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Bosch launches online social counselling for associates
Last year, members of Germany’s public insurance companies missed an average of 36 days of work for mental health reasons. According to the BKK Health Report 2016, the number of sick days due to psychological ailments more than doubled between 2005 and 2015. With the aim of helping its associates even more, Bosch is now the first company in Germany to offer its in-house social counselling service for associates online. “In-house social counselling can contribute to maintaining the health of our associates,” explains Christoph Kübel, member of the board of management and director of industrial relations at Robert Bosch GmbH. “With the online offer, it is now even easier for them to get support“.
Easy access, low inhibition threshold
On the new social counselling website, more than 100,000 Bosch associates in Germany can now get in touch with the experts at the company’s in-house social counselling service. The new point of contact makes it easier for associates to get advice. They can use the service from anywhere at any time, also from their smart phones and home computers. Associates and counsellors communicate via email, or live in individual and expert chats. Just like personal meetings, all digital conversations remain confidential. This makes it easier to talk about sensitive issues related to mental health, stress management, and crisis management. “With our online counselling services, we are reaching associates who may have been too afraid or ashamed to seek help in the past,” says Michaela Noe-Bertram, head of in-house counselling services at Bosch.
With its online counselling services, Bosch has further expanded its healthcare services for associates. In 2015, the company added prevention, rehabilitation, and integration measures related to mental health. The aim is to detect psychological problems early on, raise awareness among associates and their supervisors, and make integrated help services available. In addition to the in-house counselling service, the network also includes Bosch health services and the company’s more than 400 sport and leisure time groups.
More information on the new online social counselling service be found here (Only available in German).
Bosch celebrates its fourth International Diversity Day
Eliminating prejudice is beneficial for everyone: this was the focus of the fourth Bosch International Diversity Day, which took place on May 23, 2017. Under the banner of “Discover Diversity: you are a part of it”, Bosch associates at over 200 locations around the world engaged in intensive discussions. With different activities and events that promoted dialogue, participants made a conscious effort to change perspectives, and thus learned about backgrounds, experiences, and competencies that were different from their own. In so doing, Bosch associates reflected on their own unconscious thought patterns and learned how different perspectives could enhance their daily work.
With this global event, Bosch once again emphasized that diversity is an integral part of its corporate culture as well as a condition for the company’s success. After all, the ability to see things from different perspectives gives rise to new ideas and thus enhances innovative strength at Bosch. Our picture gallery shows how the different locations celebrated the day.
Diversity in a picture: Our Vietnam locations celebrated the fourth annual Bosch International Diversity Day with a photography challenge in traditional Asian outfits. They also held workshops that addressed unconscious thought patterns.
Diversity Challenge: In Indonesia, Bosch associates took a playful approach to addressing diversity-related topics. Participants from different divisions and functional areas carried out a range of tasks accordingly.
A tight knit community: In the United States associates created a unity project, a work of art that aimed to show how closely linked people are to one another, and that everyone shares the same foundation.
Workshop in the grass: At Bosch headquarters in Germany, associates took part in the first Diversity Day Picnic, where they discussed the topics of feedback, trust, appreciation, openness, and empathy.
From B(aby Boomers) to (Generation) Z: In Thailand, Diversity Day activities focused on age. A music challenge and a diversity quiz completed the program.
In South Africa, associates discussed their personal understanding of diversity at a workshop. They also discussed ways in which they could contribute to promoting diversity themselves.
The modern father: at many locations in Japan, male associates attended a seminar on work/life balance for dads.
Up and coming Bosch executives volunteer with social projects
“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” – John le Carré
What are the characteristics of a good executive? In addition to specialist knowledge and sound judgment, many employers place a great deal of importance on their employees’ social skills and commitment to charitable causes. With its “Talent Pool” program, Bosch also encourages up and coming executives to volunteer. In teams comprising associates from different locations and divisions, young executives have the opportunity to volunteer for social projects.
This year’s Talent Pool participants at an event promoting social commitment at Bosch locations
Participants can decide how much time they spend working on the project and coordinate their work independently within the project team. In most cases, the teams also define targets and distribute roles and responsibilities themselves. “We strongly believe that this type of cooperation is very important,” says Mariana Peters, who works in HR development for Bosch corporate departments. “Often, participants are confronted with tasks that are completely new to them. So they need to be flexible and able to adapt to new situations.”
In 2016, 79 members of the Bosch Talent Pool from corporate departments took part in the program. Divided into eight teams, they supported a selection of charitable projects from the region, among them a local initiative that supports the integration of refugees in the workplace, as well as a project that promotes access for people with disabilities. In recent months, the project team comprising 10 up and coming executives helped create a city map for people with disabilities in Gerlingen, a suburb of Stuttgart. To this end, they scoped the town for barriers to accessibility and spoke with restaurant owners and local clubs about improving offers for people with disabilities.
