Lyuba Paounova, Bayer: When the team is diverse, it’s better enabled to capture a broader picture, with different aspects, risks and opportunities

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In today’s post, Lyuba Paounova, Bayer Country Group Head of HR Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, talks about what actions the company has been taking in diversity management.

Why and since when does your organization believe and invest in diversity management?

For Bayer being a global company operating in more than 150 countries around the world, diversity has always been an important topic, related to our business success. Bayer looks at diversity and inclusion as key part of the human rights and fair and respectful treatment. Bayer addresses the topic of diversity more intensively since 2010 and we have walked a long way since then. For us it’s already integral element of our corporate culture and there’s no need to strictly follow and put goals like ratio of female vs male, age diversity, etc. as they are naturally achieved through the work environment we created and sustain.

What aspects of diversity management have the highest priority in your organization?

All aspects are important – age, gender, culture, sexual, diversity of talent. We are quite diverse company also in Romania. I will give you one example - in our Country Leadership Team we have slightly more women than men currently and they are all different nationalities – French, German, Turkish, Romanian, Bulgarian. Generally in Bayer Romania we have equally managerial roles hold by males and females. Difference in rewards practices is absolutely inconceivable. We are now discussing and focusing rater on diversity of talents in the overall company in Romania, but also in the different teams, as we believe, the more diverse is a team, the better chances to be successful in the agile, challenging environment.

Which D&I activities have been implemented in your organization so far?

Apart from already mentioned, we have flexible working options, talent development programs – local and global ones, both for leaders and employees, we have a systematic approach on talent development which results in different development areas identified for each employee in the company base on aspirations, strengths and development needs. Bayer provides opportunities to talents to go and gain both professional but also different culture experience and insights through short and long term assignment opportunities all over the world.

We support diversity of talent both through our talent acquisition and our talent development practices. One of our 8 core competences, for which we look during the selection process and also when developing our talents is Values Differences.

Many organizations aren't prioritizing inclusion and diversity initiatives right now. Why should they reconsider?

They may loose opportunities to attract, but also retain key for the business talents and thus give the advantage to their competitors.

In your opinion, what tangible benefits does diversity bring to your organization?

When the team is diverse, it’s better enabled to capture a broader picture, with different aspects, risks and opportunities. Diversity provides great opportunity as one cannot be good in everything, but in a diverse team, the chances to have the best one for each job/project are much higher.

It’s also quite beneficial for each employee, as we live in a diverse world and developing the ability of not only accepting but valuing and applying the differences of others is a skill equally important in professional and personal life.

Can you name three diversity challenges that organizations have to pay attention to?

Not just having a written policy on this, they should live it.

To continuously inspire leaders to build and develop diversity teams, instead of going for the easy choice of one type of employees.

Not to overdo it, it should become rather natural part of the organization culture.

What do you do to convince your colleagues to see the value in diversity management, or even more to truly get them on board?

The proof of the value of diversity management comes as a result of applying the diversity management, so no need of convincing colleagues in Bayer. I believe we already live it. Nevertheless, we constantly work to provide new and various tools for diversity management that can be efficiently applied and be beneficial both for employees and leaders.


Interview by Dana Oancea