Research shows that diversity brings competitive advantage to an organization, from increased profitability and creativity to stronger governance and better problem-solving abilities. For the individual, an inclusive environment is where everyone is treated with equal respect and dignity to develop oneself and one's career.
Inclusion should be a given driver in any organization. In practice, however, cultivating a truly inclusive environment requires continuous effort and commitment. As a part of our work to make Tieto more inclusive, we launched a Bias training aimed at expanding awareness for unconscious bias that can occur, for example, when leading teams and recruiting new staff.
Tools to manage thoughts
Biases are influenced by our environment and experiences, and they can be difficult to eliminate. One solution to minimize their effects is to be aware of the biases one may have or may encounter. We believe that training is an important tool for increased awareness.
"The training opens your eyes and changes ways of thinking," says Jedrzej Okonowski, Head of Delivery unit Poland, BU Radio in Tieto. “For instance, for me it became visible how tough it can be for a person to come into a an already formed team, where members are very much alike and have worked together for a long time. Also, I realized how important it is for us leaders to inform, encourage and create a safe space for people to speak up, when they don't feel fairly treated or respected.
"As leaders, it's our duty to observe if something is not right in the team and then be proactive about it. This is something that I try to make my managers more aware of."
Okonowski is located in Poland and manages a team of about 200 employees. In addition, he is a manager for a Tieto site of approximately 350 people. A big part of his daily job is to coach and encourage people and team work.
“When leaders lead by example, the organization will follow,” Okonowski says. “Together, we create an inclusive workplace. As we are competing for the best talent, an inclusive culture is a clear advantage. I am confident that our work with inclusion and diversity bring benefits beyond salary levels, it gives us something special to offer to our existing and potential employees. By creating a safe environment where everyone feels included and respected, we build competitive advantage both in terms of recruitment and retention.”
Bias training at Tieto started out small-scale, and has been continuously growing. Inclusive teams bring benefits to both people and businesses. Inclusion boosts engagements and creates competitive advantage. In 2019 we initiated a bias training for people in decision-making position at Tieto. Inclusion – a business driver that benefits the people developed through co-creation and feedback from internal stakeholders.
We launched the Bias training first in Sweden, making it mandatory for all people managers. From there, it has grown organically to become mandatory for all the leaders in the global business Product Development Services, including some other roles such as scrum masters and project leaders. In some sites in Sweden there have been open sessions for all employees who are interested in joining the training. By end of 2019, approximately 650 employees had participated the Tieto's Bias training (excluding Tieto India where our Bias training is adapted).
Learn more on our work in ethical culture in our annual report, available here. Visit also our career pages at tietoevry.com/careers/