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Diversity management expanded

Diversity within the organisation refers to the social diversity of the workforce, usually in relation to gender, ethnicity, age and disability. Diversity management denotes the approach adopted so as to ensure that this diversity is positively valued as well as to make constructive use of it for corporate success.

For some years now Hannover Re has been well placed in many areas of diversity management, especially when it comes to supporting the compatibility of family and working life. A broad range of part-time working solutions, flexibility for members of staff returning from parental leave, individual opportunities for teleworking, an infant daycare centre and cooperation with a family service provider have long been part of day-to-day practice at our company.

An important topic in the current debate surrounding diversity management is the proportion of women and men on various hierarchical levels. Although the total workforce is split virtually down the middle into men and women, it is the case at Hannover Re – as is widely found elsewhere – that women are significantly less well represented at higher levels of the corporate hierarchy. With a view to changing this, the Executive Board has now decided to initiate a range of further measures that will bring the advancement of women, in particular, more sharply into focus.

Thus, for example, the existing personnel development tools have been enhanced through the addition of a mentoring programme. This is intended to bring together female employees (mentees) and seasoned managers (mentors) for a regular exchange over a period of 12 months. The focus of their discussions is to be on interdisciplinary topics that further strengthen the mentees in their general reflection on themselves and their actions and assist with their character development. The programme is consistently geared to the individual issues and needs of the mentees. The significance attached to this programme is evident not least from the fact that Board members will also serve as mentors.

In the 2012/2013 implementation cycle five mentee-mentor tandems will initially pass through the programme, which – along with the regular face-to-face dialogue – also encompasses impulse seminars and opportunities for networking. The fact that the identified mentees and mentors were all willing to participate without exception shows how positively this personnel development tool has been received and demonstrates that both female employees and managers can see a benefit in it for themselves and the company.

Among further measures planned for the advancement of women are seminars that will deal with gender-specific communication patterns and roles. In the interests of change management, awareness is to be raised in this regard among both managers and female employees and they are to be given pointers for reflection on their existing modes of thought and patterns of behaviour.


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