Ulm is a city located in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Hosting a university and many small and medium sized companies, it is an attractive place for skilled professionals, including international experts. This led to high immigration numbers and a very diverse and international community.
However, the city administration employees were not representative of the diversity of the citizens. And the services the administration provided did not address all people equally well. The reasons for this included unwanted existing barriers for people with diverse backgrounds – be it due to their origin, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, or age.
To address these issues, a new subject group was formed in July 2020, the “Equal Opportunities and Diversity Team”. Equal opportunity and inclusion commissioners, the International City coordination office, and the Youth Participation were brought together to develop a diversity concept that helps to reduce barriers, improves living together, and ensures equal opportunities for everyone. In October 2020, Ulm reached out to Ramboll to guide the team through the process.
Bringing the people to the centre
Diversity is a vague term that can be understood in many ways. On top of that, it is also a very sensitive topic. Consequently, an up-to-date diversity concept calls for a holistic approach that covers multiple dimensions of diversity and involves all stakeholders – decision makers and citizens alike.
To achieve this, Ramboll first established a common understanding of the term diversity and defined key objectives for the concept in the team. Then working groups were formed to further develop concrete measures for their focus areas. In these groups, a variety of people from the administration and civil society were involved, including the marginalized groups affected by the barriers and disadvantages.
Working closely with the team, Ramboll then used the accumulated perspectives, ideas, perceptions, and needs to develop a concept with clear goals, measures, and a plan for what to achieve by 2030. This concept now functions as a guideline for Ulm and provides the necessary tools to conduct a diversity check for their recruiting and services.
Not only cities benefit from up-to-date diversity concepts. We conducted a similar diversity analysis for the Goethe-Institute in a worldwide setting.
If you like to know more about the Ulm or Goethe-Institute project and further activities, reach out to our experts Timon Perabo and Yasemin Kotra.