Integrity is one of the four corporate values that form the foundation for our work and shape our self-image. What the discussion about integrity has to do with a former British Prime Minister, why our value system is still in strong demand in the Corona era, and how value-oriented action and trust are linked - we talked about this with Beate Wesoly from the "Integrity Management" department.
Ms. Wesoly, the topics of "value orientation" and "integrity" have experienced a renaissance in large companies in recent years. How much PR is behind them?
It's quite simple: for me, integrity shows itself in actions. In this context, one of our advisory boards for integrity and corporate responsibility, Dr. Martin von Broock, once reminded us of Margaret Thatcher, who is supposed to have said: „Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.” It's actually the same with integrity. It's not about reporting how many compliance and integrity conferences a company has attended. That is pure marketing. Above all, integrity must be lived. We can all mention some very practical examples from the past months: our help during the Corona pandemic to support government and society. The ambulances, the production of masks, making our reach available on social media channels, our company doctors, organizing work processes at the plant to protect our colleagues - that is lived integrity.
The question of integrity is about values. Who decides what is right at Daimler?
Ideally, correct decisions are the result of a three-step process. In the first step, I look at external rules and laws as well as internal rules. Here, our Integrity Code should be mentioned especially. It describes very clearly what we understand by integrity, which rules apply at Daimler, how we deal with each other and with external partners, and how cooperation should be lived out in the company. In step two, our corporate values - appreciation, commitment, discipline, and integrity - give me orientation. Does my chosen decision work out in line with these values, which form the foundation of our work at Daimler? In step three, I can question my inner compass, my own value system. These three steps define as well the "how" of our transformation. How do we shape it? We know that a lot is ahead of us. In this phase of change, our lived integrity is now more important than ever.
Technology, society, environment: All areas of our lives are changing rapidly. Are not values also subject to constant adaptation?
Our values are our foundation. A basis that can guide me even in challenging times. In the course of our lives, our personal values change only minimally; most principles accompany us throughout our lives. In particular, we speak of the "Golden Rule*", which applies universally worldwide. In the present time, which for many is characterized by high uncertainty, it is important to have a foundation that gives you security. For example, the topic "respectful cooperation" is important to me. Even though I no longer see my colleagues in the office every day, this does not change my attitude to the topic. Here I have to find ways in my everyday work life how good cooperation can also work from home.
But values are something very subjective. If my values do not match the values of my employer, should I rather look for a new job?
If my values and those of the company are contrary to each other, a classic dilemma is created. In order to solve this, I have to make a decision - adjustment or change of company. But often the differences are not so extreme. I observe a change here, especially in the younger generations. In the discussions I notice that especially principles such as "sustainability" are now taking on a completely different significance. Young people demand great commitment from their employers, but at the same time they are also looking for orientation through the company values. They want to know and understand in a much more targeted way what the company's attitude is.
How are integrity and trust related?
For me, trust is directly related to integrity. When investors trust us to manage resources well and generate sustainable profits; when society trusts us to make a good contribution by paying fair salaries and balancing the three P's ("People, Planet & Profit"), then we fulfill our commitment to be a reliable and trustworthy company. In short, if we do what we say we will make an important contribution to gaining trust.
What opportunities do colleagues have to get involved?
Our colleagues have the opportunity to get involved at any time when it comes to integrity - it is even absolutely necessary. Integrity shows itself in our daily actions. Whether it's about addressing mistakes and dealing constructively with them, creating an environment for addressing issues honestly, or making managers a role model in dealing with integrity - integrity concerns us all. Our ongoing employee surveys also show this. The feedback is honest and constructive, but overall it shows that we are on the right track. Only with open feedback we can further improve our culture at Daimler.
In 2018, the "Next Generation Integrity" initiative was also focused on the issue of "How do our employees think?": We set up a global, cross-divisional and cross-divisional swarm of 20 colleagues. The key question in the swarm was: How can we make integrity even more comprehensible to everyone in the company? The results were integrated into the Integrity Code in 2019 and can be found in our Corporate Principles, for example. It is important to us that such decisions are not just dictated from top to bottom. Only in this way is it possible.
*Golden rule: "Treat others as you want to be treated by them.”
I trust Daimler because ...
"... he has been a reliable employer for me for many years, as he makes many things possible, such as the compatibility of family and career through flexible part-time and job-sharing models, the protection of employees during the Corona pandemic, and the measurement and the pay relevance of integrity.“
For me, integrity shows itself ...
"... in our daily interaction with each other and in the respect we show each other. Also and especially when discussions become heated.“
When I'm not working, then ...
"... I spend time with my husband and children.“