CEO NETFORMIC GmbH & Author
Diversity is on everyone’s lips and concerns us as a company and, above all, society more than ever before. When we discussed in the team whether we wanted to publish something on this or write about it in the career section, my first impulse was “why?” – is that even a topic? Are we doing something wrong? Do we need to “correct” or even “conceal” anything?
Then in conversation I realized: no, I don’t think so. But it’s simply the case, that in this day and age perhaps one should write about something, which simply is normality for us. At the same time it makes it clear that – if you look at the general reporting – we do not represent the normal life in our “digital bell”, but belong to a certain elite in which diversity is simply there due to globalization (which has occurred so massively in many parts through digitalization).
Therefore I would like to give a little insight into our company and also the group of companies around NETFORMIC, how we handle this topic and what is going on there.
When the new party “AfD” came up a few years ago, I once asked myself the question – of our approx. 100 employees, about 10-15% must vote AfD. Do I think it’s cool? No. Do I have to accept it? Yes, as long as they adhere to the values of our organization (which are not the same as those of said party).
Same question, different context: How many of our employees have a migration background? I don’t know because I don’t care. Because as long as everyone abides by our rules and our values it does not matter.
Different statistics say that about 1-10% of the people living in Germany are homosexual. So in our group we have about 10 colleagues. Are we interested? Am I worried about that? Does it have any relevance to whether someone is good at their job? No, again – we have values about our togetherness – so it doesn’t matter.
Now these are several examples, you can take this game even further and apply this view to denomination, skin color and other things. The biggest realization, however, was that it was the (perceived) expectation from outside to position ourselves on the topic of diversity that showed that we simply don’t care what someone does, thinks and feels about all these different issues. What is relevant is what are the values of us as an organization and what are we guided by.
FUN-FACT: It is not possible in our personnel software (btw. Personio – very cool tool) to filter e.g. by denomination. The information is partly due to the “denomination tax” for the payroll in it, but I think it’s good that, to my knowledge, you can not evaluate this centrally at all – because irrelevant in the professional context.
I think nationalities are cool – how else is a World Cup fun without the “opposition”? We had a look at all the nationalities we have in our company, here is a probably incomplete list: Turkish, Tunisian, Cameroonian, Indian, Croatian, Bosnian-Herzogovarian, Cuban Greek, German, Belarusian and Kosovar.
It’s been pretty tough getting the whole thing out of Personio. I had to go through the personnel files and tried to make a list on the basis of “un-German sounding surnames”. On the one hand this shows that there are everyday racist stigmas like “where does the surname come from” but at the same time it shows me again how much I don’t care where someone comes from – because in case of doubt I simply don’t know.
This is first of all the supposedly most obvious “categorization”, but at the same time it is almost the most difficult situation for us as an “IT-heavy” company. Basically we can say that we would like to have more women in the team. Currently, about 15% of NETFORMIC’s employees are female or “non-male”. We would like to have many more, but admittedly it is difficult to find female software developers. We do not have an ideal situation here in the management either. At the same time, I also oppose hiring women because they are “women”. In the end, the qualification decides here as well – no more – but also no less. And gender simply doesn’t matter.
Read that right – food exclusion is also a form of racism. Whether someone is vegan or a meat lover doesn’t matter. It has been a reality for us for what feels like an eternity that we also have offers for the different needs at company events. Militant discussions about this are also – I believe – the rarity here with us. Sure you make the occasional flippant remark, but I maintain that no one here feels included or excluded.
These are now individual points, no claim to completeness. But what I really want to say – I think it’s sad that we are now writing a blog post about what I think is a given. But well – it’s probably necessary to do that in the current times.
Simply put, who you love, what you like to eat, where you “come from” or what you’re into – we simply don’t care. We are looking for capable employees who want to get things done, who think in an entrepreneurial way, who have an idea of their subject and who ideally speak at least English, ideally also German (although we are happy to provide support with both). And apart from that, we mainly want to have a great time together, successfully create projects and plans for our clients, and take care of each other and respect each other for who we are.