Event Summary

HR Roundtable: Diversity in China 2022

On 31 May 2022, German Centre Beijing, Sennheiser and AHK Greater China organized an HR roundtable about “Diversity in China 2022”.

Why this event?

“The German Centre Beijing is an ecosystem of more than 70 diverse businesses under one roof. We are providing workspaces for companies, organizations and people from different industries and with different market experience, backgrounds and perspectives.”, says Jochen Tenhagen, and adds, “This is ideal for best practice and information sharing. We believe that diversity leads to better outcomes and decisions. This event is a great example for cross-industry exchange on a highly relevant topic.”

What are framework conditions in China?

When companies want to introduce diversity programs into their organizations in China, they need a common understanding of what diversity means. The definition of ‘diversity’ and what it encompasses to be ‘diverse’ can differ from country to country.

Florian Kessler, WZR Beijing, introduced the legal framework for workplace protection of LGBTIQ+ in China, and showed the differences compared with regulations in Germany. Based on the analysis of various labor law case studies, he made clear that: “It’s every company’s responsibility to establish binding corporate rules and mechanisms to protect employees from any kind of discrimination and create a diverse workplace.”

How to promote diversity in companies and organizations?

Ruth Schimanowski, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), talked about ‘Diversity for Excellence in Research and Education’ - analyzing approaches for promoting diversity in three major German research organizations: DAAD, Max Planck Society and Humboldt Foundation. Her summarizing statement: “Diversity of personal backgrounds encourages the development of new approaches in teaching and research.”

Zang Xinting, Volkswagen Group China, presented how ‘Diversity wins @ Volkswagen’ – in this global initiative all managers and leaders throughout the group are trained on diversity and inclusion in a holistic three step approach. This is combined with diverse additional activities to engage employees. Ms. Zang says: “The mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work unless it’s open.”

Open discussion.

The key note speeches were followed by a vivid panel discussion, moderated by Li Yiran, Berlin Business Desk China. The panelists - Florian Kessler, Ruth Schimanowski, Friso Strahmann (Volkswagen Group China) and Vivian Tu – discussed important topics regarding the implementation of diversity strategies for companies and organizations, such as: diversity in China and why is it important for work and business; raising employees’ awareness; sharing practical experiences of implementing inclusion policies; describing some of the difficulties of implementing diversity strategies; and suggestions for small- and medium-sized companies in China.

When asked for her approach to promote diversity within the company, Vivian Tu, Schenck Process Industrial Technology, said: “It's important to have a dedicated team that defines initiatives for diversity and inclusion with full support of the management team on this journey. First of all, what we did, is to get the top management's buy-in and sponsorship to ensure the diversity directions.” and adds, “I think it's a breakthrough for our company in the diversity area that everyone has equal opportunities to have a career development, e.g. more female leaders in sales management, operations and technology in male-dominated industry.”

Geoff Kennedy, Sennheiser China, summarizes: “I found the event to be very informative and helpful in starting to create a diversity program in China. The panel discussion has helped me decide what actions and direction to take in developing the initiatives for our teams.”

Do you also want to implement a new diversity strategy to your company in China? Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are happy to share further information on this topic and connect you with the right experts from different fields.

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