LEAD: In which aspects of diversity do German companies still have some catching up to do?
Fränzi Kühne: The biggest challenge I see is accelerating corporate rethinking. Companies that want to do without talent will face a problem in the medium term. For me as an entrepreneur, it is incomprehensible why this change in values takes so long, when it has been scientifically proven that mixed teams have a higher collective intelligence, are more crisis-resistant and more successful.
These positive relationships between effectiveness and profitability can also be observed in the various supervisory boards and executive boards. For example, the founder of the AllBright Foundation, Sven Hagströmer, has his bank’s investment department regularly calculate: How do the stock market prices of firms with exclusively homogeneous managements develop? Where are the stocks of companies where women are at the top?
It almost always comes out that stock market prices are better, the closer the proportion of women to a parity in the board. Nevertheless, mixed teams still cling to “multi-cultural hipster lifestyle from Berlin-Kreuzberg”. However, the promotion of diversity is not politically correct punishment, but indispensable in the interest of the company’s success.
More diversity topics can be found in the current issue of LEAD 04/18, which is also available online.
Which aspects of diversity are working well?
At TLGG, we have been very open to recruiting for ten years now and have had a good team since our founding. The best talents companies have to win these days for themselves. In addition, a lot has happened in the last ten years: For example, never before have so many women been on supervisory boards as today.
Meanwhile, in the tech and advertising industry, too, it can be seen that various teams can better understand and serve customer needs in times of social fragmentation and individualization. Or that in times of digital upheavals, which do not stop at national borders, linguistic and cultural diversity can secure the future.
What concrete ideas or approaches do you bring in as a young woman who would not have been without a diverse team?
This question is difficult to answer, because the symbolic vocation of a woman on the board or board makes little sense. All studies and practice show that you always need a critical mass to make a difference. Nevertheless, in my position as a member of the supervisory board, I try to raise awareness of certain topics and their dangers.
For example, corporate leaders who say no to women say no to meritocracy and potential growth opportunities. These companies send a devastating signal – consciously or unconsciously – to the employees in the company (“You will not get involved here”), to interested external female executives (“You are not welcome here”) and to the public (“We are not capable and willing to adapt to the changed social and economic conditions “).
As a managing director at TLGG, I see it as my task to create structures that allow different life models. We try to find individual solutions for our employees and in return demand change from them. Together we try a lot and often new things.
“Right now and still likes to recruit.”
What do you think about this: is diversity taken seriously enough in German companies? Are active measures taken?
Yes and no. Equal and same time, people still like to recruit because they know what they think they are. Although the highest levels of business are beginning to realize that society is diverse and corporate structures are benefiting from this diversity, change still remains cumbersome.
The German company is apparently still too well. That’s why it takes a critical public to drive corporate culture forward: people and initiatives looking at what companies do and commenting in debates. Fortunately, there is more and more of that.
Also interesting: “Language is an essential element to advance diversity”
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