Diversity: creating value by valuing people

Our employees’ wide range of qualifications, experiences and ways of thinking are of great benefit to ERGO. We want to support and promote this diversity and our employees’ potential as an integral part of our corporate culture.

ERGO is a signatory to the “Charta der Vielfalt” (Diversity Charter). Signing this charter represents a commitment to creating a working environment free of prejudice and exclusion, in which employees can experience being valued, regardless of their gender, nationality, religious beliefs, disabilities, age, and sexual orientation or identity. Our Code of Conduct, which applies to all employees at all levels of the Company, underlines our commitment to diversity. The Code requires all employees in Germany and abroad to observe a set of fundamental rules and principles in their behaviour, and includes a ban on all forms of discrimination, as well as regulations for reporting violations.

We place particular emphasis on enabling people with disabilities to take a full and equal part in the world of work and support them in their working lives. We demonstrate this commitment by means of a Group-wide company agreement on inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce and our work, characterised by appreciation and respect for our colleagues, with our representative body for disabled employees.

ERGO takes different stages in the life of its employees into account and supports the development of their individual potential with a broad range of measures since we believe that a diverse workforce contributes significantly to our Company’s overall business success. Since 2002, ERGO has had an Equal Opportunities Officer whose role is to represent employees’ and specifically women’s interests. She also provides advice to HR managers at all locations.

With various measures, our Diversity Management team supports a culture of diversity that is characterised by respect, equal opportunities and a working environment free of prejudice. Our activities – in particular our annually held dialogue formats – are targeted at increasing general awareness in dealing with diversity and supporting a constructive exchange on its different aspects.

The issue of intergenerational working will become increasingly important over the next few years due to the demographic development. In “Generation Workshops”, employees in all age groups tried to identify the individual needs of employees from different age groups and possible solutions to meet them. Making work more flexible as well as building intergenerational tandems are some of the measures to this end.

Career support for all and specific mentoring

The “Diversity” team has initiated a series of measures intended to sustainably promote women’s career progress within our Company. Since then, the share of women in management positions has steadily increased: At the end of 2016, 24.3 percent of employees in the management in Germany were women. Our objective is to increase this proportion to at least 25 percent by the end of 2020.

Another important project related to women's career advancement in our Company is our mentoring programme, aimed at female employees with the potential to rise to management positions. Participants have the opportunity to work on their personal development with experienced executives, primarily from the Board of Management.

In 2016, ERGO was awarded the signet “top4women” by the “women&work” careers fair, Germany’s biggest careers fair for women, for the second time. The signet honours the Company’s efforts to support women in their work and professional development. The Jury saluted the commitment to a family-friendly HR policy and acknowledged the large number of tools and models for getting the work-life balance right.

Different life phases or sudden upheavals in the family always exert an impact on an individual’s working life. As far as ERGO is concerned, diversity is therefore also about creating options for relieving the pressure in this field of tension. Our family-oriented HR policy and our measures to balance work and family life have been regularly evaluated and documented by the “work and family” audit since 2002. In 2016, ERGO received the certificate of the German non-profit foundation Hertie-Stiftung for the fifth time.

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Qualification and awareness

Senior executives in Germany can take part in a two-day workshop “Success factor diversity”. Since 2017, they may also book half-day trainings to raise their awareness for dealing with diverse teams. In addition, the seminar “Embracing diversity” is a standard component in our vocational training, including the three modules “Group social expertise”, “Awareness for differences” and “Practical project work”. In 2012, it was rewarded the training price “Inno-Ward” by the German Insurance Association for Vocational Education and Training.

Similarly, our sales markets are also becoming ever more diverse. We believe that only those companies whose workforce is appropriately diversified to appeal to a similarly broad range of customers, perform to their satisfaction and retain their custom will be able to succeed in the market of the future. Consequently, we are planning an exchange on dealing with diversity with the members of our ERGO Customer Advisory Board in 2017.

For us, diversity is more than just a buzzword that will disappear off the agenda again within a short space of time. Diversity is a question of attitude, and it’s impossible to change attitudes and behaviour overnight or by means of one single campaign. We will only see real change by means of a change management process put in place with systematic support, featuring a wide range of activities and initiatives, and with a large number of our colleagues on board.

Dagmar Brück, Head of Change and Diversity Management