What does diversity mean to you?

Interview on Diversity@Fraunhofer EMFT with Jennifer Salagean

What is your role at Fraunhofer EMFT?

Jennifer: I'm Jennifer Salagean and I'm responsible for staff development at Fraunhofer EMFT. In addition to supporting and mentoring employees, managers and teams, I look after the well-being of employees and develop concepts and interventions from positive psychology. I am also responsible for training and programs for the professional and personal development of our employees. I am also accountable for supervising PhD candidates, as well as numerous other projects.

However, one of the projects close to my heart is the topic of diversity. As the working-class child of immigrants and later the first academic in my family, I know exactly what it means to start out with disadvantages and stumbling blocks. The start in life is not the same for everyone. Creating an awareness of this and promoting mutual respect and appreciation are values that I would like to manifest by increasing diversity and inclusion within Fraunhofer EMFT, among other things.

What motivates you to carry out the diversity project at Fraunhofer EMFT?

Jennifer: In addition to my personal motivation and passion for the topic of diversity, I am also driven by various social, entrepreneurial and human aspects to raise awareness of diversity at Fraunhofer EMFT. From a social perspective, diversity in society reflects a reality that all companies are confronted with nowadays. In order to be and, above all, remain relevant and appealing to a broad customer base, it is important that companies reflect this diversity in their workforce. Furthermore, it motivates me to be able to make my personal contribution to promoting equal opportunities.

© Fraunhofer EMFT / Jennifer Salagean
© Fraunhofer EMFT / Jennifer Salagean

What social responsibility do you see in the diversity project?

Jennifer: For me, diversity is a social reality - in an increasingly diverse society, it is essential for companies to reflect the diversity of their workforce. By promoting diversity, companies can increase their relevance and attractiveness to the outside world and thus develop even more innovative solutions. 

In my view, equal opportunities arise through social responsibility. Diversity creates equal opportunities for all people and helps to overcome discrimination and inequality. By actively promoting diversity in my role at the company, I am demonstrating my social responsibility and contributing to the creation of a fairer society. 

Both legal requirements and ethical standards also require dealing with diversity and avoiding discrimination. Companies must ensure that they meet the legal and ethical requirements and create an inclusive working environment in which every employee is respected and valued. Even I stand for this with my name ;-)

What entrepreneurial aspects do you see in the diversity project?

Jennifer: On the one hand, of course, competitiveness, but also customer orientation. Last but not least, as an HR developer, I also see talent acquisition and employee recruitment as an important entrepreneurial aspect. 

Diverse teams and organizations are able to be more creative and innovative because they bring different perspectives and experiences to the table. This catapults us into the upper echelons in terms of competitiveness. 

A diversity-oriented corporate culture enables companies to better respond to the needs and wishes of a diverse customer base, which is why I have definitely defined customer orientation as an entrepreneurial aspect.

In terms of talent attraction and retention, I would also like to emphasize that companies that promote diversity and inclusion attract talented professionals and create an inclusive work environment that strengthens employee retention. Important, important, important.

What human aspects do you see in the diversity project?

Jennifer: Two important aspects for me are respect and appreciation. Diversity promotes respect for individual differences and enables a culture of appreciation and recognition of the contributions of all employees. I also see creativity and innovation as important human aspects. The exchange of different ideas and perspectives promotes creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills. I also see empathy and collaboration as essential human issues. Diversity sensitizes people to the needs of others and promotes the ability to work together across cultural and social boundaries.

© Fraunhofer EMFT / Jennifer Salagean
© Fraunhofer EMFT / Jennifer Salagean

How do you see the need to promote diversity and awareness in companies?

Jennifer: Overall, the social, corporate and human aspects mentioned above make it necessary to promote diversity and raise awareness of it in companies. By actively promoting diversity, we bring about positive change, increase our competitiveness, attract talented professionals and create an inclusive working environment in which all employees can develop their full potential.

We can and should all feel a sense of responsibility to contribute to increasing diversity. 

"Diversity is the kaleidoscope of our little world. Every color, every shape, every nuance comes together to create the wonderful picture we paint together. Our differences are the brushstrokes that make our lives more colorful and richer."

Your Jen

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