“When women do better, economies do better.”
Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank
Striving to achieve gender equality in the workplace is not just the right thing to do. Having a more gender-balanced employee base can also provide huge economic benefits, as there is a clear correlation between a company’s stronger gender balance in leadership and better financial metrics. A diverse workforce makes innovation, performance and execution much easier. Nokia therefore seeks to have a workplace where there are equal opportunities for all people independent of their gender, race, religion, origin, etc..., to succeed in every function and at every level.
According to an old proverb, there is a long way from saying to doing. At Nokia Mobile Networks, we are tackling the challenge of improving gender equality at work head-on, as we have implemented a specific program for women.
The Nokia Talent Program for Women
It was kicked off in March to support talented women of all ages, at all levels, and we are executing a comprehensive and hands-on program which includes coaching and mentoring by senior leaders as well as practical training units. At the start of the program, more than 140 women (high talents with growth potential) were selected, from three continents and twelve countries. The program will run for at least 2 years and it aims to foster inclusion and diversity at the workplace. The underlying idea was not so much to make women stronger as most women already are strong and determined, but to change perception – the way men are seeing their female colleagues and the way women are seeing themselves and other women. With that in mind, we’ve set up a talent program which aims to:
- Value diversity and inclusion
- Drive an inclusive culture and create awareness
- Foster gender intelligence so female employees will benefit from workplace opportunities in the best way possible but also to develop their competencies and build their career roadmap
- Support a healthy work-life balance in sync with a clear carrier path
- Balance opinion
- Empower, develop and connect women to create the next generation of female leaders
What have we achieved so far?
We now have a program lead, 18 core members, and 130 participants on board who have joined our two-year program.
In the first round of the program, the participants of the Nokia Talent Program for Women are currently working in 15 sub-groups, with 8-12 people per group, on three initial projects:
Difficult conversations – Manage difficult situations and conversations at work. Manage emotions and information in a sensitive way in order to address poor performance, bad communication, bad collaboration, disrespectful behaviors, violence communication – with peers, colleagues and managers. Deal with personal problems.
Self-presentation – Present self, abilities, career and achievements in an impactful and aspiring way, proactiveness, getting out of comfort zone.
Work-life balance – Manage professional and personal life with a focus on career development and good balance of professional, health and personal life.
In addition to group work and coaching sessions with senior leaders (internal and external), the participants are also getting bonus sessions on “Driving Change”, the most effective use of social media channels and many other topics.
We have encountered a few challenges and roadblocks on the way, but all in all our Talent Program is running very well and the feedback of our participants is overwhelmingly positive. After being in the program and doing project work for about 3 months, they already feel a major difference in their way of working, thinking and behaving. As we learnt from an internal survey, almost all respondees are happy with the scope and the objectives, with more than 90% of the respondees believing they will (highly) benefit from the program.
While the main goal of our program is to support talented women of all ages and at all levels, we will share the outcome, best practices and insights with everyone at Nokia so all employees – male and female – can benefit. This way we can all grow towards a more gender-balanced and inclusive company and positively influence the tech industry which is still running behind on diversity.
Our next round of projects will be kicked off in September and will run until Q4 2020. Topics will include:
- “Insights discovery” (Personality colors - Red, Green, Blue, Yellow)
- Finding your own strengths and weaknesses and planning for potentials/improvements
- Successful negotiations
- Influencing and execution ability
No matter whether you work in a corporation or a startup, re-addressing gender diversity and inclusion, by realizing concrete execution plans, will bring real results which is more important than just paying “lip service.”
What are your experiences?
I’d be more than happy to learn about your experiences with improving gender equality at your corporation or startup!
#diversity, #inclusion, #genderequality
Author of the Article - Nawida Martinozzi
Nawida is the Head of Operations & Transformation at Nokia MN Edge Cloud SW&HW Platforms Business Unit, responsible for driving BU annual plan, strategy & efficient implementation of operational & governance models across the unit.
She is an engineer and has more than 25 years of global experience ranging from Research and Development, P&LM/SLM, Sales & Technical Sales and Global Services. During her career, she has successfully executed and delivered multiple International Customer Solution Programs (Verizon Wireless, Orange Europe, DT, Vodafone, etc.).
Currently she is also leading a special Nokia Talent Program for Women on diversity, inclusion, healthy work life balance with clear carrier development path.