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Diversity & Inclusion

At Henkel, we promote a holistic Diversity & Inclusion approach. The diversity of our employees, their backgrounds, experiences, talents, knowledge, creativity, and the appreciation of all their individual differences are the foundation for our competitive advantage. As a multinational corporation, Henkel employs people from 120 nations in almost 80 countries. About 85 percent of our employees work outside of Germany, with more than half of them in emerging markets. We believe that a company culture focused on diversity and inclusion is the key driver of creativity, innovation, and invention. Our ability to deliver excellent results is fueled by and dependent on our ability to embed Diversity & Inclusion in our corporate culture and the way we do business.

We are strongly committed to create teams that match the needs of the markets we operate in and the clients we work with, represented by an eclectic range of cultural backgrounds, skills, and knowledge. We are convinced that diverse teams stimulate innovation and new ways of problem solving; yet they need an inclusive culture and leadership to help them function at their best.


Diversity & Inclusion is a business imperative embedded in our company values. We actively promote it among our employees, raise awareness, and foster an environment that welcomes and embraces different perspectives, cultures, and diversity of thought.

Diversity & Inclusion is firmly anchored in our corporate culture. It is not only an approach to meet the needs of increasingly diverse markets and stakeholders by providing creative and innovative products, services, and solutions; but it is also a company commitment to support an inclusive culture and management practice to leverage our full potential. For us, it is crucial that our leaders know and understand the commitment to Diversity & Inclusion as well as what is expected of them. This is why we put particular emphasis on strengthening inclusive leadership.

We value, challenge, and reward our people. This means we are a global team united by a strong set of values. We treat each other with respect, develop our capabilities, and promote diversity in all relevant dimensions. We take personal responsibility, always act with integrity, and lead by example.

Global Facts and Figures

Diversity Challenge

In 2019, a global Diversity Challenge was held at Henkel for the first time. All employees were invited in their teams to show how they experience diversity and how it positively contributes to business success. A total of more than 300 contributions were submitted from five regions and 45 countries. It demonstrated the diversity of the teams, the different ways of thinking and their different cultures. The three winning teams from Egypt, Singapore and the US were invited to an award ceremony at Düsseldorf headquarters on 24th of October 2019.

 
 
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Watch Diversity Challenge contributions

2:12 min.

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Watch Diversity Challenge contributions

 
 
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Get impression from our Award Event at headquarters

1:52 min.

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Get impression from our award ceremony at the headquarters

Diversity is in Our Hands

  • Diversity
  • Dimensions
  • Business Case
  • Leadership

How do we define Diversity & Inclusion?

Diversity at Henkel is the variety of talents, mindsets, perspectives, qualities, abilities, and attributes of our employees and business partners, which makes Henkel unique and contributes to creativity, innovation, and sustainable business success. It is about the individual differences within our company that make us strong and more successful – both visible, e.g. gender; and invisible, e.g. experiences, values, education, sexual orientation, or religious background.

Inclusion at Henkel means respecting all visible and invisible differences to gain a competitive business advantage and create an equitable, healthy, and high-performing organization in which all individuals feel valued and their contributions are appreciated.

Inclusion enables a multifaceted mix of people to complement each other in cohesive, high-performing teams. It is important to remember that inclusiveness is not about treating people the same, but about recognizing and appreciating all sorts of visible and invisible differences.

In an inclusive culture, diversity is completely normal. This is the vision we are striving for.

Our dimensions of Diversity & Inclusion

At Henkel, we take a holistic approach and embrace all aspects of diversity. Our goal is to strengthen our global team – “One Henkel” – while living a corporate culture of respect and appreciation towards all of our diverse employees, customers, and suppliers.

Our mission is to:

  • Enable our employees to better understand our markets, customers, and consumers
  • Attract, retain, and promote the best talents
  • Enhance competencies of our employees to build high-performing and inclusive global teams
  • Be recognized as a leader in diversity and inclusion management

Our markets, products, and customers are strongly affected by globalization, proven by the fact that they are becoming more and more diverse. Thus, the different backgrounds and diverse abilities of our employees are invaluable for understanding our stakeholders and markets.

When we talk about diversity and the valuable differences that each of us brings, we should be aware that not all differences are immediately visible. Each of us is unique and it is this uniqueness that we aspire to capture.

Our diversity wheel exemplifies what this means and how our measures and actions move us towards our mission to create “One Henkel.” 

At Henkel, we strive for a balanced workforce in terms of gender, different generations, and cultural backgrounds. We welcome more than 42% female new joiners annually, our average age of employees is 41 years and our colleagues come from 120 different nationalities. There are many more dimensions that define us as individuals, such as educational background, family and relationships, mindsets, or personal experiences. However, only considering all individual properties of our employees, we completely embrace our diversity.

Our measures to strengthen our global team and to become “One Henkel” range from work-life flexibility, personal career and development planning, mentoring, to diversity and inclusion consulting.

