Companies ask employees about their skin color and no longer only address men and women when it comes to job advertisements: management consultant and coach Reinhard Vissa explains in an interview how companies can best behave when it comes to equality and diversity.

Diversity and equality are important issues – also in companies.

 & laquo; A company cannot correct what is wrong in society & raquo;

For example, UBS employees asked about their skin color and thus provoked a shit storm.

 & laquo; A company cannot correct what is wrong in society & raquo;

In order to deal with shitstorms properly, management consultant and coach Reinhard Vissa advises companies to develop a value system on topics such as equality and diversity.

That's what

  • UBS asks employees about skin color, Uefa forbids a rainbow stadium.

  • Shitstorms occur again and again because companies behave incorrectly.

  • That's why Companies need clear guidelines when it comes to diversity and equality.

  • Management consultant and coach Reinhard Vissa explains how it works in an interview.

Mr. Vissa, UBS is now asking its employees what skin color They have. That led to a shit storm. How should a company behave in such a situation?

It is important that this information is absolutely voluntary and confidential. But in order to promote diversity and equality in a company, there must be an awareness of the affiliations of the companies. For a large corporation, however, it can be difficult to keep track of the ethnicity of the employees. That is why I consider the UBS question to be unproblematic. In order to be able to deal with shitstorms properly, I generally advise companies to develop a value system on topics such as equality and diversity. This must record what attitude the company is adopting. A company can use this as a guide in a crisis situation and knows how to react.

What exactly should this value system look like – does it also state whether managers are allowed to invite their employees to the exit?

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I think that borders on paternalism and would not be the right way to go. Rather, values ​​such as respect, tolerance, decency and non-violent communication should be exemplified and implemented by managers. When these values ​​are lived by all of us in professional and private encounters, we create clear boundaries for attacks. Promoting collective awareness has a stronger effect than excessive regulations.

Can companies do anything to prevent sexism?

Of course, a company cannot correct what is going wrong in society. Basically, the same applies as in all areas of life: Values ​​require communication. By living values ​​in everyday life, an attitude arises. For example, it would be worthwhile if the executive floor at the annual meeting not only talks about goals and strategies, but also takes a position on cultural issues such as an understanding of values, new forms of work such as home office, internal communication, diversity and even sexism.

Are employees also allowed to make demands on a company in this regard?

Publicly communicated demands without prior internal discussions are rarely a breeding ground for successful cooperation. Every applicant should check whether their own values ​​match those of the future company before they are hired. These are usually included in the mission statement and can be seen on the Internet or can be discussed in a personal interview. For example, Shell, as a mineral oil producer, will hardly have ecology dominant in its value system. As an employee, making ecological demands would hardly be expedient.

So companies don't have to respond to the wishes of their employees at all?

Managers have to recognize value-relevant trends within the company and take employees' ideas seriously. The executive suite must examine and decide whether wishes and ideas can be implemented in the interests of the company's performance mandate. For example, whether gender-based spelling is introduced is ultimately a management decision that must be communicated to all employees so that the framework conditions are clear.

What can a company do when employees go public and talk about an incident?

This puts the employees under pressure on the company. That doesn't exactly strengthen the mutual trust between employers and employees. Something like this usually only happens when a company has failed to take a stand, has underestimated the importance of issues or has not dealt with suspected misconduct clearly and consistently. If a company enters into dialogue with employees at an early stage and enforces its values, it will not get that far.

Diversity is trendy: Should companies encourage diversity on their own initiative?

Diversity can be a competitive advantage for companies. So it's definitely worth promoting diversity and inclusion. Not only the employees benefit from this, but also the company. Because in the end it is always about using the potential of all employees. Companies that, for example, do not want to employ women after their baby break are thinking too short-term. Specialists and female executives in particular do not lose their potential just because they have become mothers.

Uefa rejected the rainbow colors in the Munich stadium during the EM in the summer. What do companies risk with such an action?

Unfortunately, the boundaries between sport and politics are becoming more and more blurred than desired. Uefa missed the chance to make a clear statement and gain sympathy for the association. Instead, it succumbed to the political pressure of individual countries, which unfortunately cannot boast of democratic and social progress. For a company, I see this in a more differentiated way. Committing to diversity and inclusion can bring advantages in terms of image and competitiveness. But it doesn't have to be: It depends heavily on the industry, market significance and public interest in the company. It can also have negative consequences if a company loudly professes certain values, but then does not follow up with this commitment. In these cases, a neutral stance is better.

Do LGBTQ labels make sense?

Vissa: «The Swiss LGBTI label distinguishes companies and organizations that live an open and inclusive organizational culture. In addition to a dozen SMEs, numerous companies such as ABB, Allianz, BDO, Credit Suisse, Roche, Novartis, Nestlé, MSD, SAP, SWISS, Swisscom, UBS, ZKB and many more have already been awarded this label. However, this label only makes sense if the commitment is also lived within the company. Otherwise this commitment can quickly lose credibility and damage the image. »

Do you or does someone you know have problems with the job?

< p> Here you can find help:

Arbeit.swiss, information and addresses for job seekers

Lohnbedarf.ch, rights in the event of termination without notice

Offered hand, worries Hotline, Tel. 143

Pro Juventute, advice for children and young people, Tel. 147

LGBT I Q: Do you have any questions or problems?

You can find help here:

LGBT + Helpline, Tel. 0800 133 133

Du-bist-du.ch, advice and information

Transgender Network Switzerland

Lilli.ch, information and directory of advice centers

Milk youth, overview of youth groups

Parents advice, Tel. 058 261 61 61

Pro Juventute , Advice for children and adolescents, Tel. 147

Are you or is someone you know affected by racism?

You can find help here:

Advisory network for victims of racism

GRA, Foundation against Racism and Anti-Semitism

racist incident at report to the GRA

report an Islamophobic incident to the FIDS

Pro Juventute, advice for children and adolescents, Tel. 147

Offered hand, worries hotline, Tel . 143

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Your opinion

By Teresa Tapmleton

Teresa Tampleton has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Nizh TEkegram, Teresa Tampleton worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teresa@ntelegram.com 1-800-268-7341

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