PROUT EMPLOYER Kantar
“It’s great to see that our employee groups on gender and LGBT* topics have sparked a new dialogue beyond specialist teams.”
Dr Stefan Stumpp became CEO of the Insights Division Germany at Kantar in 2016 and has been with the company (formerly TNS Infratest) in various roles for a total of almost 20 years. A major focus of his work has been product and price research in the automotive sector – a subject he is personally passionate about. Other topics that are close to his heart are the sensitive structuring and management of change processes required in a constantly evolving company and the resulting cultural change. After studying business, Stefan Stumpp was an employee of the chair of marketing at the University of Augsburg and gained a doctorate there.
Mr. Stumpp, as CEO, you are a bridge between your company’s goals and your employees. What experiences regarding equal opportunities for LGBT*IQ people have you had to date in your role?
Stefan Stumpp: We are a market/social research company as well as a marketing consultancy and our mission is “Understand People – Inspire Growth”. This goal is a very fitting aspiration for our customers: we help them understand how their own customers, employees and stakeholders “tick”. To be able to achieve this effectively, however, we must understand people’s diversity and life plans and integrate them adequately into our studies and recommendations for companies. Therefore, our motto fits perfectly with the goals we have set for our staff development. Over and above our commitment to LGBT* topics, this gives us a greater understanding of how to integrate all types of diversity. This has made us better advisors for our customers.
Diversity has long been a topic in large companies. How are your staff responding to the fact that the focus is now being placed on LGBT*IQ?
Stefan Stumpp: We, too, have been aiming to increase the diversity of our team for many years. We take a holistic approach to the topic because equal opportunities are not just a question of gender, sexual orientation or background. As a knowledge-based company, it’s important to us that our employees can put their whole personalities into their work – this helps us leverage their full creative potential. Our colleagues at all our offices are responding very positively and with interest to the activities of our employee resource group “Pride@Kantar”. The group is open to all colleagues – whether they define themselves as LGBT* or not – and is active at our offices in Germany and worldwide. It is supported by our Inclusion & Diversity Committee and our staff development team. The group explains why it’s relevant to talk about LGBT* topics in the world of work, calls for debate – also about our policies and corporate stances – and, conversely, makes Kantar visible in the LGBT* world. It’s great to see that our employee groups on gender and LGBT* topics have sparked a new dialogue beyond specialist teams.
“Precisely in such crises, diversity gives us an advantage because looking at these situations from more angles will allow us to deal with them much more creatively.”
Kantar has been a PROUT EMPLOYER since 2019. What prompted you to focus on LGBT*IQ diversity yourselves?
Stefan Stumpp: To begin with, our diversity initiatives focused on balancing work and family life and therefore on equal opportunities between the sexes. We began a dialogue with all our employees on this subject and attempted to identify unconscious patterns of thinking. However, we quickly realised that diversity encompasses many more aspects. This prompted us to also start addressing quite specifically sexual orientation and gender identity as another key topic.
What do you think are the challenges and the opportunities with regard to LGBT*IQ diversity in your company in the coming years?
Stefan Stumpp: Within the company, we have created tremendous enthusiasm and optimism around the topic of diversity – and not just in Germany: after all, we are a global group with 30,000 employees. We have only just started to interconnect our employee resource groups and we had big plans for 2020 – especially for our work with the CSDs in Germany. The Covid crisis and its economic effects led not only to the cancellation of the CSDs. Many companies are first of all having to deal with the direct economic consequences of Covid-19. The challenge is definitely to prevent people’s attention from being diverted from staff development topics. A lot of commitment comes directly from our teams and we must ensure that we can maintain this motivation even in these unusual times. Precisely in such crises, diversity gives us an advantage because looking at these situations from more angles will allow us to deal with them much more creatively. Kantar understands people – how they think, feel, assess, consume or choose – like almost no other company.
How would you use your knowledge to make other companies understand the added value and your commitment to LGBT*IQ diversity?
Stefan Stumpp: Many of our customers – a large number of which are powerful brands – are faced with the question of how they can incorporate diversity into their advertising and communication and how they can become more inclusive. Some companies stick rainbow flags to the front doors of their branches/stores; others use CSDs for sponsoring or recruiting purposes: for many brands, the question of their stance – how they position themselves on issues of equality in society – has become an important subject. This includes how they deal with LGBT* topics. That’s why the inclusion of LGBT* topics in media, communication and customer touchpoints is also an area that we research and advise on, and in which we are learning not only ourselves how to improve, but can also help our customers do the same.