BSH COO: ‘Diverse organisations make better companies’

Silke Maurer, chief operating officer of BSH, speaks about BSH’s diversity policies and how the industry would benefit from more diversity.

Q: As a hugely influential brand, what role do you think BSH has to play in championing gender equality in the KBB industry?

A: Of course, as one of the industry leaders, we have a responsibility to champion gender equality and diversity and it’s a responsibility we take seriously. BSH leads the way by action and actively continues working on implementing this internally.

Since 2011 we have increased the proportion of women in management positions across the company and a quarter of those roles are now filled by women. While this is good progress, we can always do more and are in the process of setting ambitious goals for our equality and diversity policy in the future. Yet, simple target setting is not enough – especially regarding gender equality. We need to encourage female talents from the beginning of their careers – or even at school. We need to work on the framework and to promote the benefits of diverse teams.  

Q: Can you tell us about BSH’s own diversity policies and your involvement with any initiatives? 

A: At BSH we know that diversity and the energy and potential that naturally comes with it is one of the key drivers for a successful business – from recruiting the brightest minds to inventing the products of the future. I’m an active supporter of BSH’s diversity policies and contribute to the range of diversity initiatives held throughout BSH. Since 2018 we have been running annual Diversity Days. The idea is to have at least one day where as many aspects of diversity can be addressed. A variety of activities, workshops, speeches, and roundtables take place.

The motivation to start this initiative wasto raise awareness of diversity in order to foster an open mindset. Everyone who takes part gains a better understanding what diversity means and how every single person can contribute to an open and respectful environment – and why this is so important. 

Q: How would the KBB industry benefit from having more women in top roles? 

A: I think every industry can benefit from not just more women, but more diversity across management positions. Diverse organisations make better companies by allowing for more diverse solutions, supporting innovation, disrupting and fostering a wider and open perspective on business and beyond. The more talent, backgrounds and skillsets you can bring together, the better chances you have of understanding your consumers.

Q: What do you think is the future of the kitchen industry when it comes to diversity? 

A: I think we’re likely to see a continuing growth in diversity at a more accelerated rate given the challenges we’ve faced across the world in the past year. Speed, agility and innovativeness but also empathy and collaboration are more important than ever – all characteristics supported by a diverse work force.

At BSH, we know that quality of life increase when smart home appliances adapt to personal requirements and make people’s lives easier. Therefore, we focus on offering personalisation for our consumers that reflect our society. The insights of our diverse workforce help us anticipate and meet the variety of consumers’ wishes.

From a more personal perspective, I believe that the diversity in the future of all industries depends heavily on the individual’s environment and infrastructure. As a working mother, I have not only faced ‘administrative’ challenges such as childcare, but also comments from colleagues and other mothers that increased the persistent guilty conscience. Companies need to support their employees by shaping family-friendly working conditions and a corporate culture that respects different lifestyles. I hope that these, and many more, changes will continue in the future and enable an inclusive workforce across
all industries.

The latest episode of the award-winning kbbreview Podcast also marks International Women’s Day. Listen using the player below or search ‘kbbreview’ in a podcast app such as Apple Podcasts.

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