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Web Story 11-02-2021

5 min read

Actively practicing diversity culture

With the Diversity 360 framework, Hitachi ABB Power Grids not only wants to increase the representation of women in the workforce, but also bring about a lasting change in corporate culture. The following text was published as an advertorial in the magazine "Fokus", a supplement of the "Tages-Anzeiger".

The joint venture Hitachi ABB Power Grids supplies utility, industrial and infrastructure customers along the entire value chain as well as the emerging areas of sustainable mobility, smart cities, energy storage and data centers. Worldwide it currently has 36,000 employees in 90 countries, of which around 2,900 are based at the global headquarters in Switzerland. The new "Diversity 360" framework is designed to make them fit for the future. “We need to find different solutions to problems that we often don't not even know yet," says Stefanie Ratzel, Global Head of Talent & Learning (HR). "We are looking for people who think and act differently and challenge us. It’s about 'Diversity of Thought'. Bringing together people of different backgrounds, nationalities, genders, ages, attitudes and education is critical to success."

Diversity 360 affects every employee. That can be a woman in a research department or a mechanical engineer of any age. The number 360 is representative of the all-round view and the inclusion of all employees, regardless of ethnic origin, gender, age group and/or education level. With Diversity 360 all employees and managers have a framework that promotes the "Diversity of Thought". This framework includes four key areas:

I Leadership-Pillars: Over the past 12 months Hitachi ABB Power Grids has developed a unique brand of leadership, which was developed with over 500 employees. This is the driving force behind success for Diversity 360. Inclusive Leadership forms the "Diversity of Thought", employee retention and innovation. 

II Female Acceleration: Hitachi ABB Power Grids currently has a female population of 19 percent, which is to be increased to at least 25 percent worldwide by 2025. They have clearly defined targets both for women entering the workforce, and for middle and top management. The company wants to position itself as an attractive employer, and to offer its female employees more opportunities through internal development programs, the provision of networks, and more flexible working arrangements and offerings. 

III Living Diversity & Inclusion: The focus here is on corporate culture. Training and targeted tools are available to make employees aware of any unconscious bias or stereotypes, to make fact-based decisions, and to raise awareness of other cultures and approaches.

IV: Attract & Grow: The success of Diversity 360 will be visible here. Only with motivated and enabled employees at all levels will long-term growth be possible at all. The modern world of work is characterized by constant change and new challenges. The competencies of today are therefore not necessarily those of tomorrow. Success comes to those who can learn and unlearn. The focus here is on internal training opportunities and lifelong learning, which can be individual and flexible. 

Practice and theory

"I've been with the company for twelve years and you often feel that, as a woman, you represent a minority in many areas," Stefanie Ratzel openly admits. "At the beginning of my career, I saw this as a disadvantage, but now I see it as a benefit, a great opportunity for me and for Hitachi ABB Power Grids to open up perspectives." While Stefanie Ratzel personally addresses the issue of diversity & inclusion in her role as Head of Talent & Learning, Patricia Sandmeier, Country Sales Manager Switzerland, is responsible for practical implementation in Switzerland. "I lead a team of around 20 people. When filling a new sales trainee position, for example, I am delighted when I can recruit a competent applicant. However, a suitable man need not fear female competition. It is always about togetherness and not an antagonism." Patricia Sandmeier advises women in particular to have more self-confidence and courage. "Often women have to be challenged in order to dare to do something. In doing so, they should have much more confidence in their own abilities. Even if there is currently a need to ease the barrier to entry for women, the same performance criteria apply to everyone. "To be successful in the future, we need to have resilience and flexibility: the more diverse a team is, the better it can be, the better it can respond to changes," says Patrica Sandmeier.

A Herculean task

For Stefanie Ratzel, too, it's about finding the best person for an advertised position. "The success of a team is that the individual members and the supervisor who need to complement each other so that not everyone thinks and acts in the same way. We have introduced global measures to support this behavior. For example, for every new appointment in the top 800 positions, there has to be at least one woman on the 'shortlist'. This also applies to succession planning. In addition, for example, all positions throughout Switzerland  are advertised equally for men and women at 80 and not just 100 percent.” In short, the global introduction of Diversity 360 is a Herculean task, because breaking through routines and old ways of thinking is not easy for everyone. An important part of this is attracting more women to the company, but it's also about the overall diversity of the workforce, which is ultimately crucial for innovation and sustainable growth.

Read the original article here: Magazine "Fokus Moderne Frau" [DE]

Link to the article in the magazin