity of Interests, its purpose is to celebrate the diverse qualities, knowledge, interests and talents of our people, focusing on personal interests outside of work, such as volunteer work, social engagement, club memberships and unusual hobbies.

 

For example, this year Julia Heib, internal Communications- und Event at imc, will be introducing imc to a project that has been dear to her heart for many years. “With ‘Operation Christmas Child’, everyone has the chance to give the gift of Christmas to a child in need,” Julia explains. “This appeal has been a part of my family’s Christmas tradition for years. I get my children involved, and we have a nice time together, packing the gift boxes. I’d like to introduce the appeal to the entire imc organisation and get lots of people involved. And our Diversity of Interests initiative is the perfect vehicle for just that.”

The aim of the initiative over the next few years is to provide a platform where our people can share what’s important to them personally and find collaborators, kindred spirits and supporters for projects that go beyond their day-to-day working life. The idea is that this initiative will give rise to further initiatives or talent pools which then feed into employees’ day-to-day work or specific imc projects. A win-win all round.

 

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Diversity and Inclusion Header

Diversity and Inclusion Isn’t Just for Diversity Week and Pride Month

This year, the international "Diversity and Inclusion Day" fell on Saturday, May 21, 2022. Since we knew that it would be difficult to reach our colleagues on Saturdays, we simply placed the entire week until then under the sign of diversity and inclusion at imc.

imc-e-learning-punk-diversity-thumb

Diversity in e-learning content

Diversity in e-learning is clearly growing in importance. So, in this article, we have put together a summary of key recommendations for companies seeking to incorporate diversity into their learning experience.

CONTACT

Contact

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
Diversity and Inclusion Header
Diversity & Inclusion at imc

Diversity & Inclusion Isn’t Just for Diversity Week and Pride Month

Diversity is here to stay: imc expands its D&I programme

This year, International Diversity and Inclusion Day fell on Saturday, 21 May. Aware that it would be difficult to reach out to our team on a Saturday, we simply declared the entire week leading up to that date Diversity Week.

 

Our Diversity crew organised a wealth of engaging sessions and initiatives to make our D&I programme accessible to all employees at all our sites and generally raise awareness of this important issue.

 

To make sure there is something for everyone, the programme is divided into three key elements: EmpowHER, a programme to connect and empower women at imc; the Cultural Diversity programme; and our latest initiative, Diversity of Interests.

3 Pillars D&I Programme

The three pillars of the D&I movement at imc

„Be better, do better and live better together”

To get imc Diversity Week off to a strong start, the D&I team brought in a high-profile external speaker: Stephen Dorsey. Stephen Dorsey is an author who recently published a book titled Black & White: An Intimate Multicultural Perspective on White Advantage and the Paths to Change. During the week’s opening session, he provided a thought-provoking perspective on racism and prejudice.

 

Stephen joined our global video meeting at 2:30 a.m. (Canadian time) and, wide awake and none the worse for the early hour, gave a deeply moving personal account of his childhood and upbringing in Canada. Warm, open, and engaging, he provided food for so much more than just thought, his words striking a chord with many of our employees and setting up our Diversity Week perfectly.

Diversity Week 2022

Kenneth Littlepage and Julia Heib hosting the session

Show us what you love

Diversity Week also featured our most recent diversity initiative. Called Diversity of Interests, its purpose is to celebrate the diverse qualities, knowledge, interests and talents of our people, focusing on personal interests outside of work, such as volunteer work, social engagement, club memberships and unusual hobbies.

 

For this part of the programme, we invited six people from our own workforce to present short, five-minute nuggets on the things they love. Kenneth Littlepage, one of our project managers, got the ball rolling with an account of his other life as a livestream football commentator for the Saarland Hurricanes. Our colleague Selasie Smith, a business consultant, spoke about her experiences of volunteering in the UK and about her own project, The Gentlemen’s Network. Nicolae Purcar, Director of imc in Romania, shared his passion for trail running, and Elke Zastrau, Head of HR at imc, talked about her membership of International Inner Wheel. Tyson Priddle, Director Digital Learning, Australia, spoke about his hockey club, Altona HC, and Oksana Buhay, one of our business consultants and a native Ukrainian, outlined her contribution to a Ukraine humanitarian aid programme in Stuttgart.

 

The aim of the initiative is to create a platform where people can share ideas and even find collaborators, kindred spirits and supporters for projects that go beyond their day-to-day working life. The idea is that the initiative will give rise to further initiatives or talent pools which then feed into employees’ day-to-day work or specific imc projects – a win-win all round.

diversity, kids playing hockey

imc around the world: People who eat together stay together

Yay! We can finally meet up in person again! That’s certainly what our organisers were thinking when they initiated after-work potluck dinners at virtually all imc locations worldwide to round off Diversity Week. Everyone was invited to bring a dish inspired by their national cuisine or most recent trip abroad. It had to be something that had a story attached or some special emotional significance. The idea was very well supported. See for yourself:

But wait, there’s more!

