PROUT EMPLOYER CONTINENTAL
“We want to send a clearly visible signal internally and externally that the topic of equal opportunities is dear to us.”
Matthias Metzger is the current Human Resources Manager of the tyres business division at Continental in Hanover. After studying business in Stuttgart and Hamburg and completing an MBA in Newcastle, he began his career in 2002 as an international trainee at Daimler. In 2005, he moved to Continental, where he has held various management roles in HR in Germany and the USA, including Business Partner, Head of Shared Services NAFTA and Head of Corporate Talent Management & Organizational Development.
Mr Metzger, as head of HR, one of your duties is to act as a bridge between job applicants, employees and management. What experiences regarding equal opportunities for LGBT*IQ people have you had to date in your role?
Matthias Metzger: In recent years, our commitment to a diverse workforce has increased considerably, including with regard to LGBT*IQ people. For example, we have introduced a standardised testing procedure worldwide for our recruitment of salaried employees. This means that, even before the other documents are reviewed, an initial preselection takes place in which prejudices cannot influence our decisions. We want the best fit! In addition, we have held diversity workshops to raise awareness among all our managers worldwide and ask our staff for feedback on the issue of equal opportunities in our annual employee survey.
Having started its cooperation with us in 2019, Continental is one of the newer PROUT EMPLOYERS. What activities have there been to date in your company in relation to LGBT*IQ people in the workplace?
Matthias Metzger: The topic itself is not new to our company. However, in 2018, we decided to highlight it in a more proactive way. The first step was to hold regular meet-ups at our major locations in Regensburg and Hanover as well as regular participation in Sticks and Stones. For 2019, we are planning further activities, including a dialogue format with our HR board member Ariane Reinhart, Albert Kehrer and a number of LGBT*IQ colleagues, who will report on their experiences in the company.
“If, as a company, we can successfully address equal opportunities for LGBT*IQ people, which is a sensitive topic for many, we will have taken a major step towards real diversity in practice.”
What prompted you to become a PROUT EMPLOYER and what do you hope to gain from our joint cooperation?
Matthias Metzger: We want to send a clearly visible signal internally and externally that the topic of equal opportunities is dear to us. PROUT AT WORK provides a great framework for this because it increases visibility on the one hand while, on the other hand, offering different dialogue formats that allow us to learn from other companies.
You immediately agreed to an interview with us – thank you again! To what extent are equal opportunities for LGBT*IQ people a matter close to your heart?
Matthias Metzger: If, as a company, we can successfully address equal opportunities for LGBT*IQ people, which is a sensitive topic for many, we will have taken a major step towards real diversity in practice. This liberal spirit will then translate into acceptance of other lifestyles and working models, thus benefitting everyone. And it helps us to make taboo issues that are more pronounced in some countries easier to get to grips with. I firmly believe that every employee has the right to be successful – in their own unique way. And this requires a corporate culture that promotes and values diversity.
At Continental, you’ve really turned the application procedure on its head. One of the reasons you rely on diagnostics instead of CVs is that you want to promote fairness and diversity. To what extent do you think LGBTIQ applicants in particular could benefit from this?
Matthias Metzger: The replacement of our old application procedure is an initiative that many people worked on – and that also met with resistance and doubts to begin with. It has been scientifically proven than school and university grades are not a predictor of professional success, yet many human resources managers cling to them because they apparently make comparisons so easy. At Continental, we want to give all applicants a chance and ensure the best fit between the candidate and the job in each case. This can only be achieved through objective testing methods.