Supporting integration at the workplace

Project partner:  NETZWERK Unternehmen integrieren Flüchtlinge

Challenge: Design a concept to identify, empower and train apprentices to sensitize the employees of their company concerning intercultural misunderstandings taking into consideration their own life-story as refugees.


Numerous companies encounter a variety of challenges when integrating trainees with a refugee background, which are difficult to overcome without external support. The NETZWERK Unternehmen integrieren Flüchtlinge (Companies Integrating Refugees) takes up this problem and makes it its task to support companies in the training and employment of refugees.

NETZWERK Unternehmen integrieren Flüchtlinge is an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK e.V.). More than 2,800 companies, of which approx. 78% are small and medium-sized enterprises, have joined forces to promote the labor market integration of people with a refugee background. The student team of the HPI D-School was asked to expand this approach to deepen the will to integrate and create awareness for cultural backgrounds.

In the first step of the Design Thinking process, the student teams analyzed the specific needs of companies in the integration process. This investigation revealed that many offers for integration in the workplace already exist, but that they are confusing and difficult for companies to access. The students then used the iterative Design Thinking process to develop the Integrationskompass (Integration Compass). The Integrationskompass is a website that presents various integration offers for companies of different sizes and sectors and thus facilitates the transfer of knowledge between the network and companies.


NUiF Integrationskompass

During the development process, the student team conducted interviews with refugees, companies and representatives of the NETZWERK Unternehmen integrieren Flüchtlinge in order to align the Integrationskompass with the concerns of all groups of people involved. Trainees with a refugee background were always involved in the subsequent prototyping and testing phases. The resulting overview catalogue shows in a simple and structured way ideas, concepts and experiences on how integration can succeed in the workplace and is aimed at company owners, HR managers and employees.

Beyond the cooperation with the HPI D-School, NETZWERK Unternehmen integrieren Flüchtlinge hired two of the students to continue the project. Together they finalized the Integrationskompass and published the website to promote integration at workplace in the long term.