Creating a work environment where everyone can feel comfortable and express themselves to the fullest: that's the mission of Carina Behrends, from Audi Diversity Management department.
What will the ideal working world of tomorrow look like? What principles will it have to follow? These and other questions are tried to be answered by Carina Behrends, who has been working in Audi's Diversity Management department since 2020 with the mission of bringing about change. For the past three years she has been working with her team to promote diversity and inclusion in every area of the company, using instruments such as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and surveys, activating workshops and awareness training, but also reviewing HR processes and creating partnerships with international initiatives and New Work projects.
All this with the aim of making the principles of diversity and inclusion fundamental at Audi: "Diversity has very great potential: when different perspectives, ideas and opinions come together, this can result in plenty of innovation, especially at an international company like Audi", Behrends explains.
Many studies - including those by McKinsey and StepStone - show that companies with a higher degree of diversity, in this case gender diversity, have a 25% greater chance of being more profitable than average and at the same time are more attractive to potential workers. 77 percent of StepStone study participants said they would prefer to apply for a company that proves itself to be tolerant, diverse, and open-minded.
In addition, employees who feel appreciated and included work better and stay with the company for longer. "We want to create an environment where everyone can give their best", summarizes Behrends. Inclusion, defined as establishing a culture where there is room for all kinds of perspectives, is an important key to success.
The commitment to diversity and inclusion is more complex than it seems: through Carina Behrends and her team, Audi participates in national and international events and is present on various platforms where it dialogues with experts from other companies on the next steps to be taken to achieve equal opportunities for everyone, both in the business world and in society at large.
Audi employees are also welcome to take on an active role, through four Diversity Networks - open to all - to talk about their interests and spread their ideas within the company. Among the tasks of Carina Behrends' team is to support and group the work of these networks; in recent months, Behrends has been working primarily on the scientific study "Mobile & on site" on shaping the hybrid work model at Audi.
Flexibility and diversity
But what does work flexibility and diversity have to do with each other? The connection lies in the fact that Audi aims to become a company where there is room for many different life models. In 2022, the Audi Group could count on about 83,000 employees, around 56,000 of this total in Germany; it means having thousands of different personalities and just as many different needs. "Diversity has an impact on all of us, and we are more than just our job title. We are people who, along with their personal needs, should also feel at home at our company," Behrends resumes. "The goal is to help people to be who they are. If I feel that someone in my surroundings cannot be themselves, I want to offer them my support".
After graduating from the University of Passau with a degree in International Cultural and Business Studies, Carina Behrends began an internship in Sales at Audi in 2016 and was impressed by the company's values. "At the beginning of the internship, I attended an international conference and was impressed by the number of different nationalities and the appeal of the Audi brand", Behrends says. One of the projects that makes her proud is "We.Together": the International Diversity & Inclusion Days, in which about 6,000 employees were involved in May 2022.
"We showed diversity in all its dimensions, from international collaboration in preparing the multilingual program and all the facets of diversity through to participants from all over the world". We.Together was the first event of its kind organized together with the entire Audi group, with a great deal of teamwork in different areas. According to Behrends, the ideal world of work is diverse, inclusive and international - and Audi is well on its way to achieving this.
Source: AUDI AG
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