The more diverse the teams, the more successful they are. This is a simple rule of thumb that we at Viessmann live by each and every day. Diversity management is not a series of individual measures. We think differently in every decision we make.
There are many factors that make up a successful company. Diverse teams are one of them, especially when it comes to our globalized world and in the face of the demographic change taking place in our country. It’s not just the young learning from the old at our company – the exchange of knowledge also deliberately goes the other way in the course of digital transformation.
In keeping with our motto of creating living spaces for generations to come, we’ve got to think and act on a global scale: climate change is a global challenge that doesn’t just stop at the borders. As a company with sales companies and representatives in 74 countries worldwide, it’s simply a given that we work with people of different nationalities to find solutions.
Josephin Letzner from Business Operations has a clear opinion about this: “For me, diversity and inclusion mean uniting different skills and cultural backgrounds – not necessarily different traditions, but ways of thinking. It’s important for people to have varying outlooks. This applies across functions and also between young and old employees at Viessmann.”
Our market environment in the field of heating is going through fundamental change. Viessmann recognized that digital transformation is necessary to stay competitive in times of change. A transformation such as this also requires new ways of working, people within the organization thinking differently, and new leadership practices. Diversity is essential for us to support the transformation.
Diversity means focusing on customers
For us, diversity also means focusing on customers. Part of diversity for us is about hiring qualified employees who best represent our buyer groups in the different Viessmann countries and who differ in characteristics, such as age, nationality, gender, physical ability, religion, sexual orientation, life experience, socioeconomic background, personality, etc. Realistic expectations regarding industry, location, and the demographics of the surrounding population(s) are also factored in here.
For Performance Marketing Manager Soufiane Zahir diversity is a matter of shared learning: “Diversity is a very positive thing for me because we can all benefit from it by learning from one another and applying new points of views in future projects. It’s about being tolerant, open-minded, and ready for new ideas.
In 2015, the United Nations launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), an important and ambitious agenda for sustainable development by 2030. These goals are our cornerstone for designing a diverse company.
Gender equality is one of the goals of the UN agenda. As a technology company, we face the fact that there is a very low proportion of women working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). As a result, the talent pool for recruiting is small. The challenge is to make us an attractive employer for young, talented women. As a family-operated company, uniting work and family life – for both men and women – is a topic we care deeply about. Thanks to our employee app Vi2Go, we’ve already created opportunities for employees to stay in contact with the company during parental leave and phases of reorientation and to follow company develops. That’s how we’re encouraging transparency and communication. We’re also keeping a firm eye on how we can employ and promote women at all our company’s hierarchy levels.
Our company also has various initiatives in place aimed at recognizing and promoting our employees in their specific strengths – from women’s networks to mentoring programs for young talents. In addition, we regularly organize seminar series and panel discussions, which intensively address the topics of “Diversity and inclusion”.
Positioning and getting a company to think in terms of diversity can only work if everyone follows suit. We therefore encourage every member of our large Viessmann family to use the internal recommendation program, in order to promote an open attitude and to set an example. Transparency and communication are important tools for this.
Viessmann complies with the laws governing the equal pay of employees within Germany’s pay bargaining system. Demographic information, such as age, gender, or marital status, are not factored into remuneration. We have set up processes to clarify matters should an employee feel discriminated against. The first step is to talk to the manager. If this fails, the HR contact person and the works council are the right addressees, as is the Group Head of HR Steffen Buch. The two CEOs Maximilian Viessmann and Joachim Janssen will also step in if things cannot be cleared up at this level.