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Living Diversity: Bringing Corporate Values to Life

Diversity is one of ERGO’s four core values defined by ERGO employees. In our interview, Bianca Boudein, Manager Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at ERGO, elaborates on the various elements of the company’s diversity program and on which activities and projects were generated by promoting a diverse international workforce.
Written on 04/16/24

About Bianca Boudein
Bianca Boudein is a social worker/educator and expert in the field of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and has been with the insurance company ERGO Group AG since 2009. In her position as Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Manager, she is responsible for DEI topics and is actively committed to a diverse and inclusive working environment.

Her main focus is on communicating the topic in dialogue formats, where her motto is: "Talking to each other instead of about each other". She has initiated various successful events such as the Generation Workshop and the DEI Theme Month to encourage employees to exchange ideas and reflect on DEI topics. Bianca Boudein is also involved in the development of digital content in the context of diversity. As a coordinator and input provider, she acts as an important contact and sparring partner for the company's five employee networks. Bianca Boudein also manages various DEI projects aimed at promoting and advancing diversity and inclusion within the company.

1. The four central employer qualities under the motto "ERGO.Grow together." were defined by the employees themselves. What wishes and ideas did they associate with the keyword diversity?

In our employer promise, diversity stands for open communication and appreciation of diversity at ERGO. Diversity stands for variety, equal opportunities and inclusion. Diversity can be experienced in programmes for all phases of our employees' lives, in our networks and in the creation of concepts for internal and external communication and the associated values.

2. With which activities are employees bringing the diversity programme to life?

The diversity programme is brought to life through a variety of activities with the aim of promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The following are open to all employees at ERGO:
Training and workshops: ERGO offers e-learning programmes and workshops to inform employees about various aspects of diversity and inclusion, e.g., on the topic of everyday racism, unconscious bias or cross cultural awareness training.

Network formation: Five employee networks have been set up at ERGO. Each network focuses on one aspect of diversity. They are defined as the voice of an interest group and offer all employees a framework in which they can exchange ideas, meet and support each other. Each one  provides a space to develop joint strategies, work towards changes in the company and counteract prejudices and stereotypes.

Mentoring: ERGO offers a mentoring programme, for example, for high-potential female employees. The programme is currently in its 12th successful round. Its aim is to promote the exchange of knowledge and experience between female employees and members of the Board of Management or managers at the 1st reporting level.

Events: Through various dialogue and event formats such as a Generation Workshop, the DEI theme month in May with the German Diversity Day, active participation in Christopher Street Day at our Cologne site and campaigns on days of remembrance and action such as International Women's Day, we strengthen awareness and the importance of diversity.

3. Could you give examples of specific ideas or projects that have emerged from a diverse international workforce?

The PoC@ergo network was founded in 2021 to represent the interests of People of Colour – in short: PoC – at ERGO. The network offers a platform for joint exchange and contributes to the visibility and representation of People of Colour at ERGO. In addition, we regularly exchange ideas with our colleagues from the international ERGO companies in order to learn from and with each other. This has resulted in the first transnational exchange of the pride@ergo network.

4. Which further measures are being planned?

We are expanding our mentoring programme this year to include reverse mentoring.

Reverse mentoring is a concept in which experienced or older managers are coached or advised by younger employees, for example on digital career networks. In contrast to traditional mentoring, in which experienced professionals support younger or less experienced colleagues, reverse mentoring enables the exchange of knowledge and perspectives in both directions. This concept promotes a culture of knowledge sharing across generations. It creates a diverse and dynamic working environment in which employees from different generations learn from and with each other.

Find out more about the employer qualities with the motto "ERGO. Grow together."