This year will also see the return of a project dear to the heart of our EmpowerHER team: the InspireHER tandem programme. InspireHER is where 20 imc women meet in pairs over an eight-week period to share experiences, ideas and tips, and foster personal growth through mutual reflection and feedback. This year, the emphasis will again be on personal growth and networking, with each pair free to focus on topics of their own choosing. The programme of events will close in July with the emotional feedback session.

imc Diversity and Inclusion Inspire HER Programme

InspireHER, the tandem programme for women at imc

The imc Diversity & Inclusion crew has every reason to be pleased with this year’s programme. The Executive Board’s Sven R. Becker is also very pleased:

“Once again, the feedback from the imc family on our Diversity & Inclusion programme has been very positive. It’s a wonderful testament to what a grassroots movement can lead to. This is a bottom-up initiative, something our staff created entirely on their own, so I have absolutely no doubt they will achieve their goal of making diversity and inclusion part of our company’s DNA and integrating it into our corporate culture.”

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Why "Diversity & Inclusion" is more than a nice add-ons

Companies recognised early on that D&I management can also be of benefit to them. It has been proven that diverse teams increase productivity and business results. In addition, companies want to secure the best talents and this is only possible if they can acquire from a diverse environment. At imc, diversity is also seen as a driver for innovation.

imc-e-learning-punk-diversity-thumb

Diversity in e-learning content

Diversity in e-learning is clearly growing in importance. So, in this article, we have put together a summary of key recommendations for companies seeking to incorporate diversity into their learning experience.

CONTACT

Contact

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
diversity in e-learning
Diversity Has to Be Learned
Diversity in e-learning content

Corporate Learning is a Window into Your Organisation’s D&I Soul

Three golden rules for companies seeking to put diversity on their training agenda

Let’s say a company comes to us for help with incorporating diversity and inclusion (D&I) into the learning experience of its employees. Up until fairly recently, the first question we would ask would be, are you looking for training content that appeals to a diverse target audience, or training content that deals with the subject of diversity?

 

But things have changed over the past couple of years, as Philipp Schossau, Senior Instructional Designer here at imc, explains: “Making training courses diverse in terms of both content and visual appearance is now a standard requirement, irrespective of the subject matter. Diversity training, on the other hand, has its own special requirements – most notably a clear stance on the part of the client.”

 

Diversity in e-learning is clearly growing in importance. So, in this article, we have put together a summary of key recommendations for companies seeking to incorporate diversity into their learning experience.

diversity, colors, festival

All a matter of perspective? Tips for implementing diversity in training content

Prospective employees want to be able to see what a company’s position on D&I is, and how the company is championing the D&I cause. So, whatever the subject matter, company training courses should be diverse and gender-neutral in design. Here are three golden rules for making training courses diverse and inclusive:

Culturally diverse characters:

Whenever human personas or mentors feature in a training course they should reflect a certain degree of cultural diversity. If there are not enough personas to demonstrate sufficient diversity, then it is possible to use fictional characters – avatars – that have no particular cultural background.

imc Biz Quiz

Diverse gender identities:

Needless to say, learning content should aim to reflect and include all gender identities. It’s not enough to merely employ terms like “male”, “female”, and “gender-diverse”. The aim, rather, should also be to break down conventional gender roles and gender stereotypes. Our learning experts therefore always endeavour to keep their design concepts free of these outdated roles and clichés.

diversity, avatar

INFO:

We’re currently working on a diversity avatar creator. Before taking part in a training course, each user will be able to build an avatar that looks however they want it to, regardless of cultural background or gender role.

Gender-neutral language:

This often depends on the requirements articulated by the company in question. However, we strongly recommend the consistent use of inclusive language across all training content.

in German you can use "*" to create gender-neutral language

imc express bot with level up icons

GOOD TO KNOW

Authoring tools like imc Express automatically offer a range of output options and simplify the process of creating diverse and inclusive training content. With imcExpress, this process is controlled in the background via AI.

Attitude is a prerequisite for special diversity trainings

The role that D&I management plays in a company is rooted in the corporate culture. This has a direct impact on a company's learning culture. Those who want to implement special diversity and inclusion training into the learning experience of their employees must have a clear stance on it. For this reason, companies should always be clear about the goal of a training before designing the content.

To sensitise the learning audience to diversity issues and communicate facts about D&I, we recommend scenario-based learning. Scenario-based learning uses real-life examples and situations. The closer the learning scenarios are to real-life situations, the more relatable the taught (behaviour) rules will be for the learners. Sensitisation can be further improved by using diverse personas to make learners aware of different or new perspectives.

Ready when you are

Things are changing, and organisations are already taking steps to make their training courses more diverse and to raise awareness of D&I. But many companies are still holding back for fear of doing something wrong. That’s why it’s critical to support D&I with effective corporate communication and drive genuine cultural change. In other words, when it comes to D&I, companies need to be bold and have courage of their convictions.

long way to go, goal in sight

“The more global the company, the more likely that it’s already sensitised to diversity issues and will take the initiative and articulate diversity requirements for our projects,” said imc project management officer Kenneth Littlepage, Project Management Officer Business Consulting at imc in a previous interview on D&I. “Locally focused companies, on the other hand, tend not to be so sensitised, so it’s up to us to ask questions.”

 

However a company might choose to approach it, diversity is a topic that’s here to stay, especially for today’s younger generation. Warm fuzzy words in the corporate vision statement are all well and good, but they won’t carry much weight if the company is a monoculture of white men in suits or hides behind disclaimers to the effect that “the use of he and his is solely for ease of reading and refers to all genders equally”. If you want diverse people in your company, you actually have to make them feel included.

