Barbara Massing: ′Communicating and living our values′ | About DW | DW | 08.05.2018

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About DW

Barbara Massing: 'Communicating and living our values'

Barbara Massing, head of DW administration: We have a global audience. Our employees are key to our success. These are two important statements from our mission statement. But what do they mean on a daily basis?

Diversity has to be at the heart of a place where people from 60 nations work together to create journalistic content in 30 languages. This is why sharing the same values and actively allowing everyone to be a part of shaping the corporate culture at DW is incredibly important.

Imagine the following scenario: four blindfolded individuals are standing in front of an object, tasked with describing what they can explore with their sense of touch. The first one says "it's like a tube that can be lifted and lowered." Another replies "it feels more like a big wall." The third individual describes it as "akin to a carpet, all soft and bendable." The fourth person likens it to "a tree trunk, hard and stable."

As they compare notes they realize that what they have all been touching is in fact an elephant. In order to understand the nature of the elephant, all the people involved had to allow for the differing views to coexist and respect each other's perspectives.

This Buddhist parable exemplifies the importance of taking other world views and outlooks seriously and paying attention to them.
Deutsche Welle prides itself in representing pluralism, independence and credible reporting and is seriously committed to intercultural exchange. Therefore, it is crucial for us to lay claim to these values that we represent to our audience around the globe and within our organization.

Respect: an expression of credibility 

The corporate culture at DW lives and breathes through all the different perceptions that our employees bring to the job. As an employer, DW has a mandate to encourage dialogues among all these cultures and to create circumstances to facilitate this. We often succeed in this endeavor by abiding by our clearly defined managerial values: trust, constructive feedback, loyalty, respect, leadership, transparency and cooperation.

Deutsche Welle always works to improve its diversity management. Gender mainstreaming plays a large role in achieving the goals of our corporate culture. DW already offers a number of opportunities here: part-time work and part-time apprenticeships are as much a part or our pursuit to create equal opportunities as promoting the recruitment of women in technical positions. We cannot tolerate any kind of unequal treatment. This is why DW has many women working in leadership positions. 

Mobile work opportunities are also part of a package of solutions intended to facilitate a greater balance between work and private life for all our employees, male or female. We are committed to reaching our goal of establishing standards that guarantee equal treatment and career opportunities for all without limiting these to just few individual cases.

We hope to create a work environment where gaps in resumes or temporarily reduced hours are not only tolerated but regarded as opportunities for all who are involved and are aimed to address both men and women of all ages and backgrounds.

Keeping our progress in check

65 years into the history of DW, our organization is headed in the right direction. This doesn't mean that we've reached all our goals and is why we question and reevaluate our accomplishments constantly. With this in mind, we subjected DW to the Equal Treatment Test of Germany's Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency and continue to gauge how well our management values are being put into practice. Without taking such measures, organizations like DW would not be able to learn new lessons.

We have to identify our blind spots and think ahead. We are hoping to have more diversity in the managerial positions, establish more leadership positions with split responsibilities between equal managers and encourage our employees to see diversity as a major benefit to all.

The most valuable assets of a company are driven employees who respect each other, listen to each other and develop new ideas and formats in exchange with each other. DW can encourage this potential by telling stories from around the world in a digital age and make these diverse voices heard. After all, that is DW's mandate both internally and externally.