Interview with Johannes Koch, CEO Germany, Senior Vice President DACH, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

FKi 2019 Announcement of results on 6 March 2020

For the seventh time in a row, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is among the top 2 in the women’s career index. We spoke with Johannes Koch about gender diversity in the digital change, barriers and success factors in promoting women’s careers.

Barbara Lutz: One of your corporate principles is: we want to be unconditionally  inclusive. What does that mean, and how does it manifest itself in the company? Johannes Koch: In essence, it’s about involving people and ideas that are different – different from the conventional, different from the established, different from what you’ve always done. This is particularly vital in the digital transformation, because every organisation has to reinvent itself to a certain extent. In order for this to succeed, a genuine sense of belonging must be created for people who have different biographies, genders, attitudes, qualifications, etc. And you have to make sure that everyone has the same opportunities to develop. Only then can diversity have its effect.

The promotion of women’s careers is a lever to strengthen our organisation’s ability to change, expand our range of competencies and establish an inclusive management style.

Barbara Lutz: What exactly do you mean by that? Johannes Koch: What you often forget is that the digital transformation is not only about new, groundbreaking technologies, but above all about cultural renewal – a different way of developing products, a different way of working together, of deciding, of doing business, etc. The ability to change is becoming a critical success factor, and skills such as communication, inclusive leadership and empathy, are becoming more important. Diversity in the workforce is a prerequisite for this, and the largest and most important part of this is gender diversity, because this is where everyone has the greatest need to catch up.

Barbara Lutz: We often hear, especially in IT or technology, that women do not exist – HPE has a (for Germany) remarkably high proportion of women – how does this work? Johannes Koch: Since its foundation, Hewlett Packard Enterprise has been a company with a very open corporate culture based on trust, which enables a high degree of flexibility. This is very attractive for women. We also have the consistency and staying power to ensure that women not only arrive but stay. We manage and control the promotion of women’s careers like any other business priority. And we have recognised that, above all, we need to initiate a change in mindset. Unconscious bias is the biggest barrier to promoting women’s careers. We are taking a systematic approach to removing this barrier.

Barbara Lutz: When would you say are the best conditions for the company and the women working there have been achieved? Johannes Koch: When we no longer have to talk about promoting women’s careers.

Barbara Lutz: Many thanks for the interview!

Contact: Eva Faenger, Inclusion & Diversity DACH; Patrik Edlund, Press Spokesperson