Diversity, equity and inclusion are an integral part of HR strategy in the BMW Group. Putting diversity into practice is becoming one of our key success factors and makes us attractive as an employer.
How you treat your fellow human beings makes a big difference. You can respect that others are different from the so-called “norm” and not give it another thought. But you can also consciously take note of how people are different and special, take an interest in them and include them. Be curious and learn how they think and act and what makes them tick. Understand their perspectives as enriching and learn from these.
To meet your fellow human beings without prejudice, to treat each other and work together with trust, openness and appreciation. The BMW Group has been living this attitude for a long time now, because, after all, diversity is what sets us apart. We are a global, diverse team at the BMW Group, with around 150,000 employees from more than 110 nations, who come together to contribute to the company’s success.
Diversity means strength
We promote diversity and an open, inclusive corporate culture within the BMW Group. To this end, we have firmly anchored a holistic framework for diversity, equal opportunities and inclusion in our human resources strategy. As a company, it is our duty to create the right environment for all employees to feel they belong and can develop – regardless of their background. Everyone should be employed on the strength of their individual talent and potential as much as possible, so that the team can unlock its greatest strength and motivation.
A diverse workforce means we are more competitive, more effective and more innovative. We better understand the expectations of our global stakeholders and can make smarter decisions as a result. Diversity enriches our culture, our everyday working life and thereby also increases our employees’ motivation. It strengthens our attractiveness as an employer, which contributes more and more to our success, especially in these times of demographic change and scarcity of skilled workers.
Five dimensions of diversity at the BMW Group
We are constantly evolving our five diversity dimensions – gender, age and experience, physical and mental abilities, sexual orientation and identity, and cultural background – for a human working environment that accommodates diverse perspectives and passions.
Equal opportunities are a reality at the BMW Group regardless of gender, and not just some empty promise. The number of women in leadership positions is growing steadily in our company: in 2022, 20.2 per cent of our managers were female, and we want to increase this further. We promote this goal through working models such as joint leadership. Fair salaries and equal pay are a natural part of our culture. BMW AG was the first German company to receive the Gold Standard for Equal Pay – this is a validation and a driving force for us.
In the context of age and experience, we offer initiatives for all ages. As well as a wide range of offers for trainees and younger target groups, we have programmes that draw on the specific knowledge and many years of experience of our older employees: for example, we have set up the Senior Expert Programme, which passes on targeted expertise. We offer individually optimal working conditions by creating opportunities for ergonomic, flexible and mobile working.
Employees with special physical and mental abilities should be able to contribute and develop optimally with us. The inclusion agreement that we developed in 2022 with the General Works Council and the General Representative Council for Employees with Disabilities is an important milestone. In parallel, we have expanded our accessibility specifications in construction and IT to further strengthen equal opportunities and participation in working life. We get involved outside our company by committing resources to workshops for people with disabilities. We joined “The Valuable 500” global initiative back in 2021. This strives for sustainable improvements for people with disabilities.
No one should feel disadvantaged at our company because of their sexual orientation and identity. The BMW Group PRIDE employee network acts as a voice for the LGBTIQ+ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and other gender identities), where diversity, equality, trust, respect and inclusion are paramount. Together, we ensure a tolerant and open working environment where everyone is welcome – regardless of who they love or what identity they feel they belong to. We will raise the rainbow flag in June, Pride Month, to show that queer people are important to us. Our PRIDE networks will be participating in Christopher Street Day at various locations.
With a global team in more than 140 countries, cultural exchange is essential for mutual understanding and teamwork. For example, we have started an exchange programme for apprentices so they can learn the value of intercultural cooperation right at the beginning of their professional lives. At the main plant in Munich alone, people of more than 110 nationalities work together. We feel this is an enrichment in every respect and see the promotion of intercultural competences as an ongoing task that we actively tackle every day.
Sometimes awareness needs a cause
Several times a year, we put a particular focus on the issue of diversity in our company: the UN Day of Cultural Diversity, which takes place on 21 May, and the German Diversity Day, launched by the Diversity Charter on 23 May, are just two examples. By signing the Charter – an initiative that promotes diversity in corporate culture in Germany – we officially accepted the responsibility to ensure a prejudice-free working environment back in 2011. Since 2011, we have also been involved with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) within the framework of the Intercultural Innovation Hub. Under the motto “connect, empower, elevate”, innovative projects that seek solutions to intercultural tensions and conflicts are rewarded with prizes.
How we live diversity in our everyday work
We find the topic of diversity so essential today that we offer diversity campaigns and events throughout the year that sensitise our employees and encourage them to exchange ideas with each other. What this shows is that diversity is relevant to us 365 days a year and we attach equal importance to all dimensions of diversity, all of which we continuously promote.
With training courses, talks and discussion forums, we raise awareness among employees and managers of the positive contribution that diversity makes in the company. The spectrum ranges from digital diversity escape rooms to workshops, for example on subconscious thought patterns and prejudices, to culinary diversity in our company restaurants. We sensitise managers to make the best use of the diversity of their teams in the “Leading with Diversity” training course. We offer “Zero Tolerance” training courses for all managers to foster an attitude and culture that is open and free from exclusion. The training will be available to all employees shortly - as well as a general web-based training on diversity. Since the end of 2022, we have been offering a “Zero Tolerance” hotline, which provides an anonymous and professional counselling centre in cases of bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace. Because we want everyone to feel accepted in our company.
Our commitment to diversity goes hand in hand with a corporate culture with strong values: responsibility, appreciation, openness, transparency and trust – these apply to our dealings with each other, but also with partners, suppliers and other stakeholders. This is how we secure a successful future for the BMW Group and long-term prospects for all the people who work here.