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Contact person

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
Diversity & Inclusion at imc
2022 another celebration of diversity in all its wonder, colour and vibrancy

This year, the imc Diversity & Inclusion programme has even more to offer

imc kicks off 2022 Diversity & Inclusion programme with a celebration of International Women’s Day

“We’ll know that we truly understand diversity when we no longer need to talk about it. Diversity and inclusion must become part of our DNA. It must become just as routine as small talk at the coffee machine. And I think we’ve come a step closer to achieving that goal,” says imc Executive Board member Sven R. Becker.

 

To make sure it achieves this goal in the next three to four years, imc has a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) crew whose job it is to put together an annual D&I programme for all employees across all company locations. To ensure there’s something for everyone, the programme is divided into three parts: EmpowHER, a women in leadership programme, Cultural Diversity, and the latest initiative, Diversity of Interests.

3 Pillars D&I Programme

The three pillars of the D&I movement at imc

International Women’s Day 2022

The EmpowHER team managed to secure a high-power external speaker for this year’s International Women’s Day. It was none other than Ilse Henne, a member of the Management Board and Chief Transformation Officer at thyssenkrupp Materials Services. Henne’s keynote session on “Equality today, for a sustainable tomorrow” was a huge inspiration to its 120 participants.

If we feel seen, supported, connected and feel proud of other women in our community, then we can be happier and being happier is the best way starting to learn and develop yourself!
Ilse Henne
CTO
thyssenkrupp Materials Services

The day ended on a high note with the IWD Movie Night Party. For this, the team hired out an entire movie theatre in imc’s home city of Saarbrücken, where it screened “Hidden Figures.” The movie tells the story of three female African-American mathematicians, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who played a pivotal role in NASA’s Mercury and Apollo programmes. Complete with popcorn and nachos, the movie night was a fitting end to International Women’s Day at imc.

imc Diversity and Inlcusion Book Club

Shared cinema experience at Bookclub+

But wait, there’s more!

InspireHER tandem programme

The day’s celebrations also marked the start of this year’s InspireHER tandem programme, an initiative particularly dear to the EmpowHER team’s heart. InspireHER is a programme in which 20 women from imc meet in pairs over an eight-week period to share experiences, ideas and tips, and foster personal growth through mutual reflection and feedback. Launched last year, it was such a success, and received such positive feedback from its participants, that it is being held again this year. “The thing we really liked about the tandem programme is that it created a really strong connection among the participants,” explains Eva Lettenbauer, a member of the programme’s organising team. This year, the emphasis will again be on personal growth and networking, with each pair free to focus on topics of their own choosing.

 

imc Diversity and Inclusion Inspire HER Programme

InspireHER, the tandem programme for women at imc

Cultural Diversity

Our offices are spread across the world – across 12 international locations, to be precise – and are home to more than 350 people from over 50 nations. That kind of diversity creates challenges from time to time, but it’s a great opportunity to get to know other cultures and points of view. “I’m really looking forward to the programme we’ve got lined up for the Cultural Diversity group this year,” says Nadine Kreutz, a member of imc’s Diversity crew. “We want to give people at our various company locations the opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of their country, including the work culture. The event dates are based on the national holidays of the countries selected, and the presentations will be given by colleagues from those countries.”

 

Diversity of Interests

The latest initiative in our D&I programme kicks off in May during Diversity Week. It’s called Diversity of Interests, and its purpose is to celebrate the diverse qualities, knowledge, interests and talents of our people. The focus also includes personal interests outside of work, such as volunteer work, social engagement, club memberships and unusual hobbies.

diversity of interest

Diversity of interests also includes social commitment

The aim of the initiative is to create a platform where people can share ideas and even find collaborators, kindred spirits and supporters for projects that go beyond their day-to-day working life. The idea is that the initiative will give rise to further initiatives or talent pools which then feed into employees’ day-to-day work or specific imc projects – a win-win all round.

The imc Diversity & Inclusion crew has every reason to be pleased with this year’s programme. The Executive Board’s Sven R. Becker is also very pleased:

 

“Once again, the feedback from the imc family on our Diversity & Inclusion programme has been very positive. It’s a wonderful testament to what a grassroots movement can lead to. This is a bottom-up initiative, something our staff created entirely on their own, so I have absolutely no doubt they will achieve their goal of making diversity and inclusion part of our company’s DNA and integrating it into our corporate culture.”

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Why "Diversity & Inclusion" is more than a nice add-ons

Companies recognised early on that D&I management can also be of benefit to them. It has been proven that diverse teams increase productivity and business results. In addition, companies want to secure the best talents and this is only possible if they can acquire from a diverse environment. At imc, diversity is also seen as a driver for innovation.

Diversity Wall, featured image

Cultural Diversity - Working in an Intercultural Company

Our offices are spread around the world, in twelve international locations to be exact. There are 49 nations working together. Today we want to take a closer look at two of our offices and met Francisca Lim, Brand Manager at imc Singapore and Gijs Daemen, Brand Manager at imc UK for a virtual coffee.

