Why Empathy is the Basis for Diversity and Inclusion

March 22nd, 2024

By Anja Guckenberger, Managing Director, Golin Germany

“Inspire inclusion” is the motto of this year’s International Women’s Day. But what exactly does inclusion mean? If you google the definition, you’ll find statements such as: “Inclusion means that everyone naturally belongs, regardless of appearance, language, or origin.”

That’s a description that I can relate to. For me personally, “inclusion” primarily means accepting people for who they areā€” and the basis for this is empathy. It depends on the ability to recognize the different needs of colleagues, employees, or customers and to respond to them individually. Empathy is the bedrock of mutual acceptance, diversity, and inclusion.

When we understand how our colleagues think and can relate to their feelings, we can enhance team collaboration and respond to individual needs. When we understand what our customers expect from us, we create a successful long-term collaboration.

Respecting others as they are ā€“ without attempting to dominate ā€“ is essential for a respectful and trusted collaboration. This applies not only to our private lives, but above all in our professional environment, where many different characters and personalities come together. Unfortunately, it is precisely these differences that can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings if they are not dealt with appropriately.

As Managing Director of Golin Germany, it is of course particularly important to me that all employees at Golin feel comfortable and, above all, accepted and respected. People seek for a work environment where they are valued, regardless of their ethnic origin, gender, orientation, or other characteristics. And that is exactly what we want to offer to them. At Golin, we aim to create a workplace in which diversity is valued.

One way to achieve this is by having overarching corporate values. Everyone can use these as a guide at any time – they always provide direction for both existing employees and potential applicants.

In our teams in Germany, we also try to ensure this primarily through regular feedback and work opportunities in the company in general, which we try to make diverse and fair for everyone.

For me, this is also very much related to the topic of well-being, which – alongside neurodiversity – is a focus at Golin this year. After all, it’s not just health benefits that ensure mental health in the workplace, the above-mentioned points in particular form the basis.

Treating each other with respect, being able to be yourself, an open feedback culture, being able to address challenges and rely on support, equal conditions for everyone – all of this is the basis of inclusion and, as a result, well-being.

That’s how, we try to create a culture in which every voice is heard, and different perspectives are valued.

Golin Global’s 2024 DEI priority is Taking Action: Advancing Mental Wellbeing and Neurodiversity.