The entire month of May is celebrated by dozens of European countries as the time to observe, recognize and applaud diversity in the workplace, and extending that to society as a whole. This period is known as European Diversity Month, and the aim is to support an inclusive and equal environment for all people in the EU. 

Did you know that over one in two Europeans (59%) believe that discrimination because of one’s ethnic origin is widespread? What’s more, one in three people of African descent say they have experienced racist harassment in the last five years. Plus, widespread antisemitism still affects Jewish people in all areas of life in the EU. Though these statistics are distressing, they highlight how imperative it is to not only bring awareness to diversity and inclusivity, but also to celebrate it.

That’s why the focus of this year’s European Diversity Month is on ethnic diversity, and the prejudices and challenges that are related to this topic. The European Commission, which heads European Diversity Month, has called upon small and large employers, private companies, public organizations and non-profit associations to participate in this initiative by raising awareness of the benefits of inclusivity, promoting how it positively affects their companies, and leading events, trainings and campaigns. 

“Let’s all take a bolder stand for diversity and act about it. Let’s show our commitment to equality and this May 2021 celebrate the European Diversity Month together. With more diverse workplaces, we will create a fairer and more equal Europe for all.”
– Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner for Equality

What is diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Diversity in the workplace means that a company has a team of people that mirrors the society in which it operates in, and includes all types of individuals that are unique from one another. While there are myriad differences between all humans, broadly speaking, diversity includes social categories like ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability and sexual orientation, although there are many more classifications, and some characteristics are more visible than others.

While the terms diversity and inclusion often go hand-in-hand, they cannot be used interchangeably. Afterall, a workplace can be diverse, but that means nothing unless there are strategies and practices put in place to remove the barriers that individuals from minority groups must overcome. Some ways for an employer to show their commitment toward inclusion is by offering diversity education and training in subjects (such as unconscious bias), strengthening anti-discrimination policies, and accepting and honoring multiple religious and cultural practices.

A truly inclusive environment not only includes a variety of identities, but also treats everyone fairly, ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute to and influence every part and level of a workplace, as well as provides equal access to opportunities. There must be representations of diversity at all levels for an organization to really be considered inclusive. 

How does diversity and inclusion strengthen the workplace?

Many – if not most – European employers have made the commitment to hire personnel with diverse identities. Aside from the obvious fact that companies have a social, moral and ethical responsibility to form diverse workforces, studies have shown that equitable employers regularly speed ahead of competitors due to the unique perspectives and ideas that such team members bring. To put this into figures, ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to yield higher revenue, while gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to yield higher revenue.   

Furthermore, companies that demonstrate they have a diverse and inclusive workforce across all levels enjoy a bolstered reputation, and attract more talented hires and experience better employee retention. In fact, research by Glassdoor found that 57% of employees and 67% of job seekers consider diversity an important element of their workplace.

What is commercetools doing for European Diversity Month?

commercetools is an international company and across every part of our business we strive to create a diverse and inclusive culture in which difference is recognized and valued and everyone can be at their best. We believe that we will be at our best when we achieve our ambition of having a diverse and talented workforce that reflects the customers we serve.
– Dirk Hoerig, CEO, commercetools

As a company, commercetools offers a market-leading platform for next-gen commerce. At our core, we’ve always been a global company that employs an incredible mix of people. It’s no secret that commercetools’ true strength lies in its practice of hiring people from all nationalities – over 42 in fact – which is quite rare for a tech company! Even in our Munich office alone, we employ people from over 13 countries. But we believe that’s where our success lies, and we do our best to support our diverse team members with our Diversity Committee, as well as comprehensive protocols in our Diversity Policy in the Corporate Guidelines.

Even though commercetools has several offices outside of Europe – in the US, Singapore and Australia – we are celebrating European Diversity across all of them. It is crucial for us to celebrate all the ethnic diversity in our workforce, so we’re going full force with a month of campaigns underscoring all the wonderful backgrounds of our employees, from food and language to music and…more food! We are also planning internal initiatives for the month of May and beyond, so we can continue supporting our diverse employees all-year round. 

commercetools is an equal opportunity employer that welcomes applicants from all walks of life. If you’re interested in joining the tapestry that makes up the commercetools workforce, we look forward to your application.