CONTACT

Contact

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
Diversity & Inclusion
Making a mark: A bright year for diversity

2021 milestones in the imc Diversity & Inclusion movement

How a grassroots movement became an integral part of corporate culture

At the start of the year, we made a promise: We want to make a real difference for Diversity & Inclusion at imc. We want to turn theory into an experience and get everyone involved with great offers. It’s no secret: We made it happen.  

 

You may wonder why D&I is important for company. Sven R. Becker, Member of the imc Executive Board, is convinced that diverse teams drive innovation: “Diversity creates friction, positive friction. Friction can promote innovation. Greater success through greater diversity. This, I believe.” 

Der Vorstand der imc AG
Diversity creates friction, positive friction. Friction can promote innovation. Greater success through greater diversity. This, I believe.
Sven R. Becker
Member of the Board
imc

Our objective: One programme for everyone

Our offices are spread across the world – across 12 international locations to be precise. Here, more than 350 people from 50 nations are collaborating. While this is often challenging, it’s also an opportunity. That is why our Diversity & Inclusion programme is designed to encompass all employees in all locations. To ensure everyone finds the right offer, the programme comprises three pillars: EmpowHER, a women in leadership programme, Cultural Diversity and Diversity in Talents.

 

The Diversity Crew now counts 23 permanent members in total. 18 of these support the EmpowHER programme while 10 are driving Cultural Diversity. As stakeholders, they meet regularly to discuss progress and plan events open to everyone. So much to the theory. But what does this look like in practice? 

imc Diversity and Inclusion

The three pillars of the D&I movement at imc

Making the programme come alive: What moved us in 2021

International Women’s Day and EmpowerHER Roundtable

Gathering women around a table where they can speak openly and in confidence to support and strengthen each other – that is the goal of the EmpowHER teams. The successful start on International Women’s Day was followed by a varied and vibrant programme. Under the motto “bring a friend”, each woman’s invitation to the roundtable came with the option to bring along another female colleague. The topic of the day was Women in the Hybrid Working World.

 

To facilitate participation across national borders, the event was held remotely via Teams. The meeting was not recorded, and findings and answers were anonymised before they were shared with the competent members of management. This ensured that the participants’ voices were heard without encroaching on their privacy.  

imc diversity and inclusion

Summary of the EmpowHER Roundtables

International Diversity Week

The imc Diversity Week in May was another highlight. Three sessions were available to all employees. One session focused on “Diversity as a Challenge,” a second on “Working in Multicultural Teams: The Impact of Cultural Diversity on Teamwork” and the third on “Unconscious bias” . All three sessions attracted high participant numbers.

 

Bookclub+

Our movie night aka Bookclub+ also proved extremely popular. Many colleagues gathered in a hybrid format to watch Moneyball together and engage in an open discussion of the movie afterwards. Since this concept proved a huge success, we are already planning to do it again.

imc Diversity and Inlcusion Book Club

Shared cinema experience at Bookclub+

Cultural Diversity Roundtable

In the autumn, we hosted the first roundtable of the Cultural Diversity Teams. As participants shared personal experiences, this digital event was not recorded, either. Thinking in stereotypes was a key item on the agenda. Is there any truth to German thoroughness? Do Australians really all like to chit-chat at the start of a business meeting? This culminated in the question how we can set these stereotypes aside and forge a deeper connection between the different locations. One thing the participants requested was to learn more about the other locations and offices. The team is now working on this for the coming year, planning many promising activities.

InspireHer Tandem Programme

In September, a project close to the heart of the EmpowHER teams got off to a solid start: the InspireHer Tandem Programme. For a period of eight weeks, 20 women at imc came together in groups of two to share experiences, ideas and tips, give and receive feedback, reflect and grow together.

 

On 30 September, the programme kicked off with an event, and each tandem met regularly throughout the subsequent eight weeks. They were given a guideline with various topic suggestions. However, given that the focus was on personal growth and networking, each tandem was free to choose what issues they wanted to discuss, and how they wanted to utilize their time together to get the most out of it.

imc Diversity and Inclusion Inspire HER Programme

InspireHER, the tandem programme for women at imc

The closing session in December was a very emotional event for both participants and the organisation team. “The results were mind-blowing. Our organisation team could not have imagined more brilliant feedback,” says co-founder Kerstin Steffen. “It really touched me on a personal level, and I am particularly delighted to see new friendships formed in the course of this programme.”

 

The programme created an opportunity to communicate across departments, see things from new perspectives, discover what participants have in common, and openly talk about challenges and passions. The InspireHER Tandem Programme will also make a come-back at imc next year.

 

Last but not least – The 2022 outlook

The imc Diversity Crew kept its promise. But that’s not all. The events and opportunities for participation and involvement were received exceptionally well across the company. That has encouraged us to plan on bringing yet another Diversity & Inclusion pillar to life: Diversity in Talents aims to highlight the extraordinary, special or surprising skills our colleagues have – on the job or in their private life.  

 

We’re sure you share our excitement and anticipation to discover everything the imc Diversity crew is planning next year. One thing is certain: It will be interesting, varied and will fuel many discussions.  

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Why "Diversity & Inclusion" is more than a nice add-ons

Companies recognised early on that D&I management can also be of benefit to them. It has been proven that diverse teams increase productivity and business results. In addition, companies want to secure the best talents and this is only possible if they can acquire from a diverse environment. At imc, diversity is also seen as a driver for innovation.

