“A clear statement from our bank”

August 2020 – Sabine Kittner-Schürmann, Equal Opportunities Officer for Hamburg Commercial Bank, on the bank’s reasons for signing the “Diversity Charter” and the advantages it brings with it.

Sabine Kittner-Schürmann, Equal Opportunities Officer for Hamburg Commercial Bank
Sabine Kittner-Schürmann, Equal Opportunities Officer for Hamburg Commercial Bank

Ms. Kittner-Schürmann, what advantages does diversity offer from the perspective of companies or banks like Hamburg Commercial Bank?

Sabine Kittner-Schürmann:Numerous studies have proven that diverse companies with mixed teams are more creative, more crisis-proof, and so ultimately more successful. Ensuring diversity can also provide an instrument against a lack of skilled workers and allow for the development of new target groups on the customer side.

What does diversity mean in concrete terms: a higher quota of female employees?

Sabine Kittner-Schürmann:That would certainly be important in our case, but beyond that it also means taking a broader perspective more generally. In addition to gender, this also includes issues of culture, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and age.

How does the admirable goal of mixed teams become corporate reality?

Sabine Kittner-Schürmann:It doesn’t happen overnight. Managers are particularity called upon here, and so they often have to rethink things themselves first.

How far is Hamburg Commercial Bank itself along the road to diversity?

Sabine Kittner-Schürmann:Let me put it this way: we’ve also made very good progress compared with other companies and banks, but we still have a long way to go in certain areas. We’ve been dealing with this issue and the “Diversity Charter” for some time now, and so I’m pleased that the Bank has now signed this commitment. This makes a clear statement. Equal opportunities, a good work-life balance, support for employees before and during parental leave, targeted promotion – Hamburg Commercial Bank already offers its employees all these services. All doors are open at Hamburg Commercial Bank; we live the principle of equal opportunities for all. This is supported by the Management Board, works councils, management, and employee representatives, and is promoted by appropriate accompanying regulations and measures. Hamburg Commercial Bank is one of the few companies to employ a full-time equal opportunities officer, for example.