Hence, the essential efforts within our diversity and inclusion approach are on the mindset change towards an open and inclusive company culture that values all differences as well as similarities and where all our employees are treated with dignity, respect, and appreciation.

Diversity & Inclusion as a business case

Diversity & Inclusion makes business sense. As globalization increases, demographics and lifestyles change, we need to reflect on these developments affecting our workforce and our external stakeholders. We believe that embracing diversity opens up a wealth of opportunities. The diversity of our employees, their backgrounds, knowledge, and expertise make the difference in a highly competitive, international environment. By profiting from the creativity, knowledge, and international mentality of our employees, we are able to come up with new approaches and transform good ideas into successful innovations. This enables us to build strong, synergistic relationships with our consumers, customers, suppliers, and colleagues.

Studies conducted by firms like Catalyst and McKinsey demonstrate that diverse organizations perform better; are more profitable and powerful; and customers, employees, and suppliers have greater loyalty to businesses that seek to be more representative of the communities they serve. Diversity & Inclusion strengthens employee engagement and continually increases our value for our people and customers. Thus, the business case for having a diverse workforce is compelling: Enterprises that appreciate and effectively manage diversity and inclusion will clearly take the lead with regards to their employees, win talents, and their competition.

Our leadership principles

Leading inclusively is in our key focus. Leading means inspiring by respecting and embracing everyone’s unique skills and perspectives. Inclusive leaders create a culture where everyone has a voice and that voice is truly valued and respected.

We strive for a company culture where everyone is responsible for their own inclusive behavior. When we ignite enthusiasm, motivation, respect, and commitment, we are more successful. This leads to greater innovation, diversity of thought, creativity, and therefore, a higher performing team.

Engagement and Initiatives

Actions speak louder than words. Our global programs and initiatives are testaments to our commitment to a diverse and inclusive working environment. Whether it is about flexible working schedules, career development, training and consultancy, employee resource groups, childcare, eldercare, or employee well-being – you can learn more about what we do below.

Work-Life Flexibility

Henkel recognizes the importance of Work-Life Flexibility in enhancing performance, motivation, productivity, and efficiency on a sustainable basis. We are aware of the challenges employees may face in combining their personal and professional commitments. Our goal is to enable a work environment that delivers the right tools and flexibility to suit the individual needs of each employee. For us, a trust-based approach focusing on performance and not on presenteeism is the way to create both excellent business results and personal flexibility. Some of the types of flexible work arrangements we offer worldwide include: mobile working, part-time, and flextime.

Our Management Board expressed their commitment to flexible working when signing the Charter of Work-Life Flexibility in 2012. We expect our leaders to support flexible working at Henkel as part of their responsibilities. Since flexible working arrangements play a crucial role for virtually all life stages and professions, we are open for individual flexible solutions that serve the proactive design of work-life flexibility for our employees.

Triple-Two

Our Triple-Two Career Development Program begins by developing our future leaders from the very start of their career. In a global organization, it is important that we have employees who are business and culture savvy, adapting quickly to new environments, are open minded, culturally sensitive, and great communicators. Our program is structured around two countries, two business units, and two areas of responsibility.

Trainings

We offer a variety of training on Diversity & Inclusion topics aimed at transferring knowledge about diversity and educating our employees about the importance of inclusive behavior. Two major fields are increasing the understanding and awareness of different cultural attributes, and identifying and counteracting bias in decision-making. Employees benefit from a variety of vocational training, eLearning, coaching, or classroom training. Our aspiration: life-long learning – on-the-job, in training, from your peers, or digitally.

Live-long learning

Henkel's success is determined by the knowledge and skills of our employees. Continuous employee development and associated life-long learning are therefore highly important. In addition to day-to-day learning in the workplace, our employees also spend an average of two days a year attending training courses for professional and personal development. Our aspiration is life-long learning: on the job, in training, from your peers, or digitally on the screen.

Dialogue is important to us! We communicate on relevant Diversity & Inclusion topics and events via different communication channels both internally and externally. As opinion shapers, we ensure that our messages have global appeal and that our campaigns and tools are ahead in terms of innovation and creativity.

Expertise and consulting

The global Diversity & Inclusion team, along with regional and local experts, offer structured and bespoke expertise and consultancy to business units across all regions. We work in partnership with businesses to really understand their perspectives and consult with them to ensure powerful, effective, and lasting outcomes. Our teams are encouraged to deeply adopt openness for diversity as well as inclusive behavior within our company. On the other hand, we foster exchange and initiate sharing of expertise with external parties, such as universities, diversity experts, peer groups, and enterprises.

Inclusion campaign

“Inclusion starts with i” was the motto of our global Diversity & Inclusion communication campaign in 2014. Our diversity unites us and exists in every region, every country, and every team.