Diversity Wall, featured image

Cultural Diversity - Working in an Intercultural Company

Our offices are spread around the world, in twelve international locations to be exact. There are 49 nations working together. Today we want to take a closer look at two of our offices and met Francisca Lim, Brand Manager at imc Singapore and Gijs Daemen, Brand Manager at imc UK for a virtual coffee.

CONTACT

Contact

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
Diverse insights
Why diversity and inclusion are more than nice add-ons

“Diversity must be reflected in the results. Greater success through greater diversity.”

An interview with imc Executive Board Members Christian Wachter, Dr. Wolfram Jost und Sven R. Becker

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are topics we should all pay attention to. They are widely discussed in the working world, in sports and on social media.

 

Companies realised at an early stage that proactive D&I management also brings benefits for them. After all, diverse teams have proven to boost productivity and enhance business outcomes. Moreover, companies can only secure the greatest talents if they recruit from a diverse environment.

 

imc also understands diversity as a driver for innovation. What exactly does that mean? We asked the imc Executive Board.

Executive Board imc: Christian Wachter, Sven R. Becker, Dr. Wolfram Jost

Thank you for taking the time. Let’s start with a personal question: How do you understand diversity and inclusion?

Christian: Diversity and inclusion means to go beyond being tolerant, and actually accept those who are different.

 

Wolfram: I agree. Diversity means accepting different backgrounds, because they are the basis for our life.

 

Sven: And diversity creates friction, positive friction. Friction can promote innovation. Thus, an inclusive and diverse organisation promotes innovation processes which are already difficult to control in themselves.

Where do you see a specific need for action in relation to diversity and inclusion at imc?

Christian: We are developing more and more into a global company with global teams. Interaction and teamwork across countries and cultures is becoming one of the greatest challenges of the near future. Thus, treating each other with respect and consistently setting a good example is crucial.

 

Wolfram: I believe we do take this topic very seriously at imc, and we are making a great effort to exemplify diversity. Many teams comprise employees with different backgrounds. We actively practice and shape the concept on many fronts, including our Diversity Week.

Let’s venture a look into the future: How will diversity and inclusion be practiced at imc in five years’ time?

Wolfram: That is difficult to predict. Our objective is to establish diversity as a driver and a key component of our corporate culture. We will actively manage diversity. If we grow sufficiently, we might have a Chief Diversity Officer by then.

 

Sven: We will know that we understand when we no longer need to talk about it. Diversity and inclusion must be absorbed into our DNA, and become routine like the small talk at the coffee machine. Yes, I do believe that we can achieve that objective in five years from now.

Christian, how does the imc approach to D&I stand out from other companies?

Christian: With nearly 50 nationalities at twelve locations around the globe, we are already an intercultural company. That is something special.

Wolfram, which specific aspects of the imc value chain can D&I improve?

Wolfram: People’s background already differs at birth. Based on these differences, they will also have a different set of strengths and weaknesses. Diversity means that these differences within a team create a synergy effect – people complement each other and achieve better results together. That is why our value chain will continue to benefit from diverse teams.

Sven, imc employees represent more than 50 nations. Which measures does imc take to promote diversity and inclusion? Is there one measure particularly close to your heart? Why?

Sven: The number of nations is not what makes an organisation diverse and inclusive. Say I have employees from 100 nations, but they are all married male Java developers between 30-40 years old – that organisation could not be further removed from being diverse. That is why understanding diversity in a wider context is really important to me. Based on that understanding, we can then explore the opportunities this brings – of course, that is an ongoing process.

Sven Becker Board Member imc
Diversity must be reflected in the results. Greater success through greater diversity. This, I believe.
Sven R. Becker
Executive Board
imc

What is the difference between the way diverse and non-diverse teams work? What makes diverse teams better? We have to determine the essence of this. As a Board Member, I also want to seize opportunities: Diversity must be reflected in the results. Greater success through greater diversity. This, I believe.

RELATED CONTENT
E-Learning Punk: Diversity in E-Learning

Diversity inspires

The diversity of our employees from more than 49 nations makes us what we are: a Saarland brand at home in the world. Our clients around the world are diverse – so are our teams. Every single day they succeed in enabling individuals and organisations worldwide to unleash their full potential in a continuously changing world.

Diversity Wall, featured image

Diversity and inclusion at imc

What does Diversity and Inclusion mean at imc? And what is the "Diversity Corner" in the headquarter in Saarbrücken about? We will enlighten you in the interview with Kerstin Steffen.

CONTACT

Contact

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
Unconscious bias
Critical examination of one’s thought process

Dismantling unconscious prejudices and appreciating diversity in the company

Tips for dealing with unconscious bias - Interview with Vanessah Aurore Reck

The tricky thing about unconscious bias is our failure to acknowledge that it is part of human nature to apply stereotypes in our thought processes. We all have stereotypical expectations, as well as prejudices. The more we acknowledge that, the more we can reflect on it and the better we can handle it. That is why we invited Vanessah Aurore Reck for International Diversity Day. She is offering an impulse session on unconscious bias to our employees. I met with her in advance to discuss these topics, as well as diversity and inclusion in general.

