“Through this partnership, Varma wishes to communicate that diversity and equality are important values and actions for us. Each of our employees, customers and partners can be themselves,” says Katri Viippola, Varma’s SVP, Communications, HR and CSR.
“The financial sector is often seen as old-fashioned and conservative, but Varma has received recognition for its modern work culture. Diversity is one area of development and, at the same time, part of Varma’s sustainability work,” she adds.
Finnish working life and well-being at work take centre stage
Sustainability is part of Varma’s strategy and the goal as a pioneer in fostering well-being at work is to promote, in companies, a work environment that is safe and equal for each member of the work community. Finnish working life and equal treatment at work take centre stage in the Pride collaboration.
“It is important for people in Finnish workplaces to talk about these things. Big marketing campaigns and a laconic ‘Everyone is welcome here’ are not enough. We need to increase knowledge and understanding about sexual and gender minorities through dialogue and by coaching both personnel and management. This also helps strengthen psychological safety and recognise any barriers faced by minorities in their places of work,” Viippola says.
“Diversity is an asset, and everyone should be allowed to reach their full potential at work. When this is the case, people are able to perform better. This is not irrelevant for the employer.”
Putting words into actions
Varma is committed to promoting equality in its work community. Last summer, Varma participated for the first time in Helsinki Pride week. Over the past autumn and winter, Aaro Horsma and Dakota Demirbas from HeSeta Ry trained Varma’s personnel in taking sexual and gender minorities into account in the work community. The work continues this year even more intensively in the form of an official partnership.
Many Varma employees have been involved in planning Pride Week events, taking place from 24 to 30 June 2019. Everyone has had the chance to take part and many have done so enthusiastically. The Pride team will organise a Pride week event for all Varma employees. The event will feature information and the promotion of equality in a colourful rainbow carnival mood. Varma will also be a prominent part of the Pride parade on 29 June 2019.
Varma wishes to spread the important message to its customer companies and partners. A training event is planned for them for autumn 2019. Viippola considers it to be important to specifically address companies that have not yet begun working towards equality. Varma’s intention is to be a bold leader.
“It’s important to remember that when we pay attention to minorities’ issues, we also end up improving the working life of the majority. Speaking up for one minority doesn’t rule out other minorities either. We at Varma have started up work to support immigrants and disabled people, to help them integrate into working life. We have also increased the flexibility of work to support our employees in different life situations,” says Viippola.