February 9, 2018

The Roundup: a case for diversity, and a 28-hour week for some German workers

This week, reasons diverse companies may be more innovative, German workers win more work-life balance, and employees tap commuter benefits for ride-sharing.

New research links a diverse workforce with innovation

New research published in the journal Financial Management supports the idea that diversity makes companies more innovative and successful. The study looked at how 3,000 publicly-traded companies performed between 2001 and 2014 across nine measures of diversity. The research found that companies fulfilling all nine positive diversity requirements performed better, with more new product announcements in any given year, and greater resilience during the 2008 financial crisis.

Richard Warr, co-author of the research and professor of finance at North Carolina State University, explained in FastCompany three reasons why more diverse companies may be more innovative.

First, diverse teams have a broader range of interests and experiences, which is advantageous for problem-solving and understanding needs of potential customers. Second, diverse companies attract and retain diverse talent. And third, diverse companies become appealing not only to diverse talent, but also to people who want to work for “more enlightened organizations.”

Related: How employers can promote diversity and inclusion at work

German industrial workers win right to 28-hour work week

Germany’s biggest trade union representing metal and engineering workers, IG Metall, has struck a deal with the employers’ federation, Sudwestmetall. The deal gives industrial employees the right to reduce their weekly hours from 35 hours to 28 hours for up to two years to look after their families. The ability to care for children, or elderly or sick relatives, was a key demand by IG Metall.

IG Metall leader Jorg Hofmann said, “The agreement is a milestone on the way to a modern, self-determined world of work.”

According to the BBC, the deal covers almost one million workers in Baden-Wurttemberg state, and could be extended to the 3.9 million workers in Germany’s industrial sector. In return for employees’ ability to reduce their weekly hours, employers won the right to offer 40-hour work weeks (up from the standard 35) to individuals willing to work more.

The agreement highlights the fact that employees want to blend work and life, and have time to care for their families, no matter the company or industry in which they work. As noted by Quartz,

The German deal is also noteworthy because it represents younger generations’ shifting attitudes toward work, according to the Financial Times. “More and more people have periods in their lives when they want to work less, for example to look after elderly relatives, or to take a sabbatical or unpaid leave,” Hanna Schwander, professor of public policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, told the paper.

Related: Three strategies to support work-life blending

Commuter benefits for ride-sharing: the new standard work perk?

Lyft recently expanded its commuter benefits to all 18 cities in the U.S. in which Lyft Line operates. This means that commuters can pay for shared rides on Lyft Line using their commuter benefits (the benefit is only available through select providers). 

Uber, too, lets commuters with eligible benefits pay for uberPOOL rides, an option the company first launched in 2016.

This indicates that transportation services are getting creative to appeal to changing consumer needs, and the added incentive for employees of being able to tap their commuter benefits definitely helps.

This also signals that employers should be aware of a possible shift in how employees may want to use their commuter benefits going forward, and the types of programs employees may be looking for.

Related: Six work perks and benefits employees really want


Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

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