I've spent a lot of time trying to work out how to really understand the challenges faced by minorities. This requires the curiosity to learn more and an interest in meeting new people – as well as courage and guts. Not everyone agrees about the benefits of diversity – or even the necessity of equal treatment. Still, I believe it's important to promote justice and fairness in my own sphere of influence. It feels rewarding to work in a company that acknowledges the need for diversity and is ready to identify the obstacles to achieve it. Our journey has only just begun, but I do hope this important topic doesn't leave anyone cold.
Business advantages and social responsibility
Social responsibility is an important consideration in the development of diversity, equality and inclusion, but in business, the starting point for these efforts has to lie elsewhere. To achieve lasting change, we need to really understand the benefits of a diverse workplace community and be prepared to question conventional thought patterns. We're not talking about charity or development projects, but real business benefits with a social responsibility dimension: doing the right thing, removing obstacles to the career development of people representing diversity and creating favourable conditions for every employee's wellbeing.
The transition to a more equal workplace calls for courage to shake things up, challenge customary ways of doing things and grasp the power of diversity. It's important to identify your own privileges and understand that equal opportunities may not be true for everyone. Even if you haven't experienced discrimination or challenges based on your age or ethnic background, it doesn't mean someone else hasn't.
Demographic change is constant in society. How can companies ensure their future attractiveness as employers? How can we improve the appeal of different industry sectors? How do we meet the needs of international customers? Studies indicate that teams of people from different backgrounds are better at innovating. Companies that nurture diversity are more successful in the long run. I believe this alone is sufficient.
At Metsä Group, our vision of Metsä For All stands for diversity, equality and inclusion. We've also specified the focal areas of development in this respect. To promote change, we must be honest about where we are right now. Follow Metsä Group's path towards the achievement of the Metsä For All vision.
The following list offers useful tips for anyone interested in developing equality and inclusion. After all, the change starts with me.
- Examine your prejudices and ask for feedback.
- Ensure everyone gets heard.
- Whenever you react strongly (positively or negatively), ask yourself why.
- Ask questions instead of relying on assumptions.
- Address misunderstandings and resolve disputes.
- Reflect on your commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion and tell others about it.