Diversity as a competitive advantage

Global diversity & inclusion management has been an integral component of Henkel’s corporate strategy since 2007. Within a matrix organization, the heads of the various units and functions in each business sector as well as regional diversity ambassadors ensure that the diversity strategy is cascaded to the countries and functions.

Strategic areas targeted when implementing diversity initiatives are measures to promote work-flexibility, to encourage interaction and knowledge transfer between employee generations, and to increase the share of women in management positions. Concrete examples of these include the global introduction of a Work-Life Flexibility Charter, the further development of the global mentoring program, continued targeted implementation of career development programs for both genders, the expansion of existing and establishment of new employee networks, and enhancing the support provided in the area of balancing family and career. All of these measures are aimed at further developing our corporate culture and promoting a friendly and open environment of mutual respect in the workplace.

Relaunch of the Henkel Diversity Blog

Since March 2012, the Henkel Diversity Blog (www.henkeldiversity.com) has been offering new and expanded content. In addition to established features such as the main blog postings, in which the Henkel diversity professionals and ambassadors around the globe comment on and discuss current trends and topics in this field, the “Diversity Worldwide” column gives daily insights into a large variety of diversity aspects.

A special item on the Henkel Diversity Blog site is the role model database. In this database, around 100 successful Henkel employees talk about their own careers and share their experiences in the areas of “female careers” and “work-life flexibility” (www.henkeldiversity.com/role-models). The role model database serves as a source of information and inspiration for future and existing female managers and employees seeking more flexibility in their work.

By providing this content, the Henkel Diversity Blog has evolved into a central “go to” place for global diversity topics on the internet.

Work-Life Flexibility

Balancing family and career is a topical socio-political theme in many countries today and is a focal aspect of diversity and inclusion management at Henkel. We can only utilize the skills and abilities of our employees to maximum effect if we help them to master the challenges of combining career and family.

Flexible working hours have long been established at many of our sites. In addition, job-sharing models, part-time jobs, working from home, and the comprehensive use of mobile communication devices create a great deal of flexibility. By offering these opportunities, we are also emphasizing that it is performance rather than classic presence that we value.

Based on a global commitment to work-life flexibility, the Board and top management of Henkel decided to make a statement in June 2012 by signing the global Henkel Charter of Work-Life Flexibility.

The aim of this Work-Life Flexibility initiative is to encourage a dialogue between employees and their line managers regarding the opportunities for flexible working at Henkel. More than one-third of all senior managers around the world, who were addressed directly, followed the example set by the top management and expressed their personal commitment to this goal by signing the Work-Life Flexibility Charter.

A central competency platform which can be accessed through Henkel’s global intranet offers employees and their supervisors extensive material on work flexibility and the implementation of flexible working arrangements. Self-assessment questionnaires help employees and their line managers to better analyze each individual situation and develop a feasible plan. Managers from all over the world share their views on the importance of this subject in personal statements that can also be found on this platform.

The Work-Life Flexibility initiative has been rolled out worldwide. At the end of 2012, about one-third of all the managers who were addressed directly had already personally committed to promote the content of the Charter. The local and regional management teams are now working on developing and adapting local guidelines on flexible working arrangements, such as telecommuting. This process is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013.

Worldwide initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion

We are convinced that diversity at the workplace, characterized by different ways of thinking and working, is an important value and a competitive advantage. Our diversity is represented explicitly in characteristics such as nationality/culture, gender and age/seniority and can be recognized implicitly in the talents, attitudes, values, knowledge and abilities of all of our employees. Our diversity promoting measures focus on the three core dimensions of cultural diversity, gender diversity, and age diversity. 

Highlights 2012: Work-Life-Flexibility at Henkel

Country/Region Highlights
Worldwide An internal communication campaign on the global and German intranet supported the roll-out of the program. Tandem stories spotlighted good practical examples of individual flexible working arrangements. The aim of this campaign was to illustrate the great variety of work flexibility options while pointing out the positive aspects for the employees, their line managers and the company. The campaign was one of the most widely read online articles on the local and global intranet.
Germany In Germany, workshops and town hall meetings were held on the topic of the Work-Life Flexibility initiative. In addition, the local diversity management provided information about the initiative at department and team meetings and offered their assistance in designing flexible work arrangements. The English-language competency platform was also translated into German and implemented at the beginning of 2013. It is now more easily understandable and accessible also for non-managerial employees.

A communication campaign on the German intranet flanked the roll-out in Germany and includes excellent practical examples of flexible work arrangements. These examples provide portraits of German and non-German employees and their line managers.

In mid-2010, a parents network (eltern@henkel) was established by and for employees wishing to do something about the needs of working parents and their children. In 2012, the parents network initiated various projects, including a cooperation with a school near the Düsseldorf site to offer afternoon care with sensible activities through to 5 p.m. A new workgroup has also formed within the parents network: “Väter@Henkel” is a forum where fathers who have either taken paternity leave or are planning to do so can share their experiences.

The opening of a third day-care center at the Düsseldorf site in 2013 will raise the number of day-care places to a total of 240.

In April 2012, Kathrin Menges assumed the office of North Rhine-Westphalian ambassador for the “Erfolgsfaktor Familie” (success factor family) initiative.
North America In North America, new guidelines on work-life flexibility have been introduced and existing ones adapted. New forms of flexible work were successfully implemented in all business sectors. The opportunities for telecommuting were also expanded. Workshops were held to accompany the launch the new guidelines and the global roll-out of the Work-Life Flexibility Charter.
Latin America In the Latin American countries, the global initiative was supported by the introduction of new opportunities to improve one’s work-life balance. These included flextime and teleworking arrangements. One particularly positive and sustainable side-effect of this was the reduction of the time spent physically commuting and the distance covered, which also reduces the environmental impact.
Asia-Pacific In Australia and New Zealand, the global Work-Life Flexibility initiative was communicated to the local employees. In all other countries in the region, proposals for guidelines on work-life flexibility were drawn up and discussed in the management committees. Implementation of the Work-Life Flexibility policies throughout the region is planned for the second quarter of 2013.
Middle East / Africa In the Middle East and African countries, the global Work-Life Flexibility initiative was also communicated and discussed in the management committees. All countries in the region plan to implement policies enabling more flexible working conditions and some have already taken concrete steps to put this into practice.

In October 2012, the top management in Tunisia signed Henkel’s global Work-Life Flexibility Charter at a local act of commitment.
Western Europe The global Work-Life Flexibility initiative was implemented and communicated in various ways in the Western European countries as well. In France, a pilot project to test teleworking arrangements was started and these opportunities were made available to all employees in January 2013.
Central and Eastern Europe The global roll-out of the Work-Life Flexibility initiative was supplemented with local policies. Special care was taken to translate these policies into the local languages to make them accessible to all employees.
Further Links

Diversity at Henkel

Diversity Blog

Encouraging flexibility

By opening its third daycare center, “Die Waschbären” (The Raccoons), at the Düsseldorf site in the summer of 2013, Henkel will again be adjusting its child care options to the needs of its employees. This is another way in which Henkel helps its employees to balance their professional engagement and their plans for their private life. Here: Maria Dominguez Parra, Henkel employee in Düsseldorf, picking up her son Luis from the Henkel daycare center “Kleine Löwen” (Little Lions).
Charter of Work-Life Flexibility

Last updated: March 6, 2013