“Becoming a Pride partner is an action that speaks louder than words about a company’s values,” says Aaro Horsma, Executive Director of HeSeta ry.
Last summer, Varma participated in Helsinki Pride week, and the theme has continued in the autumn with training offered to Varma employees. The topic of rainbow minorities sits well with Varma’s values and sustainability goals and the company’s desire to increase diversity in working life.
The financial sector is often considered somewhat conservative, and some people might be surprised to hear a pension insurance company standing up for sexual and gender minorities.
“Sustainability is an integral part of Varma’s strategy, and courage is one of our values. We have a progressive work culture, which we are now developing to ensure that our workplace is a discrimination-free area for everyone, including sexual and gender minorities,” explains Katri Viippola, Varma’s SVP, HR, Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Responsible business at Varma means, among other things, supporting workability in client companies. Varma also encourages its customers to reinforce diversity in their work culture.
“Diversity is an asset, and everyone should be allowed to reach their full potential at work. Finnish companies have a genuine opportunity to build bridges and concretely change working life for the better,” stresses Viippola.
Can employees come out of the closet at your workplace?
According to a recent study, companies that take sexual and gender minorities into account are not only financially more profitable, they also have a better work atmosphere and an easier time recruiting talents than less tolerant companies.
Horsma points out that almost every workplace has homosexual or transsexual employees.
“In a discrimination-free workplace that has been skilfully created, employees do not have to continuously hide their gender identity or sexual orientation,” says Horsma.
As a Helsinki Pride partner, Varma will receive tips on how to build an equal and non-discriminatory workplace from HeSeta’s experts and corporate network. The training organised by HeSeta addresses, among other things, the diversity of sexual orientation, gender and family structures, as well as the role one’s speaking style has in building an appreciative atmosphere.
Diversity means making room for minorities
Varma, an official partner of HeSeta, takes part in, among other things, Helsinki Pride week, which has become one of Finland’s biggest human rights events. Helsinki Pride week is celebrated the week after midsummer. At Varma, however, efforts are made to advance the cause every day of the year.
One of Varma’s sustainability targets is to make Varma a more diverse workplace. The company’s previous efforts have focussed on, for instance, reinforcing gender equality.
Varma has also encouraged its client companies to consider hiring minorities. Last summer, Varma participated in the Vamlas summer job campaign to support the employment of young people with disabilities. The campaign encouraged employers to hire young people with disabilities or partial workability for summer jobs. Varma has also participated in the Responsible Summer Job campaign for many years now.