 

Vanessah Aurore Reck

INFO

Vanessah Aurore Reck teaches intercultural management at Saarland University in Saarbrücken. She is currently writing her PhD thesis on integration. She has a thematic and personal connection to the topic.

 

Vanessah grew up in Madagascar. She moved to Germany at the age of 12, and continued her studies there. After graduating from high school, she studied intercultural communication, Spanish and law in Saarbrücken. She explains that this sparked her passion for intercultural issues.

 

Working on her PhD thesis, she is examining which factors contribute to successful integration.

Hello Vanessah! Thank you for taking the time. I will start with my first question: What does diversity and inclusion mean for a company? What benefits does active D&I management bring?

That depends on the corporate culture. Is it still necessary to use diversity as a selling point to attract good applicants? Or has it already become standard practice? In fact, maybe diversity no longer is the actual topic, but rather the corporate culture itself? Having a culture in which all employees thrive regardless of their backgrounds and such?

 

I’m under the impression that these topics have not yet been discussed in such breadth in Germany, as has been the case in the USA or other English-speaking countries. Thus, companies in Germany should ask themselves what role diversity plays in their own corporate culture and the company’s identity. For example, diversity might be of greater significance for companies with global operations where communication is key. However, no company should have to put diversity and inclusion on the agenda – at least not beyond the legal requirements. A far more interesting question for a company might be: How can diversity help an organisation achieve its goals?

Icon representing real-time communication

You are going to talk about the issue of unconscious bias. How would you define that term?

The term is originally rooted in psychology. However, I tend to focus on the cultural science component, and the reasons for its significance in an intercultural working environment. We have to remember that a bias is typically based on stereotypes and prejudices. In most cases, it is an attitude that we are not aware of, but this unconscious perception can lead to conscious discrimination.

 

This transition from unconscious to conscious is what creates issues. That is when you arrive at an extreme attitude, such as racism. It is important to differentiate these terms clearly.

Vanessah Aurore Reck
The key is to reflect on one’s own unconscious bias.
Vanessah Aurore Reck
Saarland University
Workplace health

At what point is it important for a company to deal with this topic?

It becomes crucial when a global corporation like Google strives to attract the crème de la crème of employees. Clearly, this crème de la crème is not just composed of white 50-year-old men. It is very diverse. It goes without saying that the company must create a suitable working environment if it wants to acquire such top talents. Taking this further, evaluating this issue is equally beneficial to companies seeking to attract outstanding candidates in other contexts.

 

The key is to reflect on one’s own unconscious bias – both on an organisational and on a personal level. Thus, awareness needs to be created.

Can you offer practical tips for dealing with unconscious bias?

The standards proposed by the scientific community sometimes appear engineered. Tools like intercultural training or workshops might be of interest. However, this typical form of training has also garnered criticism, as there is concern that they also encourage the reproduction of stereotypes. Nevertheless, such training is a good starting point for creating awareness for the topic, to make people appreciate its importance and spark an interest.

 

Also, there is more specialized training on unconscious bias that is based on psychological tenets and is therefore empirical in nature. However, that necessitates access to tools for understanding these empirical findings and transforming them into specific actions.

 

The Harvard Implicit Association Test takes yet another approach. It basically measures how unconsciously biased an individual is.

 

Personally, I believe it is important to strengthen the communication relating to this topic within the company; to create a shared culture with all employees that also offers safe spaces. This establishes a point of contact for victims of discrimination while also providing a platform for other employees to express their insecurities.

What specific actions would you say managers can employ to minimise bias within their teams?

Participation and communication. Examining and analysing internal processes from a new perspective while involving the affected minority groups.

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Cultural Diversity: Working in an intercultural company

Let's have a look at our London and Singapore offices. There are 13 different nations working together in diverse teams.

A plea for diverse learning content

Diversity is increasingly becoming a hygiene factor in our working world. E-Learning Content Project Manager Kenny appeals: “The diversity you want must also be reflected in your learning content.”

CONTACT

Contact

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
Diversity & Inclusion
Working in an intercultural company

Because cultural diversity enriches us

Meeting for a coffee with our colleagues in London and Singapore

It is now widely accepted that a relationship between diversity and business success exists. Studies prove that greater diversity equals greater success. On top of that, employees also benefit from an open corporate culture.

A dedicated crew has formed at imc to further drive diversity and inclusion. The objective: making a mark for diversity.

49 nationalities across 12 locations

Our offices are spread across the world – across 12 international locations to be precise. Here, 49 nations are collaborating. Today, we will take a closer look at two of our offices. To this end, we met for a virtual coffee with Francisca Lim, Brand Manager at imc Singapore and Gijs Daemen, Brand Manager at imc UK.

In London, 15 employees of 8 different nationalities are working together. 7 employees of 5 nationalities share the Singapore office.

Francisca Lim, Regional Brand Manager, imc Singapore

Francisca, you work in Singapore, but you are from Indonesia. Would you say that there are any differences in the working culture?

The working culture in Singapore is more independent compared to Indonesia. There is an Indonesian term called “gotong royong” or “working together” where everybody is expected to help each other and sharing the burdens. It’s more prevalent in Indonesian work culture than in Singapore. Besides this, there is no distinction between office friends and office colleagues in Indonesia, which is not the same in Singapore. Hence it’s scarce that we can develop a closer bond with our office colleagues in Singapore.

