At Henkel, we promote a holistic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) 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 124 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, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in our corporate culture and the way we do business.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
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.
What makes the difference, are our employees. Our diverse global team and our inclusive company culture enable us to leverage our creativity and innovative culture.
Sylvie Nicol – Executive Vice President Human Resources and Infrastructure Services
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) 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, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) 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, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) 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.
Our Aspiration and Ambitions
At Henkel, we have been pursuing a holistic approach, embracing all aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion for years. In our overall DEI Aspiration we are covering a variety of dimensions, such as gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and generations.
Our DEI Aspiration embodies our inherent motivation, justification, and guidance towards the successful future of diversity, equity and inclusion topics at Henkel. Get to know what we believe and stand for.
We foster a Culture of Belonging and strive for Equity to release the full potential of our Diversity.
We value our Diversity
We value our employees' and stakeholders' diversity as the key factor for our success.
We strive for Equity
We recognize and engage the individual's full potential to ensure an equitable, healthy and high performing organization.
We foster a Culture of Belonging
We live up to our roots as a family business and embrace our diversity to foster a culture of belonging, trust and respect in which everyone feels included.
2025 Gender Ambition - Fostering Gender Diversity across Henkel
We are deeply convinced that gender diversity plays a decisive role when it comes to our success: Gender diverse companies outperform their peers. It is also our social responsibility to ensure equal access to opportunities for all. Additionally, our investors, clients and consumers demand balanced teams. That is why we have decided to pursue a bold ambition.
We strive to achieve gender parity across all management levels by 2025.
To strive for more gender diversity, Henkel will further accelerate its programs and measures along the whole employee lifecycle – from recruitment to development and retention. This includes gender inclusive recruitment and talent attraction, a thoroughly monitored promotion and succession plan, intensive internal upskilling on diversity, unconscious bias and inclusion, expanding new working formats such as shared or part-time leadership roles, as well as further leveraging Henkel’s numerous mentoring and networking initiatives for gender diversity worldwide.
Global Facts and Figures (2021)
With employees from 124 countries, cultural diversity is a well-established part of our daily life at Henkel.
The share of women in management positions has increased to around 38.1%. This reflects an annual increase of around 1 percentage point in the last ten years.
More than 75 nationalities in our headquarters
People from more than 75 nations work together at the headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany.
54% of our employees come from emerging markets
54 percent of our employees originate from emerging markets which reflects the markets we are operating in.
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.
Diversity is in Our Hands
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. 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. For us, diversity stands for the variety of talents, attitudes, perspectives, strengths, skills and characteristics of our employees and business partners that make us unique and contribute to creativity, innovation and business success. All these individual differences in our company make us strong and successful. Our diversity and inclusion efforts are focused – but not limited – to several key dimensions: gender, nationality, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, disabilities, and generations.
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. As such, we strive for a balanced workforce in terms of our key dimensions of diversity 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 measures to strengthen our global team range from work-life flexibility, personal career and development planning, to mentoring. We further continually seek to strengthen our 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.
We outline a new concept of Smart Work.
We acknowledge our employee’s need for flexibility and to have a more symbiotic work-life balance. By aiming for a combination of mobile and office work, offering high flexibility for individual needs, we lay the foundation for the productive work environment of the future. While some roles will always require working on-site, and others don’t require a physical presence in the office, many positions at Henkel are hybrids. We believe that mobile work can be possible for up to 40% of the work time for hybrid roles. It could also be one week per month. Our offices have, and always will, play a crucial role in our company culture – they enable collaboration, innovation, the exchange of knowledge, and are a place of belonging and community that shapes the Henkel spirit. We will continue to upgrade our work environments, offices, buildings and make them even more future-ready.
We believe having a career and a family should be possible for everyone.
An essential part of a good work-life-flexibility is giving parents more freedom and the chance to work from home or elsewhere, not just in the office. Infrastructure plays a significant role in this context. At our headquarters in Germany, we have three kindergartens for Henkel employees. In our different countries, we offer or facilitate childcare and other services to support our employees.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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:
Henkel demonstrates continuous commitment for gender equality
Henkel adopted the Bloomberg Reporting Framework for a second consecutive year and demonstrated its continued commitment for transparency and global progress towards gender equality.
Henkel among the Europe’s Diversity Leaders in 3rd consecutive year
In 2021, the Financial Times and the market research Statista released the 3rd edition of Europe’s Diversity Leaders, ranking Henkel as one of the Diversity Leaders 2022. Henkel demonstrates strong leadership in Diversity & Inclusion for the third time in a row.
Henkel receives Austrian seal of quality “equalitA”
Dr. Margarete Schramböck, Federal Minister for Digitalization and Business Location, awarded the Austrian seal of quality "equalitA" to Henkel. The seal honors companies that promote women within the company, ensure gender equality, and provide special support and visibility for women's careers.
Forbes recognizes Henkel as one of America’s best employers for diversity 2021.
The Best Employers for Diversity were chosen based on an independent survey of over 50,000 employees working for companies employing at least 1,000 people in their U.S. operations.
"Grand Prix de la Mixité“ for second consecutive year
In 2019, Henkel was awarded in France with the "Grand Prix de la Mixité" in the DAX 30 category for the second time in a row. This European Diversity Award recognizes the company's commitment to support an inclusive culture and to empower women in leadership positions.
“Best Companies For Women” in Korea for the sixth consecutive year
In 2019, Henkel Korea was named one of the best companies for women by the GPTW Institute for the sixth consecutive year. Henkel Korea scored top marks for cooperation between colleagues and managers, the corporate culture as well as the possibilities to reconcile work and family life, which promotes equal treatment regardless of gender.
“Woman’s Value Award” in Japan
Henkel Japan was awarded with the “Woman’s Value Award” in 2019. This award is given to companies who empower female employees. It recognizes Henkel as a place where different skills, knowledge and backgrounds are treated equally regardless of gender.
Henkel India recognized in the category of "Best Organisations for Women"
In March 2022, Henkel India was recognized by The Economic Times (ET) in the category of "Best Organisations for Women – 2022". ET celebrates organizations whose contributions have been invaluable in creating outstanding work environment for women. It also highlights companies that have succeeded in setting a new standard by empowering female colleagues and integrating them into their workforce.
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.
European Round Table for Industry
Henkel and 32 other world-leading companies signed a declaration on promoting diversity and inclusion in December 2018.