In October, the participants presented their projects at a local event and talked about their experiences, which were positive across the board. The volunteers stated that the teamwork was decisive to the success of their projects. “For us, volunteering for a social project is an important building block for leadership skills,” says Mariana Peters. “We see how important open communication and responsibility are, and their importance keeps growing every day. With this project, we aim to enable up and coming executives to further sharpen these skills in an unknown environment, reflect on them in a timely manner, and make adjustments wherever necessary.” In the spirit of company founder Robert Bosch, participants make an important contribution to social well-being with their involvement in charitable initiatives. At the same time, they sharpen their leadership skills and set a good example for their future employees.
More information on the Bosch Talent Pool can be found here.
The company’s LGBT network is celebrating its 10th anniversary
Ten years ago, Bosch associates joined forces to found RBg, the Bosch gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender associate network. Their aim was to make the LGBT community more visible at the company, and to promote greater tolerance and acceptance. A great deal has happened since then: today, more than 290 members in 10 countries are active members of RBg. And Bosch sponsored this year’s Christopher Street Day celebrations in Stuttgart, demonstrating the company’s commitment to promoting diversity. This sent out an important signal, says Dr. Jean-Claude Loux, a Bosch engineer and the associate network’s spokesperson.
Dr. Loux, this year’s CSD was held under the banner of “Operation Visibility”. How visible is the LGBT community at Bosch?
As a result of our involvement in events such as Christopher Street Day, it is become increasingly visible. The Bosch sponsorship was communicated through a variety of channels: there were articles on the intranet, in the associate newspaper, and on Facebook. As a result, colleagues see what we are doing and just how important diversity and the LGBT community are at Bosch. The sponsorship has helped Bosch strengthen its position, also vis-à-vis its associates. Today, Germany has the greatest RBg representation, but our network is also growing in other countries in which the topic of homosexuality is still taboo. This is mainly the result of our board of management’s clear support of our network.
How can an associate network promote greater tolerance with regard to sexual orientation?
As the network has grown, each and every one of us has become more visible. This is important, because it has contributed to making interaction with the LGBT community more natural and relaxed. Many people still associate homosexuality mainly with sex. We want to change that: after all, sexual identity is a great deal more, and shouldn’t be reduced to physicality.
What would you like to see for your community in the next ten years?
If I look around at Bosch in Germany, I can see that tolerance is widespread. But sometimes there is still a lack of acceptance. For this reason, I would like the LGBT community to be just a normal part of the Bosch community. I’d also like to reach out more to our colleagues in production as well. Since they aren’t sitting at a computer, they are more difficult for us to reach.
Thank you very much for the interview, Dr. Loux.
More information on diversity at Bosch can be found here.
Bosch and Primavera e.V. are supporting projects for refugees
No one expected such outstanding results: at the end of 2015, Bosch called for donations for its “Bosch hilft” project. The aim was to collect funds for refugees. From the outset, it was clear that associates were eager to help. By the beginning of 2016, associates in Germany and abroad had donated 410,000 euros to the Primavera e.V. charitable initiative, which is run by Bosch associates. The company pledged to double the total. As a result, 820,000 euros have now gone toward refugee aid projects. Associates were invited to suggest which projects they wished to support.
A committee comprising representatives of Primavera e.V., the group works council, the group advisory board, the group committee of executive representatives, coordinators for refugee aid projects, and the corporate citizenship department, selected 113 our of 185 suggestions, and these projects have since received financial support. Selection criteria included project sustainability, the volunteer involvement of Bosch associates, and regional distribution. “We spent six days discussing each submission in an open and constructive manner. In the end, the decisions were unanimous,” said Sabine Lutz, head of the corporate citizenship department.
Most of the selected projects aim to help people who have fled war and poverty become part of German society: with language lessons, sports, leisure activities, or support with bureaucracy. Organizations that provide local emergency aid have also received funding. One of them is an outpatient clinic run by Hassan Naggar, a German surgeon with Syrian roots. For the past three years, he has provided free medical treatment to refugees in Antakya, near the Syrian border. His team includes specialist physicians, a dentist, a pharmacist, a lab technician, and nurses. Just like their patients, all of them fled Syria. The clinical team treats up to 500 patients each day, among them children, pregnant women, and older people. Thanks to the Bosch donation, the hospital can now cover the cost of medication for a period of six months.
At the end of 2015, before the call for donations was made, Bosch had already made 500,000 euros available to create additional internship spots at some 30 Bosch locations for 400 young refugees, among other things. One of them is Ebrima, a young man from Gambia who has lived in Germany for two years. He is completing an internship in Waiblingen, where Bosch has created ten additional internship spots. His daily work includes gaining insights into production and assembly processes, and learning about filing, millilng, and drilling. “We want to help young people gain skills for the labor market,” says Nico Wachter, a department head at Bosch in Waiblingen. This is precisely what Ebrima is doing: he hopes to begin an apprenticeship as an industrial mechanic as soon as possible.
More information on Primavera e.V.’s call for donations can be found here.
More information on how Bosch and its associates are supporting refugee aid projects can be found here.