June is LGBTI+ Pride month, when people around the world raise their voices to celebrate differences and call for an end to discrimination in society. Where do we stand right now in terms of diversity? How should companies promote the inclusion of often excluded groups? To answer these questions, the new episode of the Moving Forward podcast delves into the world of diversity with Thomas Meiers, Chief Governance and Legal Officer at SEAT S.A. and an activist for LGBTI+ rights, and Ana-Cristina Grohnert, Chairwoman of the Charta der Vielfalt (Charter of Diversity), Germany’s biggest business diversity network, which focuses on inclusion as a factor for business success.
A question of normality.
Visibility, inclusion and corporate culture are some of the topics in the new episode.
For Meiers, the key to diversity lies in respect, “it’s not about tolerating others, but respecting them” he says. To which Grohnert adds: “We need this respect for every single person, wherever you come from, whomever you love or whatever kind of family structure you have”, until “these differences are just another reflection of normality, a diverse normality.”
Both agree, despite the progress made so far, there is still a long way to go. They believe supporting an inclusive environment and giving a voice to those who have not been able to speak up until now is part of the solution. “Diversity and inclusion must go hand in hand. Besides having a diverse team, people should feel that they can participate and speak up”, says Meiers. And Grohnert adds: “If you want your company to adapt to the challenges of the future, you have to make your workplace an inclusive environment with a learning culture.”
Grohnert is the Chairwoman of the German Charta der Vielfalt.
Grohnert, who is also an expert on human capital, was keen to stress the importance of inclusion policies for companies’ bottom lines: “Being better connected enables us to be more innovative with our customers and employees; we are more creative, better, and in short, we’re exploiting a business success factor.”
Networks that inspire.
On the podcast, Meiers talks about the “journey” that companies must take to reach full inclusion. He describes the visibility and awareness-raising strategies that SEAT S.A. currently carries out like Pride Moves Us, the company’s employee network that promotes LGBTI+ inclusion, of which he is a member, and SEAT S.A.’s membership in REDI, the business network on diversity and LGBTI+ inclusion in Spain. In closing, Meiers reflected that: “If we want something to change, whether in society or at work, we cannot wait for others to do it, we must change it ourselves.”