"Everyone should feel valued"

ERGO's diversity manager contributed to new management book

People & stories, 01.09.2020

ERGO benefits from the different qualifications, experience and ways of thinking of its employees. In a recently published management handbook, ERGO Diversity Officer Katrin Weitz addresses the topic of diversity as an economic success factor and the advantages of a corporate culture to which all employees feel included.

Katrin Weitz, Diversity Manager at ERGO Group AG

"Leadership and Management in the Insurance Industry" is the title of the handbook to which Katrin Weitz contributed the chapter on diversity using ERGO as an example. We spoke with the ERGO Diversity Representative about the success formula for diversity and the next steps at ERGO.

Congratulations on the publication of the handbook. It makes diversity at ERGO known to a wider audience. How important is it for the public to get involved with the topic?

Thank you very much, we are very pleased about it. Up to now, the exchange has mainly taken place within the employers' association or through participation in congresses. Unfortunately, diversity is still seen by many as a purely gender issue and is not an integral part of corporate strategy. It has now been clearly proven that cultural diversity is an economic success factor. We would like to underline this with our contribution.

As you have just said, not every company has its own team for diversity. What makes ERGO different?

At ERGO too, it started out as a gender issue. The goal was to fill a quarter of all management positions with women. Currently, women account for 28.4 % of all three management levels at ERGO.

However, we quickly realized within the Human Resources department that the issue of diversity goes much further. That is why we have defined our diversity strategy with three thematic areas. Through our measures, we want to emphasize ERGO's attractiveness as an employer, increase the company's future viability and agility, and finally understand and use diversity as a success factor.

In your chapter, you write that there is a simple success formula for diversity. What are the ingredients?

We have learned from our development and also through the exchange with other companies that some points are essential for diversity to work. 

You need support from management so that the issue can be actively promoted and you need a fixed budget. In addition, you need a dedicated team that can focus on diversity. Besides two or three goals, which you set out in your corporate strategy, it’s also crucial to formulate a management mission statement and KPIs (performance indicators). Finally, you need an outside perspective from external experts.

Diversity Management at ERGO

It all started with the compatibility of work and family. What topics are currently on the agenda at ERGO?

People from five generations work at ERGO, internationalization is in focus, sexual identity and disability are receiving increasing attention. Then there is digitalization, which is changing and will continue to change the way we work. 

In order to make colleagues fit for the new working world, we have launched a comprehensive training initiative via transformation@ergo. We are taking part in the World Day for Cultural Diversity and are using the international Diversity World Map to show how diversity is practiced at ERGO in Germany and internationally.

There are currently four networks at ERGO: women@ergo, the Fathers' Network, since recently Pride@ergo and soon inclusion@ergo - how important are they for diversity?

Diversity is a management issue on the one hand. It is important that managers promote this topic in a targeted manner so that the diversity strategy is successful. This is part of our management training, which is why each network has a patron from the board of directors.

On the other hand, no 'prescribed' culture will prevail if it is not also lived out by colleagues. This is where the impulses that the networks give to the board of directors play an important role.

What is the main goal behind diversity at ERGO?

All topics are equally important, that is the great challenge of diversity. Of course, each network pursues its own topics, but together they work to ensure that everyone at ERGO receives equal encouragement and support, regardless of gender, age, origin, sexual orientation, etc. Acceptance and tolerance as well as dealing with unconscious prejudices affects everyone, and therefore each group makes its contribution to an inclusive culture. Our goal is a successful company in which everyone feels valued and which reflects the diversity of society.

Interview: Stefanie Neumann and Jeroen Minnebo


Related articles

People & stories 06.03.2020

Work in international teams

An IT specialist from India, a production designer from Spain and an engineer from Germany – for many companies it meanwhile is quite usual to have staff from every corner of the world. Cultural diversity promises creative and innovative ideas, but can also be challenging.

People & stories 15.09.2020

A better information exchange between dads

The network of fathers at ERGO aims to support fathers in the company. ERGO employee Mathias Grams has two children and explains in an interview why networking among dads is important.

People & stories 09.10.2020

Coming out can be so liberating

Being open about your own sexual orientation - even in the year 2020 it’s still not easy for many people in the LGBT+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender). ERGO employees Sascha Krausen and Torsten Askerlund talk about their outing and how it has changed their lives for the Coming Out Day this Sunday (11.10.2020).