Diversity is not only about gender, but also about nationalities, seniority, cultural and religious backgrounds, sexual orientation, values, and mindsets. All these factors build the foundation for an inclusive company culture. If individual differences complement each other well within a team and if every single employee is appreciated, real inclusion can be achieved. Our diverse workforce and inclusive company culture are key factors for our global success. We aspire to create a company culture where the appreciation of differences is inherent in the way we treat each other.

The campaign was designed to raise awareness for Diversity & Inclusion, foster an inclusive company culture, and to get our employees emotionally involved in the topic.

Additionally, the campaign was rounded off by the Global Diversity Weeks. These Global Diversity Weeks were fully pack with virtual and local events, activities, and initiatives, offering our employees a unique chance to experience diversity at Henkel.

The campaign conveyed a very creative and emotional angle of how each one of us is responsible for promoting Diversity & Inclusion at Henkel, and how it is necessary and beneficial for all that inclusive behavior becomes a part of our company culture. The end-goal is to see every single person as an individual and to appreciate everyone’s individual characteristics. The outstanding pictorial language that was used during the campaign was created by the artists Guido Daniele. He used images of hands and fingers to express our diversity, but also our connection through inclusion.

80 percent of all communication is nonverbal, 55 percent consist of physical gestures and  facial expressions. Hand gestures often express our most immediate and most obvious thoughts, such as waving, pointing at something, or by showing welcome. We use our hands when we argue, when we discuss, and when we talk – most often without even thinking about it. The same gestures can also have an important meaning in different cultures and are therefore interpreted differently. It is important to respect that we each behave differently and to be cautious about how we interpret individual expression especially being a part of a global team.

Healthcare and Wellbeing

Our employees' health is crucial to us. This is why we care about the health and performance capabilities of our employees. All around the globe we offer various kinds of health services and preventive programs to guard against workplace-related risks and to support all employees in staying fit. Our healthcare programs are tailored to meet local requirements and include free medical consultation, health screening, health workshops, fitness programs, ergonomic assessment or specialist coaching. 

Childcare

Work and family are inextricably linked. Henkel provides a number of services to support employees with children in combining personal life and career aspirations. Such measures include e.g. day nursery facilities, emergency childcare, voucher schemes or flexible working arrangements.

Eldercare

Taking care of relatives in need can become a central aspect of everyone’s life. We are committed to supporting our employees when they are facing such situations and aim to offer consultancy by our local support team or employee assistance programs. This could be by providing a change in work arrangements like flexible working or any other practical guidance and consultancy through one of our social services team or local employee assistance programs.

Employee Resource Groups

Coming together, exchanging views, insights and experiences are key to fostering respect and inclusion. We encourage employees to form resource groups that are of mutual benefit to both the employees and our company. Our affinity groups, both global and local, are open to everyone and connect colleagues with a shared interest. They offer a platform for sharing experience, providing mentoring and gaining insights. At Henkel, we have a variety of employee resource groups including those interested in female leadership, expatriate working, parenting, internships, and ethnic minorities.

Awards & Recognitions

Our commitment for Diversity & Inclusion has been honored internationally:

Partnerships and initiatives

Initiatives like Diversity Charters encourage organizations to develop and implement diversity and inclusion policies. By signing a charter, Henkel voluntarily commits to promote diversity and equal opportunities in the workplace, regardless of age, disability, gender, race or ethnic origin, religion and sexual orientation. Moreover, we are globally engaged in external partnerships to foster the mutual exchange of Diversity & Inclusion. Thereby, we show our commitment to our social responsibility and the respect we have towards differences as well as similarities.

Diversity Charter since 2011, France

Henkel France signed the Charter of Diversity in the Industrial Sector in 2011.

Diversity Charter Poland since 2014 

In 2014, top executives signed the Diversity Charter in a Town Hall Meeting, underlining the importance of its values for the company.

Charter of Diversity Germany since 2006

Since the Charter of Diversity was established in 2006, more than 3400 companies and institutions have committed themselves to the contents of the Charter. Henkel was one of the first companies to commit to the Charter and is a founding member of the network, which has been operating as a non-profit organization since 2011.

Diversity Charter Italy since 2009

By signing the Diversity Charter in 2009, Henkel Italy underlines its commitment to Diversity and Inclusion.

Diversity Charter Greece since 2019

In 2019, during the Diversity Conference in Athens, Henkel Hellas signed the Diversity Charter with the Ministry of Labor senior officers, for the first time in Greece.

Diversity Charter Netherlands since 2019

Henkel GSC in the Netherlands signed the “Charta Diversiteit” in Bedrijf in 2019 together with more than 200 fellow companies. 

“Business for Inclusive Growth” by OECD

In 2019, Henkel joined the "Business for Inclusive Growth" (B4IG) initiative. This global business coalition for inclusive growth is supported by the OECD and aims to pool the commitment of private companies to strengthen equal opportunities in terms of gender and regions.

Member of the European Round Table for Industry

As a member of the European Round Table for Industry, Henkel and 32 other world-leading companies signed a declaration on promoting diversity and inclusion in December 2018.