Gijs, you work in London, but you are Dutch. What was the most “shocking” moment for you after moving to the UK?

I can’t think of anything really “shocking”, but I’m very aware of the differences in communication styles. Dutch people tend to be quite direct. In the Netherlands it is seen as being honest and/or being efficient. However, in the UK that directness might come across as rude or disrespectful. So that is definitely something to be aware of.

Gijs Daemen

Gijs Daemen, Brand Manager, imc United Kingdom

Is the communication between all of you always in English in the office?

Francisca: Even though the national language in Singapore is Malay, the main language is English. The other official languages are Chinese (Mandarin) and Tamil, besides other dialects such as Cantonese, Hokkien, Hainanese, Hakka and Teochew. Most of the people speak English or sometimes it can be called “Singlish”, a variety of English spoken in Singapore incorporating elements of Malay, Cantonese and Hokkien. There are common words that I never heard before I came to Singapore, such as “lah”, “leh”, “walau”, “blur”. I couldn’t understand the conversation clearly in the beginning, but it’s much better now. However, we speak formal English, not Singlish, in the imc Singapore office.

Gijs: Yes, most of the time it is. A few people speak Dutch though, so sometimes we can switch. German people might be able to follow a Dutch conversation a little bit, but most English speakers won't understand a single word.

Gijs, was there any funny moment, for example a misunderstanding because of the different mother languages?

Our Dutch colleague Tanja loves to use random Dutch words or expressions in English conversations. That can be quite funny, at least for the Dutch speakers among us. I’m not sure what the others think…

Do you see the fact that 49 nations work together at imc as a hurdle or an enrichment?

Francisca: Team members with diverse backgrounds will bring diverse solutions to the table, which leads to a more informed decision-making process and improved results. Harvard Business Review found that diverse teams are able to solve problems faster than teams of cognitively similar people. But there are challenges as well, such as overcoming bias. Studies show that the vast majority of human decisions are based on biases, beliefs, and intuition - not facts or logic. Even with the best intentions, people tend to bring bias into their everyday interactions, including in the workplace.

How do you experience the diversity management at imc, are there still challenges?

Francisca: imc is the only company I joined that has been supporting diversity and inclusion that much, with so many activities and working groups to achieve a better result. I wish that we all keep the momentum going and involve more people in diversity and inclusion activities. There are not many big challenges working in diverse teams as long as we understand each other, share our experiences, learn from each other and understand our differences.

Francisca Lim, imc
There are not many big challenges working in diverse teams as long as we understand each other, share our experiences, learn from each other and understand our differences.
Francisca Lim
Regional Brand Manager
imc AG Singapore
RELATED CONTENT
E-Learning Punk: Diversity in E-Learning

Diversity inspires

The diversity of our employees from more than 49 nations makes us what we are: a Saarland brand at home in the world. Our clients around the world are diverse – so are our teams. Every single day they succeed in enabling individuals and organisations worldwide to unleash their full potential in a continuously changing world.

Diversity Wall, featured image

Diversity and inclusion at imc

What does Diversity and Inclusion mean at imc? And what is the "Diversity Corner" in the headquarter in Saarbrücken about? We will enlighten you in the interview with Kerstin Steffen.

CONTACT

Contact

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
woman infront of a graffiti wall
International Women's Day
at imc Australia

We celebrated International Women's Day 2021

For an understanding of diversity and inclusion we need to talk about bias first

Our team across Melbourne took the International Women's Day as an opportunity to consider diversity, inclusion and equality. The mission: challenging themselves to think about how biases can influence our professional and personal decision making.

International Women’s Day has been a conversation since 1911 and in Australia the gender pay gap is still 13.4%* and there are more CEOs named Andrew (7%) than there are female CEOs (5%) of our top 200 publicly listed companies. (*Australia Bureau of Statistics (2021), Average Weekly Earnings, November 2020, cat. no. 6302.0, viewed 25 February 2021)

Grafitti of a woman on a brick wall

In general, there are fewer women employed in technology driven businesses. While at imc we already have comparatively larger percentage of female-identifying staff, we acknowledge that we need to continue to develop and promote initiatives like our ‘Women in Leadership’ program with a view to increasing the number of women we employ.

LETS ASK SAMANTHA
Samantha holding her hand up for womens day

Samantha Mathews

Samantha, instructional designer at imc Australia and part of the imc Diversity and Inclusion Crew, hosted an internal event for her colleagues and talked about diversity, inclusion and why it is important to consider our own biases.

 

She has been working with a government client on an e-learning solution around family violence risk, an issue that disproportionately impacts women and felt that International Women’s Day was a good opportunity to share what she has learned on this project with the rest of the team.

Samantha, why was it so important for you to celebrate International Women’s Day at the imc office in Australia?

International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to start or re-start the conversation around the social and economic issues that impact half of the workforce.

How did you incorporate this years’ International Women’s Day theme #ChooseToChallenge?

We had a conversation, watched videos, and did an activity around bias, intersectionality, and inclusion. I think people came to their own understanding that “choosing to challenge” is about each of us, as individuals, checking our own biases and speaking up so that collectively, we can contribute to wider conversation about diversity and inclusion.

