At Vincit, we’re working hard to improve diversity. We’ve been on this journey for about a year now, during which time we’ve discovered some great ways of promoting diversity in the workplace. In this post, I’ll provide five perspectives on this topic. Read on to discover whether they could help your business as well.
1) Know where you stand and make the decision to change
Everything starts with knowing where you stand now. For example, at Vincit we began our transformation by making competitor comparisons, surveying the market, and having our management commit to promoting the idea of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) across the company.
Our commitment to diversity is reflected in our first ever sustainability and corporate responsibility strategy. One of our goals is to increase our share of women and gender minorities to 30% by 2025. At the moment, women make up only 22% of our employees, meaning we really have our work cut out for us.
Generally speaking, I think that the status quo shouldn’t ever be considered an embarrassment but merely as a starting point. Recognizing the state of things is a prerequisite for change.
We want every Vincit employee to feel welcome as they are. We want to increase diversity at Vincit from a broad perspective such as nationality, gender, age, educational background and family status. We aim to increase the share of women and other gender minorities to 30% by 2025 and broaden the cultural diversity at Vincit.
(Vincit’s corporate responsibility strategy)
2) Begin your journey with small steps
The journey towards a more diverse work community requires small steps that eventually amount to a significant impact.
In the spring of 2022, we offered training in diversity, equity and inclusion to the entire company with the help of DEI consultant Sara Salmani. The training sessions are still available to all employees, and they also form part of the onboarding process for new Vincitizens. The training also gave rise to a DEI reading circle, in which people interested in the topic read and discuss DEI-related books.
Our company Slack also has a channel for discussing diversity-related matters. So far, we’ve tackled topics such as why we find diversity important, shared interesting links, and debated whether we should set numeric goals for diversity. These Slack discussions have also evolved into group meetings on our employees’ initiative. Our offices in Finland have already organized several workshops where we’ve discussed what we can do to make our operations more diverse.
My feeling is that this what surfaced now is a huge possibility for us as a community to really hone the dialogue part here. If we really manage to walk that talk some day, I think we could then proudly say that we have achieved something really important. This is active work that needs energy, resources and time (and a plethora of understanding). Hence, my personal wish is that we could find a time and space for live meeting(s) and dialogue(s) where all people interested could be heard and seen in their thinking and feelings. And after that type of a meeting, my hope is the participant would've learned something new about its own and other's thinking as well.
(Message by an expert on Slack)
3) Set clear numeric goals
So, what about those numeric goals, then? Why should you set them?
Throughout our 15 years of existence, Vincit has been a company of top experts and we’re known for hiring the best of the best. This is one principle we’ll never abandon and we’ll continue to hire only the best talents for each vacancy, even though we’ve now set ourselves a numeric goal for diversity.
That means we need to make an effort to ensure that the experts who apply for our positions are more diverse than before. To do this, we’re keeping an eye on the language and tone we use when talking about our work, thinking about which features of our culture and management we want to highlight, and paying attention to the career stories we promote. Our goal is to have as wide a group of applicants as possible so that we can truly discover the best talents.
Carefully defined and transparently set numeric goals help us track the change process. Even more importantly, they allow us to take necessary action in order to achieve our objective. Expressing our goals aloud sends a clear message not only to our current employees but also our future ones: we care about diversity!
Personally, I like to make sure that various genders and nationalities are represented in my own team. In my steering group, the share of women is 50%, but only 11% of the employees of the entire business segment come from outside Finland. This is why we’ve started publishing our job postings in English and recruiting talents from abroad for all our roles – in the end, we don’t care whether our expert lives in Finland or on Fiji.
77% are Male
22% of our people are Female
21% are in Tampere
6% Like gym
5% Like Reading
(A dashboard a person sees as they log in to our HR system)
4) Remember your social responsibility
People in the technology sector often talk about the fact that there simply aren’t enough women talents available for every job. Instead of merely complaining about it, there are several things that can be done to slowly but surely remedy the situation. To give one example, the share of women studying technology in Finland in various higher education institutions has increased from 25% to approximately 35% since 2015 thanks to the increased attention paid to the issue across the industry.
Women leaders need support in promoting their career stories through various channels, such as company blogs, visiting lectures, networks for women leaders, and social media profiles. I’ve set myself a personal goal of making 20 percent of my content diversity related.
We are active in several communities that promote diversity, including Women in Tech and the Mimmit koodaa program, which aims to increase gender equality in the Finnish software industry. One of Vincit’s most exciting clients is Chief, an American network of women in leadership, which we partner with in digital development.
It’s important to remember that forums exist. Promoting equality is a matter of finding them and using them to your advantage.
5) Psychological safety is everything
Talking about diversity and making changes puts a lot of pressure on a company’s culture. Organizations uphold unconscious behavioral models, and the discussion environment may not always be safe for all. That’s why it’s good to give some thought to the type and tone of conversations taking place in the company as well as to recognize any existing behavioral models. Identifying and fixing any issues should always be done with the help of representatives of the relevant minorities.
Ultimately, this is also a question of leadership: how can managers and people talents be ushered towards building more diverse policies and culture? However, change doesn’t take place through leadership alone. Instead, diversity requires the joint input of all the members of the work community.
Meet us to discuss more
You can meet Vincit at the Women in Tech event on Tuesday, October 25. Join us to discuss how diversity can be promoted through everyday actions and find out more about Vincit’s career opportunities. For every visitor we get, we’ll give one euro to a campaign supporting girls’ digital skills training, so come and meet us at our stand and make a difference!
If you’re as passionate about diversity as I am, I’d be more than happy to connect with you on LinkedIn as well. Feel free to send me a connection request – I’d love to hear from you!