A Spotlight on Diversity
This year marked the 5th annual Diversity Day organized by the German Charter of Diversity, a national initiative of more than 2,450 businesses, organizations and public institutions committed to creating a welcoming business culture. Thermo Fisher Scientific signed the charter in 2013, committing to fostering diversity, tolerance, fairness and acknowledgment of employees of all genders, ethnicities, religions, ages, sexual orientation and abilities.
This year colleagues at Thermo Fisher celebrated Diversity Day across 12 sites in Germany by hosting activities designed to demonstrate the value of leveraging our unique perspectives and experiences.
One of the highlights was a generational learning event that helped participants understand the diverse work styles, communication preferences and other values embraced by Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and other groups represented in the workplace. Through this exercise employees were able to visualize the distribution of the local workforce to the different generations through the representation of different plastic balls in baskets. Each ball representing an employee at the site. Employees were also provided a quiz on generation preferences.
Joern Beyer, Human Resources Director for Corporate, said the event was particularly impactful "because it raised awareness for a topic that is not always directly associated with diversity. The allocation of generations in the sites is very different and calls for different actions. With the event, we raised awareness with all employees and can now take further steps to bridge the gap between generations."
Another notable activity was a wheelchair tour that helped employees understand the perspectives of our colleagues with differing physical abilities. The exercise had an additional benefit of helping to identify ways to improve access for colleagues who use wheelchairs.
Diversity Day participants said the event helps Thermo Fisher strengthen our culture of inclusion. "I believe it's very important to acknowledge our differences and celebrate them," said Silvia Sikkinga, Human Resources Manager for the Microbiology Division. "Our diverse staff are integral to making Thermo Fisher the best that it can be, and we've very much enjoyed exploring the discrepancies in our perspectives and how they affect the way we work."