Frau Sander, ist Diversität IMMER gut?

With Prof. Dr. Gudrun Sander

For many years, the University of St. Gallen (HSG) has been conducting research on the many different dimensions of Diversity and Inclusion. A pioneer in this field is my todays interview guest – the Austrian Prof. Dr. Gudrun Sander. Amongst many other roles and positions, Gudrun is the Director of the Competence Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) – a part of the Research Center for International Management at the University of St. Gallen (FIM-HSG).  In collaboration with these two research centers, the St. Gallen Diversity & Inclusion Week will take place for the 6th time this year (in mid-September 2022).  

The Inclusion Week is a meanwhile renowned concept, which is intended to contribute to the joint discussion of previous findings and insights in practice.

During this event, the presentation of the new Gender Intelligence Report is also eagerly awaited. A joint study by Advance and the CCDI that analyzes the raw data of 320,000 employees from 90 companies anonymously each year and makes the results available in form of an official report that highlights current challenges and provides best practices and concrete recommendations.

In today’s episode, Gudrun and I explore what „invisible exclusion“ is all about and how it can promote more inclusion, whether diversity is always equally good for any company or industry, and what questions managers should ask themselves to ensure that establishing a diversity culture in their company is successful.

 

“[…]

In my “unconcious bias workshops”, I always tell the managers to be honest with themselves. To ask oneself: “how much diversity can I lead and handle well”? So that I don’t overstrain myself as a leader, but of course still go out of my usual unconscious comfort zone and also dare to hire an employee who is not a 100% copy of the predecessor, and can still create a good leadership situation for ALL. That is very important!

[…]”

 What you will learn

    • There is no such thing as 100% optimal diversity. What matters is how much diversity a manager can lead and in which industry the company is operating and in which phase of life the company is currently in.
    • Storytelling can help to ensure that the WHY for DE&I is clear and understood by all, so that measures can be implemented consistently and actually have an effect.
    • Every company should consider how exactly it defines “the best employees” for itself. This should be followed by a review of whether the criteria by which the company recruits and promotes managers are in alignment.

Tips

    • Instead of making assumptions ABOUT employees, managers should talk WITH their employees – what do they really want and need?
    • In dialogue and exchange, individual solutions – away from standardized process – can be found, which are most useful for both sides – people and company.
    • Stay in regular contact with your employees / your team during the year and do not just have a “mandatory meeting” once a year to secure – not only – in terms of DE&I everything and everyone stays on track.

Biography

Gudrun Sander is a Professor for Business Administration with a special emphasis on Diversity Management and a senior lecturer at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. She is also Director of the Research Institute for International Management (FIM-HSG) and Director of the Competence Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI-FIM). She leads together with her team of more than 25 researchers and consultants several international and national wide projects for improving inclusive leadership and strategic diversity management in large international companies. For more than 25 years she works with boards, top management teams and executives in companies, non-profit-organizations, and public administration. Gudrun is well-known for publications on diversity and inclusion. She is also a member of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Working Group on Gender Equality and a member of the Women’s Empowerment Principles Leadership Group (WEPs LG) of UN Women and UN Global Compact. Gudrun holds a Master in business administration of the Johannes Kepler University, Linz/Austria and a PhD of the University of St. Gallen/Switzerland.  

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