 

When we talk about these topics internally, we have an opportunity to reflect and learn which in turn allows us to provide a better, more inclusive service as e-learning providers.

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Ecological sustainability

Corporate Social Responsibility

Want to know more about Corporate Social Responsibility and what it means for us at imc? Find out more about our pillars and what we do.

Diversity Wall, featured image

Diversity and Inclusion at imc

What does Diversity and Inclusion mean at imc? And what is the "Diversity Corner" in the headquarter in Saarbrücken about? We will enlighten you in the interview with Kerstin Steffen

CONTACT

Contact

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager
magazine article hero
Diversity enriches

Diversity and inclusion at imc

Let’s celebrate diversity!
– Interview with Kerstin Steffen

I now work at imc in Saarbrücken. New job, new colleagues, new environment. I already noticed in my first week that this environment is not only diverse, but proud of diversity.

When I arrived at the imc headquarters for an initial meeting, one thing immediately caught my eye: The wall in our office features the word “Diversity” in large letters. Underneath is a small sitting area and a merchandise shelf with postcards. Someone had gone to the effort to create something visible – indeed, tangible.

Divrsity Corner imc

That aroused my interest. I want to know how imc understands diversity, and what exactly the company does to promote and celebrate diversity. Since I am curious by nature, I asked around. The company has a Diversity Crew. Members are based all over the world, but regularly meet virtually to exchange ideas and drive diversity and inclusion. Kerstin Steffen has been part of this from the start.

Kerstin, how did the Diversity Crew come into being? What exactly do you do?

The imc Diversity Crew was established last year. In fact, you could say it is a grassroots movement. Of course, our initiative has no political motivation. Yet, what we all have in common is our desire to bring about (societal) changes.

 

Colleagues who are invested in certain issues came together. After several discussions and iterations, the three pillars of Women in Leadership, Diversity in Talents and Cultural Diversity were formed. Now, small project teams are working on these topics, continuously extending their reach. Their mission is to organise various programmes and campaigns to make diversity and inclusion visible, and to bring these topics to life.

 

In particular, we are thrilled that the Executive Board has welcomed our work on diversity and inclusion (D&I), and has given us room to push our topics.

Kerstin Steffen
In my career, I have been given great support. Now, I would like to give something back.
Kerstin Steffen
Head of Global Marketing and Communications
imc AG

What does diversity mean for imc?

To us, D&I means promoting social diversity among employees, and leveraging it for the company in a constructive way.

Our employees come from almost 50 different countries. Personally, I find that rather impressive. We are working for a large range of customers all over the world. These projects are already very diverse in themselves.

 

You meet different colleagues from different cultures. They all work with different methods, and have a different understanding of values and beliefs. It is this very difference, this variety, that we consider a great opportunity for reaching the full potential of imc. We also understand diversity as a vital source of creativity. It enables us to come out tops in the global competition for the best ideas and products.

 

As a company that stands for development and rethinking like no other, we must also ensure that our employees have the freedom and opportunity to expand their horizon, keep learning and take in other perspectives. Making connections with other people and communities, exchanging ideas and benefitting from other people’s knowledge and experience is a win-win situation for each employee, as well as for imc as a whole.

Workplace health

Why does imc have a Diversity Corner? What purpose does it serve?

We created the Diversity Wall to emphasise how important D&I is in our company. The wall represents a diverse workforce and the integrative culture that imc stands for. At the same time, it reminds us every day to be approachable and open with each other.

At the moment, we only have this wall at the headquarters in Saarbrücken. However, we would like to install a wall like that at every imc location.

Your focus in the Diversity Crew is Women in Leadership. Why is that topic so close to your heart?

I moved up to a leadership position at a very young age. I was extremely lucky to have great coaches, colleagues and associates who supported my personal growth in a very male-dominated sector. To this day, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and the confidence placed in me. I would like to give something back, pass it on. That is why I am actively involved in our Women in Leadership (WIL) Circle.

 

However, I would like to highlight that WIL means more than just management tasks, line management and responsibility to me. I know many women who have – or are building – impressive careers as experts.

You can also be very passionate about issues you deeply care about or have special talents in your private life. I think it’s important to support each other and help each other be seen. That is the aspect I want to contribute to.

INFO

Women in Leadership is one of the pillars of diversity management at imc. Hence, it’s only natural that we are celebrating International Women’s Day on 8th March. Do you want to see what Kerstin and her team have prepared? Come and visit our social media wall  and subscribe to our Instagram channel!

RELATED CONTENT
Ecological sustainability

Corporate Social Responsibility

Want to know more about Corporate Social Responsibility and what it means for us at imc? Find out more about our pillars and what we do.

A plea for diverse learning content

Diversity is increasingly becoming a hygiene factor in our working world. E-Learning Content Project Manager Kenny appeals: “The diversity you want must also be reflected in your learning content.”

CONTACT

Contact

I joined the imc newsroom team in 2021. As a journalist my heart beats for content and storytelling.

 

I’m excited to figure out how e-learing and digitization affect the future of work. My task is to create content to talk about and I’m always looking for trends.

 

Privately I love to travel and eat Tapas.

 

Topics: E-Learning Trends, Corporate Social Responsibility, Press and Influencer Relations

Nina Wamsbach
Communication Manager