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.”
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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