Sustainable Company Awards 2022

Diversity and inclusion initiative of the year: Babbel

Babbel's focus on 'intersectionality' helped the language learning service win Diversity and inclusion initiative of the year.

The German e-learning platform created diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) guidelines to demonstrate a "shared understanding of what we mean, as a company, when we talk about notions such as identity, power, privilege, bias and culture".

Babbel said that, as a direct result, its workforce placed an increased emphasis on hiring full-time and freelance talents (actors, voice actors, podcast guests, consultants, etc.) with knowledge and expertise outside of their main team; as well as avoiding stereotypes in their products and marketing, in favour of more "challenging and nuanced cultural representation".

Two documents were given to every employee to "complexify" their understanding of DE&I, such as learning new identity markers and how these cross over at intersections, including gender, race, disability, socioeconomic status, age and religious affiliation.

To create the guidelines, Babbel created a core group with delegates from each main content creation team and a taskforce of over 20 internal company reviewers. It then rolled out the guidelines to each team individually and to the whole company in a townhall meeting.

Thomas Liano, product marketing manager & DE&I ambassador lead at Babbel, said: "The guidelines allowed us to have conversations that we couldn't really have before and put a name to something that could be uneasy to explain...for example, it can be very hard to talk to a content creator and say 'this doesn't feel right, but I can't really tell you why'. The guidelines have helped give us the right tools for more challenging conversations."