Around 300,000 colleagues in 150 countries see to it that Robert Bosch GmbH continues to write industrial history not only in Germany, but across the globe. The company has been working to increase the amount of women in managerial roles since 1994. Consideration for family needs has long been part of this work, along with special mentoring programmes.
Madeleine Förster Communications manager Bosch
Once men become personally involved, they often become the most enthusiastic advocates.
Bosch adopts an even broader view when it comes to diversity, which it understands to mean cooperation between people of all backgrounds and cultures; of different ages, gender, and sexual orientation. That is why diversity forms a part of its work and business culture – and gives it a competitive advantage. Bosch encourages work in mixed teams and makes the (predominantly male) staff aware of its advantages.
In 2011/2012 Edenspiekermann designed and supported one of the major changes Bosch has ever undergone on the topic of diversity and the encouragement of mixed teams. In a mere seven months the project team of 18 people produced an international campaign for 188 Bosch sites – everything from strategy to pop-ups on staff screens.
The focus lay primarily on supporting the management to adopt and implement the change of culture. Leaving aside the aspect of equal rights, the campaign content focusses on facts and figures. Edenspiekermann presents gender diversity as a business advantage. This convinces people: men are the main target group, management the company role models. The aim is to get more women in managerial positions for the mutual benefit of everyone and the company as a whole.
Bosch has understood the importance of taking diversity seriously, both as cultural change and as a successful business approach. The greatest success for Edenspiekermann has been to demonstrate how an internal company topic of change can positively affect image building – internally and externally. Bosch now also uses the topic and the building blocks of the campaign in their external communications.
Even though it is a matter of – specifically verifiable – personal, team, and company success, working on a process of change is like open heart surgery. Personal ways of thinking and of viewing the world need to be integrated and respected alongside traditional customs and values. Lasting and effective cultural change requires a lot of tact – and professional change communication.