a word with

Diversity begins with an open ear

Interview with Jürgen Höfling
The CWS employee magazine
Title picutre: Colorful powder
CWS has worked successfully on the topic of sustainability over recent years and now figures among the best in the sector. In order to further consolidate its leading status and create an even more attractive working environment, CWS is now putting greater emphasis on a further aspect of its corporate responsibility, namely diversity. Jürgen Höfling explains in the following interview why diversity and cooperation are doubly worthwhile.

Mr. Höfling, CWS intends to foster diversity in the company. Why do you find that important?

I personally find it enriching to work with different people and take various perspectives on board. In the course of my professional life I have often worked in international teams also comprised of men and women on an equal footing. This diversity has had a positive effect on the working atmosphere: taking account of different points of view or cultural experiences automatically strengthens understanding and cooperation with one another – which in turn leads to better results.

“Including different points of view or cultural experiences automatically strengthens understanding and cooperation – which in turn leads to better results.”
Jürgen Höfling

Do you see a lot of catching up to be done at CWS?

I think we have already achieved a lot through the integration of Initial, with a new, strong team being formed from two companies with different cultures. A team in which people from 16 nations work hand in hand. Can we get even better? For sure! For example, when it comes to breaking with our ultimately rather German way of thinking or raising the proportion of female managerial personnel.

CWS CEO Juergen Hoefling

So will CWS be focussing on the topic of women in management?

We regard each and every facet of diversity as important – be it gender, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation. It is a matter of gaining a variety of perspectives – and this undoubtedly includes the female viewpoint as well. Almost every second employee at CWS is currently a woman, but the ratio in middle-management positions stands at just 25 women to 93 men while only two of 21 persons at the executive level are female. This is where I see a need for action.


Are there already any concrete ideas as to how you would like to foster diversity in the workforce and diverse thinking?

We recently set up a Diversity & Inclusion Council. The body thus formed first took an in-depth look at diversity at CWS: what do we mean by this, where do we stand today and what can we do to foster diversity in the company. The Diversity & Inclusion Council has already developed a variety of ideas and made concrete suggestions on how we can raise consciousness of the topic, identify opportunities and tackle them together, for example with a survey across the entire workforce.

More on the topic

We shall be introducing the Diversity & Inclusion Council to you in the near future. You will get an overview of what the body is working on, why the members are so enthusiastic about the topic and how you can get involved.

What results do you hope to obtain from this survey?

Our initial aim is to listen and understand: which topics do the colleagues find generally important? Where is there a need for action? Which projects would be beneficial – what do our colleagues expect from us on this topic? The responses to such questions will set the concrete direction for our next steps. We also want to use this survey to attract employees who can work with us on the topic and act as diversity ambassadors in the company.


That is the internal perspective. Will there also be changes in terms of CWS's external image? During your time at DHL, for example, you launched a highly acclaimed campaign, with tailor-made implementations for 14 countries with motifs that were attuned to the respective nations...

Using an appropriate visual language is certainly an aspect. Already then, there was more to it than that, namely the analysis of different cultural, ethical and religious mindsets, empathizing with them and then developing an appropriate customer approach across all channels. We are also facing this challenge at CWS: we have to demonstrate more diversity in our communication and take account of people from different backgrounds. This also harbours opportunities for product development or sales/marketing.


Do you expect diversity in the company to have a positive impact on business figures?

Our objective is to create an appreciative environment in which everyone can fully exploit their strengths. I am quite sure that this is a fertile breeding ground for excellence and innovation – albeit not without complications at times. This is an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss, for which reason I would like to call on all employees to play an active part with commitment and contribute their personal experiences and skills!

Keyword: Diversity
The term “diversity” describes an organisational and socio-political concept, the objective of which is a respectful approach to diverseness and individuality as well as the conscious consideration of different points of view. The core dimensions of diversity are predominantly: age, gender, ethnicity, social origin, sexual orientation and physical and psychological condition. The Diversity Charter (Charta der Vielfalt) initiative was set up in 2006 to promote the topic in companies.