BASF Champions Workplace Diversity
Global chemical manufacturing giant BASF has announced that it has formal goals in place to increase the diversity of its management team in the years ahead.
“Our markets are becoming increasingly global in character,” Dr. Kurt Bock, chairman of the board of executive directors of BASF SE, said in the company’s Wednesday (Sept. 30) statement.
“In order to better understand the diverse requirements of our customers around the world and develop solutions for them, we need to be an attractive employer for the best people in all markets,” he added.
“Our goals are an incentive for us to become even better in promoting diversity.”
According to a Sept. 30 Wall Street Journal article on the subject of professional diversity, many companies, including BASF, have recognized that it is not enough just to verbalize support for corporate diversity. Instead, large companies are beginning to set concrete goals related to hiring and retaining women and minorities.
“These include mandating that diverse candidates are interviewed for jobs, and ensuring that new hires get interviewed or vetted by someone other than white men,” Rachel Feintzeig wrote in the paper.
Several companies ensure adherence to their diversity programs by holding managers accountable to meeting the specified diversity metrics and tying that performance to bonuses and raises.
BASF North America’s chief diversity officer, Patricia Rossman, indicated that BASF noticed that it was losing female employees faster than other workers.
After setting up its diversity guidelines and targets, the company sees only a 6 percent loss in female staffers each year, compared to 8 percent of all staff.
One of BASF’s rules, Rossman told WSJ, is that at least one woman or minority candidate should be interviewed for all open jobs, and managers are expected to meet this requirement for thousands of leadership roles.
Also, BASF requires that at least one person performing the interview be female or a minority.
It’s “human nature for people to sometimes want to hire themselves,” Rossman said, adding that implementing rules and metrics like these can help to break the habit.
Setting Concrete Goals
The 150-year-old company aims to raise the overall proportion of women in positions with disciplinary leadership responsibilities from 19 percent today to 22 percent to 24 percent globally by 2021. According to BASF, this share reflects the percentage of women in its global workforce.
BASF acknowledges that this is an ambitious goal, as the turnover rate in the BASF Group’s leadership team is relatively low.
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BASF aims to raise the overall proportion of women in positions with disciplinary leadership responsibilities from 19 percent today to 22–24 percent globally by 2021.
BASF also seeks to increase the number of senior executives from countries other than Germany. This proportion was at 34 percent at the end of 2014, it reports.
Additionally, the company wants to keep its number of senior executives with international experience at over 80 percent. BASF has actually already surpassed this goal, having achieved a proportion of 83 percent by the end of 2014.
With these goals, BASF says it is advancing its globally integrated approach to promoting diversity and developing its leaders.
A Company-wide, Global Philosophy
The stated goals for the percentage of women in leadership are not meant to be met in each individual country, company or management level of BASF; rather it extends across BASF Group worldwide. BASF will ensure compliance with national and local laws, it reports.
The company will report on its progress toward reaching these goals on an annual basis.