Ibeo stands for interculturality and internationality. Taking a closer look at the numbers shows that this sentence is not just paying lip service. More than 90 employees with a migration background from over 25 countries work at Ibeo to bring autonomous driving to life. Ibeos staff strongly believes that exchanges between cultures lead to new perspectives, solutions and friendships. This article will show you how diversity and economic success are related and introduce you to two projects through which Ibeo is helping its international employees to integrate themselves in German culture.
Banishing prejudice and welcoming all cultures with open arms is any companies moral duty. However, a study by McKinsey, which examined the relationship between diversity and the success of companies, has shown that diversity is also desirable for economic reasons . Among the 366 companies examined, those with a pronounced diversity had a 35% higher probability of an above-average ROI. This correlation was statistically significant. Additionally, a positive effect of diversity on the problem-solving ability of teams could be found.
„Ethnically and gender-diverse top teams offer companies more problem-solving tools,
broader thinking, and better solutions” (McKinsey, 2015, S. 12).
Ibeos employees come from over 25 countries, from all corners of the world and develops new ideas and innovative solutions every day. However, companies should not only focus on celebrating their diversity, but also encourage integration. In the following, two projects at Ibeo which help international employees to get to know the German language and culture will be presented.
Learning German through dialogues with colleagues
India, Brazil, Romania, Syria and China are just a few of the countries that the international workforce at Ibeo originates from. In order to offer international employees a platform for exchange, joint improvement of their language skills, and to get to know each other, the Dialog in Deutsch was founded, which literally translates to “Dialogue in German”. The meetings take place once a week and are aimed at all international employees who want to improve their German. They talk about experiences, ideas, German culture, or everyday things. Through these relaxed meetings, attendees get to know new words, network with each other, and have fun! After all, the best way to learn a language is through practical experience and contact with other learners.
There are two groups that meet online once a week. The first group is designed for advanced learners at B1 level, while the second group is tailored for learners at A1 / A2 level. The meetings have no permanent participants. Rather, it is an open virtual event that anyone who has some time to spare can join. Especially in times of mobile work, these meetings offer employees an additional opportunity for much needed social exchange.
The International Buddy Project
German culture is very peculiar. In hardly any other country, you will get confronted with such a mass of bureaucracy, forms and applications. Particularly people from abroad, who don’t know the German system and language, often have difficulties in finding their entrance to the culture. Ibeo took on this problem at the end of 2020 and launched the International Buddy Project. Through the project, every new international employee will be assigned an experienced employee, their International Buddy. The International Buddy serves as a social contact and helps them not only with questions regarding Ibeo, but also with hurdles that go beyond the workplace, such as looking for an apartment before they move to Germany or applying for a visa. After the new employee has arrived at Ibeo, the International Buddy continues to be at their side, listens, helps them and accompanies their first few weeks in the company. This work is entirely voluntary. The International Buddies firstly do their job at Ibeo and then use their free time to help their international protégés. Especially colleagues who knew the challenge of a new culture from their own experience quickly got in touch with the project. They don't do it out of self-interest, but because they simply want to help their new colleagues get to know Ibeo and become part of the company.
Collaboration begins with a common language, mutual respect and knowledge of the other person's culture. Through the Dialog in Deutsch and the International Buddy Project, Ibeo is working to create a diverse and, at the same time, integrative workplace in which every employee feels at home regardless of their origin.
Many of Ibeo’s employees have amazing résumés and have lived and worked in different cultures. What they have in common, however, is their life’s path leading them to Ibeo. In the following months, some of them will be introduced to you in a new series named Faces of Ibeo. Every episode will portrait one international colleague, tell their story and how their decisions eventually led them to Ibeo. Stay tuned! Follow Ibeo’s social media channels and subscribe to the newsletter if you don't want to miss out on this.
 Hunt, V., Layton, D. & Prince, S. (02.02.2015). Diversity Matters.
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