Executive Director of Business Leaders Forum and Diversity Charter in Slovakia, Ivana Vagaská, reflects the results of FIBS’ survey on Diversity and Inclusion in Finnish companies on the current state of D&I in Slovakia.
D&I gaining importance in both countries
Finland and my home country, Slovakia, have a lot in common. And not only when it comes to number of inhabitants, abundance of forests or passion for ice-hockey. When reading the results of FIBS D&I survey, I often caught myself thinking: Yes, exactly the same here!
Like in Finland, also in my country, D&I is definitely gaining importance and efforts are being made. But these efforts are rather individual actions than a complex strategic approach.
D&I managers are still a rarity
However, I was positively surprised that about 40 % of the surveyed Finnish companies have assigned a person responsible for D&I who has been allocated hours to promote it.
Yes, this means that 60 % of the companies just do not have anybody, but still… When it comes to institutionalization of this agenda in my country, you would hardly find a Diversity Manager (and I mean also part-time). The fingers of one hand are more than enough to count them all.
Advancing D&I rests on the shoulders of “engaged volunteers”
The most common situation is as follows – there is a global D&I policy and perhaps also D&I manager on global level. Slovak subsidiary just follows the “notes“ and does what is required (e.g. trainings on unconscious biases or a women support network).
But the fact is that this agenda is, in the vast majority of cases, something extra to regular workload of a passionate HR or communication manager. To put it bluntly, D&I agenda is driven mostly by engaged volunteers. And that is definitely not a sustainable approach.
Effective D&I work requires more resources and investment
I strongly agree with the conclusion of the FIBS survey – if sufficient resources are not allocated to the promotion of D&I, the desired effects will inevitably remain limited. If an agenda lacks an owner, we cannot expect a strategic approach. Hence, as many as 63 % companies in the FIBS survey estimate that the resources available for D&I will remain unchanged over the next five years.
Well, it is about time to realize that investment to the personnel who is capable to manage the very complex D&I “package“ is inevitable if we want to be able to face the challenges of shortage in labor market, polarization in society and general crisis of trust. And this applies for all companies and organizations regardless the country of their operation.
Executive Director of Business Leaders Forum & Diversity Charter in Slovakia
- FIBS represents EU Diversity Charter Platform in Finland
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