Have you ever wondered what your head of department really thinks when it comes to Diversity and Inclusion? Are they really for it? Or just ticking a box?
Well, the SI REU/EPS/BP D&I UK team wanted to know. So, for each quarter you will hear from a different head of department. Last quarter was with Katrin Ziesig and you can read here interview here, and the next one will be with Faye Bowser.
For this interview, I am pleased to introduce Ville Paetynen, he was Head of North Branch for Siemens Smart Infrastructure Regional Solutions and Services Europe when the interview was conducted but has now moved on and has a role as a general manager in the REU Field Management Team. He’s passionate about digital transformation, focusing on integrated solutions and data-driven services.
Before we committed to booking any interviews with the Heads within REU, EPS & BP UK, the D&I team came together to determine 11 questions which will be the basis of each interview. So, let’s get to it.
1. What’s your perspective on how you think, we as a division, are doing when it comes to Diversity and Inclusion?
Not bad at all but it’s an ongoing process.
I feel that the basic awareness is in place. The culture in the UK as well as at Siemens is definitely supporting diversity which is a great starting point. So, the fundamentals of diversity are there, but it’s the fundamentals for inclusion and what comes after that I’m not so sure about. What I do see is that the next major step will be focusing more on inclusion, belonging, trust as a whole rather than just individually.
2. What is it that personally drives you to work on progressing Diversity and Inclusion into the workplace?
I have seen both ends of diversity and inclusion spectrum and because of that I truly believe in the benefits of D&I.
For example, I spent the first 19 years of my life in a small town in Finland which had a very non-diverse environment. Nice place by the way and I am glad I grew up over there.
After the 19 years I did my military service, then moved to Helsinki to start my studies. That already seemingly small move started to open my eyes to all types of diversity topics. From my point of view, the real awakening happened when I was working in Toronto, Canada. Firstly, because it’s one of the most multicultural cities on this planet, and secondly it made me realise why I am as I am, why my attitudes and thinking were maybe a bit limited due to my background from a small close-knit community.
Over the years I have been involved in competitive team sports, in different countries that made me realise the importance of inclusion and how you as a team create a culture of inclusion and how that helps improve the team’s performance.
3. Why invest in Diversity and Inclusion as a business in REU?
Externally we, as in Siemens, need to market ourselves and show that we are a company which takes D&I very seriously because that encourages more people to apply and then hopefully increase our diversity and performance in the future.
Internally diversity and specifically inclusion will help us perform better and will also allow us to be more creative.
4. The company is in the process of creating an EDI (Equality, Diversity, Inclusion) standard so that each division can be measured on where they are when it comes to D&I. What are your thoughts on this?
My first point would be to ask the question of what would this standard measure? Is it a high-level overview of Diversity and Inclusion such as age, gender, race? Or are there deeper meanings KPIs? Also is it just measuring diversity?
My second point would be to ask how does measuring this aspect help us reach our goals? What is the primary goal?
There is so much more to diversity than just that top level. But I feel that yes this is great but there seems to be lots of diversity KPIs rather than for inclusion. Which is something to think about.
5. Any advice for the leaders and Senior Management Team in the REU business?
At the end of last calendar year, the leaders and senior management undertook conscious inclusion training, which was really good by the way. The organiser did well in getting engagement from everyone even in a digital setting. So, based on that and how I saw my colleagues in the senior management team behaving and reacting to those type of scenarios, I think that we are in a really good starting position and in that way, there is no clear advice to give to my colleagues.
However, I would then encourage everyone of us to keep challenging ourselves and to make sure we get the best from our teams through inclusion. By making all team members feel that they belong and that they are part of something great.
6. What is the one thing every REU employee should understand about D&I?
Well, in my mind I approach these separately.
On one side you have diversity and it’s so important to understand that there is so much more to diversity than what you can see like gender, race, age, etc. To me, it’s the deeper side to diversity, the person’s character, experiences that’s actually more interesting.
Once you get that deeper understanding of a person’s diversity then inclusion is the activity and what we do with that diversity.
7. In your opinion what does good D&I look like?
Following on from the previous question it is inclusion! Once we have got a good level of diversity, inclusion is the next key step. I would expect that all employees would have inclusive mindset and that it is fully embedded in the culture of the company, its processes and practices. Because by having this builds up our trust. That is what we fundamentally want, a company we can trust to allow us to be ourselves and feel part of a family that doesn’t judge.
8. Do you have any experience and advice you would like to share, on how we can get everyone onboard/ on to the same boat when it comes to D&I?
All our employees should first understand that each of them are allowed to be unique and open. Plus, by having this they should then hopefully feel belongingness. Not only by being a member of the team or organisation but by being an integral part of the entire system.
Due to the recent changes which our organisation went through the focus has been more in the uniqueness. I am confident that we will now be able to move more towards belonginess and building trust across the whole organisation.
From our North Branch point of view though, I can say that I am really proud of the trust level we have already achieved, and I dare to say that we have done a lot right when it comes to inclusion. In our challenging environment, without that high level of trust it would be almost impossible to lead, manage and operate on a daily basis.
9. In an ideal future where do you see us as a company/division with regard to D&I? What would be the biggest hurdles we would have overcome and in what order?
In an ideal future D&I would be embedded in our process, practices and culture. Basically, it would be at a point where it’s just second nature to us.
I feel that the biggest hurdle we would have to overcome would be properly understanding and defining what we really want to achieve for diversity and inclusion. How can we ask the right questions to understand that deeper level of diversity that we would need in our organisation?
10. After hearing about what is planned from the survey outcome where do you think we should be focusing our efforts, and how will you support?
I think that it’s always good to increase awareness in the organisation and I think this is something we should focus our efforts in the near future. From my point of view when people hear the word diversity, they automatically assume certain boxes, and they only think of what they know or what they see on the surface. So, it’s great to expand everyone’s knowledge and their concept of diversity.
But for me the next part, the key part, is in inclusion and our activities. How do we create and push everyone to live with a more inclusive mindset? Because that’s’ where the benefits come from. Diversity is the enabler whereas inclusion is the activity.
11. Where would you like to see REUs D&I push for the next 12 months?
We should do more inclusive things with people. I would be eager to see what the REUs D&I KPI’s are telling us compared to last year. However, before determining this and reviewing the existing KPIs, the next step would be to ask ourselves what it is that we actually want to achieve? What’s important to us as an organisation? Once we know that we can review the existing KPIs and see if they encompass what we want. If they don’t then we should adjust those KPIs accordingly and make sure we measure those too.
Siemens Senior Management have been talking a lot about purpose. It’s almost like the final outcome for all of this. It’s diversity, it’s inclusion, it’s this uniqueness, the belongingness and trust which are all building blocks for our purpose.
So, what we’ve been discussing today is basically the building blocks to achieve the purpose, and we should continue building. We are already on the right path.
Thank you so much Ville for taking the time and sharing your experiences and thoughts with us when it comes to diversity and inclusion. There are certainly some points in which people will resonate and agree with such that once we have got a good level of diversity, inclusion is the next key step. And what we fundamentally want, is a company we can trust to allow us to be ourselves and feel part of a family that doesn’t judge.