PROUT EMPLOYER Deutsche Bahn
“I am convinced that we need the potential of this diversity more than ever to develop the innovative strength that is required today and to perform better as a company.”
Martin Seiler has been the member of Deutsche Bahn AG’s management board with responsibility for human resources and legal affairs since 1 January 2018. Previously, he held a variety of HR positions at Deutsche Telekom, most recently director of human resources and industrial relations in 2015. In that role, he was responsible for 70,000 employees at Telekom Deutschland. As management spokesperson for Telekom Training, he was responsible for all trainees and cooperative education students in the group. He started his career at Deutsche Post in Baden-Baden in 1980. After working in different parts of the company, including for the German Postal Workers Union – which would later merge into ver.di, the German United Services Trade Union – where he also served as a member of the European Commission’s Social Dialogue, Martin Seiler took on various management positions at Deutsche Post in Bonn from 2003 onwards.
Mr Seiler, in January 2018 you took up your new role, Deutsche Bahn AG’s management board member responsible for HR. A strong focus of your current activities is on recruiting. To what extent do you think LGBT*IQ talent in particular could benefit from this?
Martin Seiler: It’s true that our recruitment is currently at a record level: in the past year alone, we welcomed more than 24,000 employees to the group. These are new colleagues who add to the great diversity of our workforce in all respects: age, ethnic origin, religion, gender as well as sexual orientation. We value this diversity and believe that it enriches our company. Our current employer campaign is called “Welcome, you fit in well” and represents exactly this openness. All motivated applicants are very welcome, irrespective of their sexual orientation, gender identity and ethnic origin.
What activities has Deutsche Bahn offered so far relating to LGBT*IQ in the workplace?
Martin Seiler: There a lots of examples. For instance, we were a pioneer in recognising registered partnerships: all arrangements regarding benefits for spouses of our employees (e.g. travel benefits, exemption arrangements and allowances) have also been applied to registered partners. We concluded an anti-discrimination agreement with the works council that covers both everyday cooperation and career opportunities. Our aim is to have a corporate culture in which homophobia and transphobia do not exist. That’s why I am very proud that DB employees are among Germany’s Top 100 Out Executives. We support our internal LGBT employee network “railbow” and are also active outside the company: we’ve taken part in the CSD parades for years and last year we decorated Berlin main station for the first time with flags during Pride Week.
“As a group comprising 200,000 employees in Germany alone, we have been championing equal opportunities, appreciation and respect for many years, and as the member of the management board for human resources and legal affairs, I am constantly impressed by the diversity of our workforce.”
Deutsche Bahn is part of the PROUT EMPLOYER cooperation. In your view, what are the objectives pursued by Deutsche Bahn with this cooperation?
Martin Seiler: Being a member of PROUT AT WORK enables us to provide specific and practical support to our employees if they decide to come out at work or with networking. We want to put them at ease, give them the chance to talk to each other and encourage them to tell us when something isn’t working so well. The numerous events and publications of PROUT AT WORK also enable us to expand our expertise relating to LGBTIQ issues in the workplace and spread new impetus within DB.
Your strong focus on HR and recruitment indicates that your colleagues have a special importance to you. To what extent are equal opportunities for LGBT*IQ people also a matter close to your heart?
Martin Seiler: As a group comprising 200,000 employees in Germany alone, we have been championing equal opportunities, appreciation and respect for many years, and as the member of the management board for human resources and legal affairs, I am constantly impressed by the diversity of our workforce. I am convinced that we need the potential of this diversity more than ever to develop the innovative strength that is required today and to perform better as a company. Last but not least, our customers benefit from an open, appreciative culture in which employees do not hide their sexual orientation and feel comfortable in their workplace.