Audi Employee Resource Groups for diversity
The world of Audi is as varied and diverse as the society in which we live. The company is proud of this. Audi is one of 31 member companies of the Charta der Vielfalt and is celebrating German Diversity Day, an annual day of action organized by the Charta that focuses on diversity, for the fifth consecutive year. This year, the European Commission together with all European Charters has also declared May as European Diversity Month.
Audi strives for more diversity and equity even beyond this day and month of action. As a member company of the Charta der Vielfalt, the company actively embraces the charter’s principles: To create a working environment free of biases and in which everyone is valued – regardless of age, ethnic origin and nationality, gender, religion and worldview, physical and mental ability, sexual orientation and social background. “Diversity can be a key driver of change, especially in the current shift,” says Sabine Maaßen, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Human Resources and Organization. “The key is to include everyone on an equal level and to meet each other on equal footing.”
Audi implemented a comprehensive Diversity Management in 2017 to give life to the company principle “We live diversity.” This includes holding workshops on unconscious bias, toolboxes for inclusive leadership and equal-opportunity processes as well as cooperations with external initiatives to foster diversity. This commitment is paying off: For example, the company has, to date, already trained roughly 10,000 employees and executives on matters of diversity. Four employee resource groups have been founded to represent the interests of women, fathers, queer and international Audi employees.
The employee resource groups work as a topic-specific contact and speed up the exchange of information and knowledge within the company. They reflect diversity and represent different perspectives and societal impulses in the company.
“The individual initiative from the employees has really grown especially during the pandemic. The added value for the company is enormous and an expression of the current cultural shift at Audi,” Sabine Maaßen adds.
Those who are interested can get information via one of the digital communities of these employee resource groups and join at any time. The key to their success is openness, as everyone is welcome – regardless of gender, age, cultural heritage or sexual orientation. What matters is who feels addressed by the topic.
Employee resource groups at Audi: Open to anyone
Audi Women’s Network
The Audi Women’s Network is the largest community at Audi with more than 1,600 Audi employee members and, having been founded 20 years ago, also the longest running. Colleagues gather in the Women’s Network to exchange information. It represents increased visibility and effectiveness for women, empowerment of up-and-coming talents, better networking and support for women in day-to-day work.
The Women’s Network also hosts events to foster meeting outside of the employee resource group and to give colleagues a better glimpse into the work of the Women’s Network. Such as the “Mystery Walks and Talks”, during which participants from the company will be assigned by a random generator to a person from the employee resource group for a virtual walk.
“Queer” – this refers to the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities outside of heterosexual gender norms. These include gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex and trans* identities. Queer@audi is an LGBT*IQ employee resource group that has been working since 2017 for more visibility of the queer community at Audi. Employees who are not themselves members of that community also have a safe space at queer@audi to ask questions. This is in keeping with the idea that talking to each other is better than talking about each other.
The internationals@audi address the topics of diversity and inclusion on a global level. The employees have made it one of their goals to better integrate international employees at the German locations and to provide a platform for all Audi employees to discuss international matters. Internationals@audi was founded in 2020 and is, together with dads@audi, one of the youngest of the employee resource groups.
Dad goes to work while Mom raises the children? – dads@audi work to do away with obsolete stereotypes and calls on people to question the traditional family roll of fathers. They give a voice to fathers who not only want to re-think fatherhood within the family, the partnership and the company but also want to reshape that idea. This employee resource group also creates a space to exchange experiences with others on the interplay of work and family.
The employee resource groups are supported not only by the Diversity Management but also external partners such as the Prout at Work initiative, the female business network nushu and Väter gGmbH. The current shift makes sharing opinions openly even more valuable and important. The focus of all activities is on appreciating individuality and being different. Because inclusion cannot be prescribed; it has to be experienced together by all.