Berlin’s tech crowd share tips on building an inclusive workplace

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We head to Germany’s tech hub to gain insight into the ever-evolving world of diversity and employer branding.

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It’s late evening in a stylish Berlin office — a converted warehouse — home to subscription food titans HelloFresh.

Tonight, the space doubles as a venue for a meet-up on the topic of diversity and engagement at work.

On the agenda: company culture, trans leadership, embracing quotas, juggling family life and much more, all discussed by a panel of experts in HR and employer branding.

After the discussion, we asked those in attendance for their key takeaway from the event, what they learned and what we should all consider applying when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

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“It’s easy to see diversity as simply women and men, nationality and race, but this evening reminded me that it extends so much further — conditions like autism, illnesses, different family situations… There are so many different types of lifestyles out there and businesses should look at how best they can accommodate them.”

Martha, Recruiter

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“I’ve just been through a job-hunting period and every role I went for said, ‘We value diversity and inclusiveness.’ I’d like to see some real metrics, something standardised, and not just the words you see everywhere.”

Conor, Data Scientist

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“We assume a lot of things, because we work in that field or know the brand, but we have to be open to asking people what they think, what they need. That’s the first step to providing an authentic culture and employees with the support they require.”

Sia, Employer Branding

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“There’s not one solution to a lack of diversity and inclusion but a mixture, such as having allies, asking people what they think, working on what you want your company culture to be and ensuring you have management on board.”

Apher, Employer Branding

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“Have a lunch-and-learn session every week. We heard a great example of a company that asked team members to do a presentation on their nationality and culture. It opened up hugely positive conversations that normally you might avoid in an office.”

Tom, Head of Marketing

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“We should be treating bias like we’re starting to treat failure. We all need to understand that we’re going to have failures and, likewise, we’re going to have biases. What’s important is that we don’t feel ashamed of our biases; that we’re open to acknowledging them and changing them.”

Sonita, Head of HR

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“Tailor your benefits. You can’t have one benefits package that fits all, they need to be inclusive and reflect the diversity of the workplace. Employees should be able to select their benefits according to their specific needs at the time, be that parental leave or mental health.”

Eva, Recruiter

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“If you have diversity quotas for the hiring process, be honest on why you’re doing it. Create and be clear on processes so that the employees can buy into it, the leadership, and the candidate. That way, everyone will be on board.”

Carol, Team Leader, Tech Recruitment

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