The new group structure presents many opportunities – and a few challenges. Our diversity management is in demand like never before. Our teams are becoming increasingly intercultural and our activities ever more global.
This makes it especially important to manage diversity and exploit its potential to the greatest degree possible.
A good example of the success of diverse teams is the construction of the new plant in Rosario, Argentina. To carry out the project, four REHAU experts from four countries worked together intercontinentally: the former Spanish plant director Josep Cid, the Argentinian chemist and engineer Martin Yoma, the German business unit director Matthias Trager and the Chinese process engineer Jeffrey Guo. Their task was as exciting as it was demanding. They were charged with building a plant in just 12 months that would, in the medium term, produce window profiles for all of South America. But it wasn’t just the schedule that presented a challenge. Twelve time zones separated the four experts, not to mention many cultural differences. Moreover, they only seldom had the chance to see each other personally, and frequently had to coordinate by way of video conferences. But none of that stopped them from achieving their objective. They worked exceptionally well together as a team, with each one bringing their own particular strengths – from creative problem-solving approaches to outstanding organisational talent. For Jeffrey Guo it’s clear: “This mix was one of the reasons for our success.”
Effective diversity is decided in the heads of those involved. To execute projects like Rosario with the same success in the future, we think beyond generations and national borders. We promote sensitivity for intercultural collaboration with special programmes, campaigns and initiatives – and we start with our youngest employees. We offer our trainees the opportunity to engage in technical exchanges with colleagues at numerous locations abroad. In the ’International REHAU Trainee Program’, we train university graduates around the world in joint training weeks as well as in project and foreign assignments for their professional activities with REHAU. And we encourage the development of international networks through events like the Alumni Conference in 2013. For the first time, some 50 graduates of the International REHAU Trainee Programme met with graduates of the Management Development Programme to discuss technical presentations, receive training on various leadership issues and take advantage of the opportunity to speak with high-level executives. This represented an important step towards an even more open corporate culture that supports regular exchange between all levels of the hierarchy and all divisions of the company.
Further information can be found in our sustainability report on page 38!